Pan-Fried Spicy Chicken with Mint and Ginger

Gà chiên

In some cuisines, recipes often instruct you to leave the cooking juices behind while you serve the finished product, but this is not the Vietnamese way of doing things. Here’s an easy recipe where the chicken is cooked in the marinade and then served with the pan juices instead of with nuoc cham or Maggi sauce. You marinate the chicken overnight to achieve a full, robust flavor, but because the marinade is so potent, you can get away with just 4 hours. Choose breasts or thighs—any part of the chicken you want to cook with. The dish is versatile, so you can grill or bake the marinated chicken, but pan-frying certainly gives it a nice, crispy finish.

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons oil
  • ½ tablespoon ground white pepper
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 5 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh Vietnamese coriander leaves
  • cup roughly chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • 1 fresh Thai bird chile, finely chopped
  • ½ tablespoon sugar
  • 2 pounds skinless chicken parts
  • Fresh mint and cilantro leaves to garnish

Method

  1. First make the marinade. In a large bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of the oil, the white pepper, onion, garlic, coriander leaves, mint leaves, ginger, fish sauce, chile, and sugar. Stir well until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Clean the chicken pieces and pat them dry. Put them in a large bowl or shallow dish and pour the marinade on top. Rub the marinade all over the chicken until each piece is evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
  3. Find a frying pan large enough to fit all the chicken pieces in one layer. (If you do not have such a pan, you will need to cook the chicken in two batches.) Pour the remaining oil into the pan over high heat. When the oil is hot, add all the chicken and all the marinade (or half the chicken and half the marinade).
  4. Cook the chicken on one side for about 15 minutes, or until it has become golden brown, then turn over and cook the other side for about 15 minutes. Test the chicken for doneness by pricking it with a fork; when the juices run clear, remove the chicken from the pan.
  5. Serve the chicken with steamed rice, and garnish with the fresh cilantro and mint leaves. Drizzle the pan juices over the rice.