Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Grilled Vietnamese-Style Chicken With Cucumber & Carrot Vinaigrette

I'd been thinking buying a grill pan for sometime now but the problem I'm facing was there's no Round Grill Pan available at the frequent shops and malls I went to. Most of shapes available were Square and Oval... but my cooking hobs are round! It's quite frustrated for me when I saw the 3 shapes in their brochures and they said straight to my face,"If there's none at the display counter, it means we don't have in this outlet. It's the HQ who dispatched the items to us. We don't keep stock such items." Come on... if you don't have THE item I wanted, please indicated in your brochure which outlets the products were available!

I hate to travel 369 kms to IKEA just to get what I want :'-( When are you coming to my area? Sigh... I had to settle for the oven grill... the ole faithful. Well, I knew few tricks to achieve what I want for this recipe but I'm too lazy... actually too tired from the coughings and sore throat problems I had on and off lately. I had to force myself to swallow the %$@# anti-biotics because I don't want to spread it to my family :-(

Luckily, that didn't deterred me from having a hearty meal :-P Actually, I'm trying to clear my refrigerator as much as possible to give her a thorough clean up and rearrange the compartments. I found an edible Double cream which later on I used for Vanilla Ice cream. There were 1/2 box of Low-fat Coconut Milk, 4 chicken thighs, some Kyuri (Japanese Cucumber) and topped it up with other ingredients, I decided to cook the chicken thighs for lunch.

Grilled Vietnamese-Style Chicken with Cucumber and Carrot Vinaigrette
Serves 2

350g - 500 g Chicken thighs/Chicken breasts - skin-on and deboned

For Marinate (to be blended into smooth paste):
2 cloves Garlic-roughly chopped
2 nos Small Red Onion (Asian Shallots*)
½ Tbl Fresh Ginger
60 ml Fresh Coconut Milk or Low-Fat Coconut Milk
2 Tbl Rice Vinegar/Glutinous Rice Vinegar
2 Tbl Fish Sauce
1 Tbl Soy Sauce
1 Tbl Brown Sugar

Cucumber & Carrot Vinaigrette Mix:
2 nos Japanese Cucumbers (Kyuri)
1 nos Carrrot (medium size)
1 ½ Tbl Rice Vinegar/Glutinous Rice vinegar
2 Tbl Peanut Oil or any oil that's light in flavour
1 Tbl Brown Sugar
1 tsp Salt

1. Wash and pat dry the chicken thoroughly. Place chicken in a ceramic bowl or any non-reactive containers, large enough for the chicken to marinate. Add in the marinade paste, stir to coat evenly and cover (since I used chicken thighs, I made some incisions to let the marinate permeates deeper). Let it sit for at least 15 - 20 minutes at room temperature or at least 3-5 hours for the best flavors in the refrigerator. I left it overnight until needed to have deeper and rich flavor.
2. For the vegetable vinaigrette; Peel the cucumbers and carrot into thin, long strips. In a bowl, whisk the rice vinegar, sugar, salt and oil. Add the peeled vegetables, toss to mix and refrigerate until serving. (I prefer to make salad closer to the end of cooking time to avoid the vegetables become watery and limp).
3. Set the grill in the oven to 220ºC (with 2 upper heaters on or the equivalent in the model you have but you can use grill pan, gas grill, charcoal grill or non-stick electric grill). Lightly oil the rack. Remove chicken from the marinate, shake of the excess. Place the chicken, skin side up (or down if you're using a pan grill) and grill until browned, about 7-8 minutes. Turn and grill the other side until browned for 5-7 minutes. Move the chicken away from the direct heat (turn off the upper heaters but maintain the temperature and place it in the middle rack in the oven). Continue to cook the chicken thoroughly for about 7-10 minutes or until the meat turned opaque.
4. Serve the grilled chicken with the cucumber vinagrette and rice.

Note: The above cooking times were based on the size of chicken cuts I bought. Depends on the size of chicken cuts, cooking time may varied. Please adjust accordingly to your grill also. If you're using pan grill, the browning is faster because of the direct contact with the pan. Make sure it's on medium heat and cook the chicken cuts until done. I'm thinking of getting one of this pan grill for a change-thanks Jamie :-)

*Small Red Onions (aka Asian Shallots): Small reddish purple onions, commonly used in Asian cookery.
These grow in bulbs, like garlic, and are sold in segments that look like large cloves of garlic. They have a concentrated flavour and are easy to slice and grind. You can substitute with your local shallots if you can't find it.



  1. Happy Mother's Day Pixen. The chicken sounds delicious and you made good use of all your ingredientss.

  2. Happy Mother's Day!
    Rich seasoned crispy chicken on a bed of light cucumber salad....that makes a delicious and well balanced meal.

  3. Happy Mother's Day!
    Rich seasoned crispy chicken on a bed of light cucumber salad....that makes a delicious and well balanced meal.

  4. I love how you've got this dish looking, especially those curly carrot strips. Very nice. Saw you on Tastespotting by the way.

  5. Hi Ivy... thank you for the wish! :-) My family loves the chicken too. It's tastes just right and moist. I think the overnight marination did the work well.

  6. Hi Angie! It's quite a balance meal with the nice crunchy vegetable vinaigrette. A delicious balance too- creamy, juicy, tangy, crunchy... I wished I could cook more but that's what I got left from previous cooking LOL.

  7. Salut Kim! Thank you for visiting me :-) I love French cuisine. My family travels frequently to France. I think my preferences are more towards Southern France - the Mediterranean region. I guessed it's the islander in me that I felt more at home closer to sea. I love the simplicity of this region's cooking. I do agreed French cuisine is simple just that some chefs preferred the intimidated ways. Which, reminds me of François Vatel :-)

  8. Vietnamese dishes are always healthy and fresh, I'll be travelling over there this year, can't wait!

  9. Perfectly grilled chicken on a bed of beautifully "crafted" veg....yumz..

  10. Hi Christelle... that's great! Please take lots of picts to share ok?

  11. Tigerfish... thank you, thank you :"> I had some fun using left over vegetables LOL but surprised the whole situation turned out well and tummies were fed.

  12. I use a cast iron grill pan on the stove. It creates quite a bit of smoke and grease though so I generally use the broiler. Exquisite dish. Vietnamese food is so elegant and healthy.

  13. Hi KC ~ I was thinking of this grill pan too for fast cooking and to have the 'special markings' or just for quick grill or searing for delicate meats and seafood :-D


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