Luke Nguyen seems to be a bit of a cultural sensation in Australia at the moment. On the back of a SBS television series and co-authoring the cookbook Secrets of the Red Lantern, Luke has also recently appeared twice on the Master Chef series.
I'd always been interested in his recipes when flicking through the beautiful Red Lantern cookbook but it wasn't until he made a chilli crab variant on Master Chef that i started actively hunting down his recipes. Luckily many can be found on the SBS website for his televsion show Luke Nguyen's Vietnam.
This is probably one of the simpler dishes that i have seen from Luke's repertoire to date. Juicy bites of chicken saturated in the pungeant aromas and balanced tastes of fish sauce, sugar, lemon grass, chilli and garlic. Rather than adding chicken stock to make the sauce, Luke used young coconut juice which keeps the dish tasting quite clean: unfortunately i had to use the canned variety of coconut juice.
Please note that i have not stayed completely faithful to the original recipe.
Ingredients (Serves 3)
- 500gm chicken thigh fillets
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 long red chillis
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 stalks lemon grass
- 3 tbsp canola oil
- 1 small onion
- 6 scallions
- 1/2 can coconut juice
- Coriander to garnish
- Steamed rice, to serve
MethodRemove the green part of the lemongrass and discard.
Finely chop the chilli, garlic and lemon grass.
Cut the chicken up into bite sized chunks and place in a medium bowl.
Combine the sugar and fish sauce in a small bowl and stir until sugar is dissolved.
Add half of the chilli, garlic and lemon grass and pour over the chicken, stirring through
Refrigerate for 2 hours or ideally overnight
Heat a wok over medium heat
Add the oil then the remaining chilli, garlic and lemongrass and saute until fragrant and browning slightly
Turn the heat to very high and add the chicken, browning on all sides
Reduce the heat back to medium and pour in coconut juice followed by the onions and scallions
Cover and simmer for 5-7 minutes.
Remove the lid and continue to simmer, turning up the heat if necessary, until the liquid has reduced by half.
Serve over steamed jasmine rice and garnish with fresh coriander.