Ga Roti Recipe: Putting the sweet in roasted chicken

Written by Luisa Davis on . Posted in food

My experiences with Vietnamese roasted chicken date back to when my biggest fear was missing the ice cream truck. Growing up, I looked forward to visiting my cousins during the holidays. Yes, part of the reason lay in all the games we would play and the adventures that we enjoyed together during such times. However, secretly, I wanted to visit them so that I could get in on the Ga Roti Recipe action that they had every other weekend.

There was something about this Vietnamese style chicken that got to me every time I had a bite. Add this pleasure to that of fighting over dirty rice with my cousins and my holiday was bliss.

Unfortunately, my parents were not all that into making this dish. True, they did whip up other amazing meals such as ga nuong, but they relied on my aunt for the ga roti. When I finally got my place, I knew that I too had to have a weekend tradition, and my eyes were on ga roti but where to find the recipe was a challenge as my aunt was no more.

It took a lot of trying, but I eventually managed to come up with a method, which though is not like that which I held dear to my heart as a child, blows people’s minds with its impeccable taste. And I nailed the dirty rice too, a perfect complement to the chicken.

Com Ga Roti

Tips

If you do not have the vodka five spice marinade at hand, you can make do with a teaspoon of 5 spice powder. The results will be just as good. You are also free to make some variations in this regard based on your preference. I once shared this recipe with a friend who did not have the vodka in her kitchen, and she opted to use a teaspoon of 5 spice powder combined with a tablespoon of Chinese cooking wine. She now swears by this technique, thus showing that when it comes to the spice powder, it all comes down to one’s preference.

If you do not drink and are in search of an excellent substitute for the vodka, you could make do with the absolute vodka as long as you ensure that there are no added flavors in tow. The meal will be just as perfect as if you had used the vodka brand shown in my recipe.

When making this meal, you will realize that there is some extra sauce at the end of the preparation. I use this sauce in making dirty rice which goes down well with the chicken. My guests are always fighting over who gets the most portion of this side dish owing to how delicious it is. You are looking at a healthy dose of iron as you enjoy this fantastic Vietnamese dish if you use a cast iron pan when sautéing the chicken.

Bringing out the taste of chicken relies on many factors, with one of the principal determinants being the marinade. If you are short on time, you could marinate the chicken for a few hours and get to cooking. However, if you wish to get the most out of the meal, then consider marinating the chicken a day before when you want to prepare the food. The tastes enjoyed from this method are incomparable to those from quick marination.

You should also note that the size of your chicken pieces will, in turn, determine how much time you need in marination. Small pieces will taste good even after a few hours of marination while large portions will require at least an overnight marinade to deliver the same results.

If you do not have soy sauce or you prefer to use another ingredient in its place, you can always use tamari which has equally delicious results.

Though this recipe calls for boneless and skinless chicken thighs, you could always go another direction. I realized that the skin-on variation results in an extra crispy skin which many people look for in chicken dishes. If you prefer that extra crisp, then go for those with skin.

They also tend to be much more flavorful than those without skin.

This recipe serves four people. If you wish to cook for more people, you could always alter the ingredients to your liking without affecting the results. Enjoy!

Ga Roti Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ lb of boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • Five garlic cloves
  • One teaspoon of vodka five spice marinade
  • Three tablespoons of soy sauce
  • One tablespoon of sugar
  • ¼ tablespoon of black pepper
  • One tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1/3 cup of water

Directions

Any excess fat on the chicken will affect how good the meal tastes, and it also reduces the nutritional benefits of the food. As such, before you get to any of the preparation activities, be sure to get rid of all the extra fat. From here, you can chop the chicken into large chunks of equal size before placing the pieces in a bowl.

Next, peel the garlic cloves and proceed to crush them. There are many methods that you can use to achieve small garlic pieces. Some people use food processors while others do this by hand. I find that I get the best results when using a knife. Sure, this may take up a considerable while, but I end up with tiny pieces whose flavor will ooze into the chicken with ease.

Take the garlic pieces, the vodka five spice marinade or its equivalent, soy sauce or tamari, sugar, and black pepper and combine them in a bowl. Once they are evenly mixed, drop the chicken pieces into the container and ensure that you cover all the parts with the spices.

Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and put it in a refrigerator. You should leave the chicken to marinate for at least an hour to give it time to absorb the flavors and soften. If you remove the chicken from the marinade before this time, you will not end up with soft meat that is bursting with flavor. I prefer marinating the chicken overnight and proceeding with the preparations the next day, and I would advise you to do the same for the best results.

Once you have marinated your chicken for a period you deem suitable, you can then prepare the other ingredients in preparation for the cooking. Place a large pan over high heat and add olive oil to it. Take the chicken pieces from the marinade and once the oil is hot, place them on the pan. Allow the pieces to cook on one side for two minutes before turning them over to the other side for an additional two minutes.

Take the remaining marinade and pour it into the pan, ensuring that it covers the chicken pieces. Add the water to the mixture and place a lid over the pan. At this point, reduce the heat to low and allow the chicken to cook at this temperature for six to eight minutes. The time allowed will depend on the size of the chicken thighs. I generally cut mine into small chunks, and I spend about six minutes at this stage. However, if your pieces are large, I advise that you give the meat at least eight minutes to cook.

At this point, the mixture will be at the simmering stage, and you can now uncover the pan. Flip the pieces to the other side and allow them to keep cooking without increasing the heat. Do not return the lid and let them cook at this heat for another six to eight minutes depending on the thickness of the thighs. This process is to enable the water to evaporate at a slow rate as the meat cooks and absorbs the flavors.

Once the allowed time has passed, you can start checking for the doneness of your meat using a knife or a fork. If you prick the flesh and the juice runs clear, your chicken is ready, and you can start setting the table. If this is not the case, it could be that your chunks are quite big and you can repeat the process.

You are free to add some water once you note that the pan is becoming dry. Cook the meat on one side for a few more minutes, gauging by how the juice runs, and then flip to the other side for added minutes.

One important thing about this recipe is how thick the sauce is.

At this point, your sauce will be runny. Check if there is any water in the pan once you are sure that the meat is ready to eat. The chances are high that there is some liquid in the saucepan for use in thickening. However, if you used up all the water, add two tablespoons of water to the pan as you deglaze it.

From here, turn the heat to high and flip the chicken in the sauce, ensuring that you adequately cover them. You will notice that the sauce will start thickening in a matter of seconds. As it does so, continue moving the chicken pieces in the mixture to ensure that they get enough sauce. This process should take about two to three minutes to ensure that you do not lose sauce in the process. Turn off the heat once this period elapses and proceed to serve the pieces hot.

You can use the remaining sauce to make dirty rice which is also quite a delicacy that is a favorite for both adults and children.

Dirty, sticky rice

Ingredients

  • Six cups of cooked sweet rice
  • Ten sliced scallions
  • Two tablespoons of chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper for flavoring

Directions

Drain fat from the pan used in making the chicken and leave only a small amount of oil. Place the pan over medium heat and add the scallions. Cook them for about three minutes until they soften. Deglaze the pan using the chicken stock and heat the mixture for about thirty seconds. At this point, add the salt and pepper to taste.

Next, add the cooked rice to the pan. Using two wooden spoons, fold in the scallions into the rice ensuring that they are evenly spread. The resultant dish should be lightly brown rice with scallions, chicken bits, and some garlic. This rice should serve four people with ease.

This Ga Roti Recipe is one of the simplest Vietnamese chicken dishes to whip up when you are in a hurry, and the results are mouthwatering. There are many variations on the same with others calling for fish sauce. It’s all about playing with different flavors and seeing what works for you. I hope that you enjoyed this article. Thank you!

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Luisa Davis

Luisa Davis

Luisa Davis is a frelance writer and foodie based in Portland, California. Though raised on her mother's homestyle Italian cooking, she has spent most of the last five years traveling and immersing herself in other countries' cuisines. Her work have been published in various publications, both online and offline.

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