Grilled Lemongrass Chicken with Broken Rice
I’ve never been to Vietnam, but I’m going to imagine they would appreciate my blatant rip-off/emulation of one of my favorite Vietnamese dishes – Com Ga Nuong. Many Vietnamese restaurants in Toronto serve this delicious dish of marinated and grilled chicken on steamed rice, with raw and pickled vegetables on the side. Always so good, especially on a hot summer’s day; cold beer in hand. I call this a rip-off, but really, it’s more of a mix of culinary ideas. Instead of plain steamed rice, I’ve added savory Chinese sausage and green onions to the mix, giving the rice an added depth that marries well with the chicken. Although, this marinade is so good, you’ll probably want to just use it on all kinds of meat, and serve it with whatever is kicking in your pantry. Serves 4-6 Ingredients Chicken: 1 chicken, about 3.5 lbs Marinade: 3 tbsp lemongrass, finely chopped 3 tbsp garlic, finely chopped 1/4 cup fish sauce 2 tbsp sugar 1 tbsp yuzu juice (or lime juice) 1 tbsp black pepper, ground 2 tbsp canola oil Ginger Stock: 1 chicken carcass 4 green onions, cut in half 1 tbsp ginger, peeled and chopped 1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped 1 tbsp salt Rice: 1.5 cups broken rice, rinsed under cold running water until the water loses its cloudiness* 1.5 cups ginger stock 4 tbsp green onion, sliced 4 pieces Chinese sausage, sliced into rounds** 2 tbsp light soy sauce 1 tbsp canola oil Method Ask your butcher to halve the chicken, removing the breast bone and carcass. Or, do it yourself: place the chicken on a cutting board, breast up and legs towards you. Using a sharp knife, slice on either side of the breast-bone. Slowly cut the breast away from the carcass bone. When you reach the joint between the leg and the breast, separate the thigh bone from the carcass. Cut the breast completely away from the back bone. Repeat on the other side. You should be left with two half-chickens – a boneless breast with leg and wing attached. Score the leg three times on each side – this will help with even cooking time. Set the chicken aside in a bowl. In a clean bowl, whisk all of the marinade ingredients together until the sugar dissolves. Don’t worry if you can’t find yuzu juice – it’s hard to get and not compulsory. Lime juice will work perfectly. Pour the marinade over the chicken, mix well, cover, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours. Meanwhile, make the ginger stock. Place the carcass from your chicken into a pot and fill with cold water. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Cook for 1.5 hours, then remove from heat and cool. Strain and reserve the stock. Now to cook the rice. In a small pot over a medium heat, sweat the sausage in the oil for two minutes or until very fragrant. Stir in the green onion and the rinsed broken rice, and add the ginger stock and soy sauce. Bring to a simmer, give it a good stir, then lower the heat and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Cook for twenty-five minutes, then remove from heat. Keep the lid on for an additional ten minutes, allowing the steam to finish the cooking process. While the rice is cooking, start the chicken. Preheat the grill to medium high. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place on the hot grill, turning every so often until the chicken is cooked through (use an internal probe thermometer to test the doneness – it should read 180°F when plunged into the thickest part of the leg meat). You will need to watch the chicken as it cooks, as the sugar in the marinade could scorch if left unattended for too long. Remove the chicken and rest. Slice the chicken into serving pieces. Spoon the rice onto a platter and serve the chicken on top. Serve immediately with lime wedges, pickled vegetables, and a salad. Notes: *Broken rice is considered a sub-par rice that didn’t make the cut of being whole grain rice, and is therefore usually a little cheaper. I like it because it gives the dish a bit of a rustic feel. **Chinese sausage is a cured pork sausage that is traditionally steamed before consuming. It’s sold in most Asian supermarkets, but if you can’t find any, try a dried chorizo or cacciatore.