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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Vietnamese Caramel Chicken

I recently read an article that Matt Preston wrote talking about flawed recipes.   I was surprised that they openly admit that some of the recipes that are printed in recipes books are wrong, he says flawed - but let's call a spade a spade and call it as it is - the recipes are wrong!!  Finally I feel better, perhaps it's not me, perhaps there is actually something that hasn't been transcribed as it should be.

The case in point was last night's recipe - I read the whole recipe - even the tip at the bottom.  The only thing I did was double the amount of meat - really, 600g of chicken for 5 people - 4 of them growing boys!!  So I bought 2 double breasts - which gave me approximately 1.2kg of meat.  So one would tend to believe that if you have double the meat, then double the sauce ingredients - right??  Well that's what I did.  The flavour was good - but it was too runny.  Perhaps I failed in the "tip" section?

 The "Tip" said - and I quote ** "It's important to cook the caramel until it is a deep amber colour.  If it's removed from the heat too soon, it will be runny and won't coat the chicken well."

Well I thought I left it there long enough - any longer and I could see me having a pan full of burnt toffee!!  Dear Readers I will leave it up to you - do try this as it is easy, and the flavours are great (even if the sauce is a little runny). You never know you may get perfect results!!

I will give you the recipe exactly as it is written in the current issue of Good Food

Traditional Caramel Chicken

Serves 4

2tbs fish sauce
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
600g chicken breast fillet, cut into 2.5cm pieces
200g snow peas, trimmed, halved diagonally
1 red onion, cut into wedges
1 birdseye chilli, sliced, to serve
3 cups steamed rice (from 1 cup raw), to serve

Mix the fish sauce and 1/2 cup of water in a bowl.

Place sugar and 1/3 cup water in a frying pan on medium heat.  Cook, swirling occasionally, until sugar dissolves.  Bring to the boil and cook, swirling occasionally, for 5-8 minutes, until a deep amber colour (remember the tip!! **).  Remove from the heat.  Slowly add fish sauce mixture.  Swirl pan to combine.

Add garlic and chicken.  Season well with freshly ground black pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes, until the chicken is almost cooked through.  Add the snow peas and onion and cook for another 1-2 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce thickens.

Serve with rice and sliced chilli.

You may notice in the picture small little flecks of brown stuff - I didn't use sliced garlic - just the crushed stuff from the bottle - hence the flecks!!

I am sorry to say Dear Readers that there may not be many baking recipes coming forth from here for a while.  My oven is out of action.  Has anyone ever had the glass come away from their oven door?  Well mine did!  So now it's off to the workshop - I have the carcass of the oven - but no door!  They tell me it could take 2 weeks or more to get it back!!!  What is a girl to do?  It's like having your right (or left for me) arm amputated!!  Luckily I got that pork belly cooked the other night!!!!  I will now have to rethink the menu for the rest of the week and plan accordingly.  Perhaps the oven just wanted a break - its has been working hard lately!!  I guess we can all sympathise with that can't we??

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