December 28th, 2010

Fish sauce chicken, soba salad

Inspired somewhat by reading this recipe for “fish sauce wings”, tonight I tried making my own fish sauce marinade for grilled chicken.

The marinade: some sugar syrup, a lot of fish sauce (about equal amount with the syrup), a tiny bit of belachan (chilli shrimp paste), a squeeze of lime, finely chopped spring onion and mint. I marinated the chicken for an hour, but it would be much better a few more hours or even overnight.

I didn’t want to deep fry the chicken, so I cooked it on skewers under the grill instead – the result was somewhat like Japanese sweet yakitori chicken, but with a more complex (and more Vietnamese) flavour from the fish sauce and mint.

While the chicken was grilling I reduced the marinade with some extra mint until it was very thick and sticky (almost caramel), and then strained it over the cooked chicken. I was quite surprised by the taste – I’d eaten food with these flavours in Vietnamese restaurants before but I didn’t realise it was so easy to get that kind of salty/sweet/sour/umami combination at home.

We had some soba noodles lying around, so I made a soba salad  to go alongside – I just cooked the soba and poured the hot noodles over some rocket in a colander (to make it wilt slightly), and then added mint, spring onion and some ajipon (Japanese citrus soy sauce – which, if you haven’t tried it, is delicious). The mix of Japanese and Vietnamese flavours was a little odd, but still very tasty.

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