Dinner tonight! Pan-fried spicy chicken
Homestyle Vietnamese fried chicken: chicken marinated with a vibrant marinade of garlic and ginger, fish sauce, Vietnamese coriander and onion, then pan-fried and tossed with fresh mint and coriander. Marinate the chicken ahead of time, then fry away! Make the dish, after marinating, in about 45 minutes. It's perfect when you're cooking after a long day, or planning to entertain over the weekend.
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Photo credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times
Total time: 50 minutes plus four hours-to-overnight marinating
Note: Adapted from "The Little Saigon Cookbook" by Ann Le. Look for Vietnamese coriander leaves and Thai bird chiles in Asian markets.
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons ground white pepper
1/2 onion, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh Vietnamese coriander leaves
1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
1/4 cup fish sauce (nuoc nam)
1 fresh Thai bird chile, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 pounds bone-in skin-on chicken thighs (about 6 pieces)
Fresh mint and cilantro leaves to garnish
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 thighs 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 four hours or overnight.
3. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. Wipe the marinade off the chicken and reserve marinade. Find a heavy frying pan large enough to fit the chicken pieces in one layer. Pour the remaining 5 tablespoons oil into the pan and heat over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken, skin side down.
4. Immediately reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the chicken for four to five minutes until skin is golden brown. Turn over and cook the other side for about 15 minutes or until done. Test the chicken for doneness by pricking it with a fork; when the juices run clear, remove the chicken from the pan and keep warm.
5. Pour out the fat and return the pan to medium heat. Spoon in the reserved marinade and stir to bring up the brown bits on bottom of pan cooking two to three minutes. Add one-half cup water and bring to a boil. Turn down and simmer for a few more minutes. Return the chicken to the pan to reheat if necessary.
6. Serve the chicken with steamed rice and garnish with fresh cilantro and mint leaves. Drizzle the pan sauce over the chicken and serve.
Each serving of two thighs: 675 calories; 42 grams protein; 8 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 52 grams fat; 11 grams saturated fat; 149 mg. cholesterol; 1992 mg. sodium.