Friday, October 8, 2010

Braised chicken with lemongrass and curry (Ga Kho Cari Xa)

We all have our own images of what makes comfort food. In America, the taste of creamy mashed potatoes, oozing cheesy lasagna, or fresh from the oven chocolate chip cookies may be accompanied by images of grandma/mom standing in the kitchen. For me, comfort food can be a variety of things. It is spiced with the flavors from my Vietnamese ethnic heritage, the Cuban/Mexican tastes of central Florida where I grew up, or it can taste as full and hearty as the good ole American southern culture.  When I think of comfort food, a warm, happy feeling settles in the pit of my stomach, and stretches outward to my entire body.

It was a late dinner night, so no sunshine for good photos. Sorry.
Braised chicken with lemongrass and curry was one of my favorite dishes as I was growing up. I requested it at least once a week for dinner.

Braised chicken with lemongrass and curry (Ga kho cari xa)
Note: This is probably not the recipe for you if you don't like fish sauce!

3 lbs boneless chicken (cut into bite sized pieces)
3 tbs vegetable oil (separate 1 tbs oil) 
4 tbs fish sauce (nuoc mam)
1 small onion, chopped
2 lemongrass stalks, trimmed, chopped finely
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tbs chili garlic sauce (add more to taste)
2 tbs Madras curry powder (add more to taste)
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

1. Marinate the chicken pieces in fish sauce for 20-30 min.
2. In a non-stick pot, heat 2 tbs oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add chicken. Brown the meat, then remove chicken from the pot, and set aside.
3. Add 1tbs oil to the pot. Then, add the onion, lemongrass, and ginger. Stir frequently until onions are soft.
3. Dump in curry and chili garlic sauce. Stir.
4. Add in the browned chicken. Reduce heat to low, and cook covered for 20-30 min. 
*Once the chicken is cooked, I like to taste the sauce to see if the balance between the spices is right. I usually have to add more fish sauce/curry powder/chili sauce, depending on the spice brand that I used. It's all a matter of experimenting until you find the right flavor.

We like to eat it over steamed rice, with cool slices of cucumber to balance the heat of the spices. It's such a simple dish, but I really love how the flavors fight together without overpowering each other. Now, my sister requests that I make it at least once a month.


shelly said...

this looks delicious! do you use white meat or dark? i prefer dark so i might try it that way! yummm i'm salivating.


EdibLessons said...

Not creepy at all! I take it as a huge compliment!

For this particular one, I used dark meat, but either one is fine. When my mom makes it, she actually uses both.

Thanks, Shelly!