Friday, December 31, 2010

Homemade Vietnamese (Kinda Thai) Food!

Ok... maybe not authentic, but I came up with this because I was desperately craving the Grilled Chicken and Vermicelli from Little Viet Garden in Arlington (can't find their webpage).



This is a simple-simple-simple-super-easy recipe that you can vary based on your taste and nutritional needs. You can even omit the chicken for a vegetarian version. The other ingredients are so simple but still so tasty.

You'll need:
  1. A package of chicken breast tenderloins (about a pound?)
  2. A marinade and/or sauce for the chicken- some combination of soy and/or ginger and/or honey and/or teriyaki works. You can make your own, or buy a bottled mix such as this one from Paul Newman: http://www.newmansown.com/product_detail.aspx?productid=98
  3. Little bit of butter or margarine (if desired)
  4. 13.5 oz can of Coconut milk
  5. 1 cup Jasmine rice (or brown rice if you'd like it to be more healthful)
  6. Romaine Lettuce (I bought a bag of pre-cut for salads)
  7. Fresh Bean Sprouts- a couple handfuls
1. Cook the rice*:
In a medium saucepan, combine: 1 cup of Jasmine rice, 1 1/2 cup of coconut milk (shake the can well!! Shake 'em up, shake 'em up, shake 'em up, shake 'em), and 1/4 cup of either water, broth, or more coconut milk. (You generally need about a 2:1 ratio of liquid to rice when preparing Jasmine rice. I found 2 full cups of liquid to be too much when I made mine, so I lessened the total liquid to 1 3/4 cups to 1 cup of rice. Use less coconut milk if you don't like your rice very coconutty!)
* If you're making brown rice, prepare the rice according to the directions of your brown rice, adding coconut milk as desired for taste.

Bring the mixture to a simmer and then cover and cook for 15-18 minutes. (When I made my rice, a lot of the coconut milk was on the top at the end and the rice was a little soggy, but I liked the texture when combined with the rest of the dish!) When the rice is done, uncover it and stir it/fluff it up. Then cover it back up until you're ready to eat- unless it's not fluffy, then leave it uncovered.

2. Cook the chicken:
While the rice is quietly simmering, add some of your sauce (about 1/4 cup) of choice into a skillet over medium heat, with a little butter or margarine. Then add the chicken. Let this warm up and sit there for 5-7 minutes. Then turn the chicken tenderloins over and mix them around in the sauce, or add more sauce if you need to. Cook for another few minutes and turn them over again if you wish. It should cook for about the same time as the rice, maybe a little less.

3. Rip up the lettuce
if it's not chopped into bite-sized pieces already.

4. Put it all together! I used a deep soup-dish for mine, you can also do this on a plate but everything together in a nice deep dish kept it warm for a long time.
Add a couple of spoonfuls of rice to a bowl, then 2 of the chicken tenderloins- cut those into bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle a small handful of bean sprouts on top of the chicken and finish it off by piling it up with lettuce.
Don't skimp on the lettuce! It adds soooo much to this dish (typically people don't think of lettuce as being very flavorful but with this dish, you can really appreciate it). In fact I had to keep adding more and more lettuce to my dinner since I ate a few pieces of it with each bite and ran out quickly. You can make this dish into somewhat of a salad- I mean, who isn't trying to add more vegetables to their diet? Romaine lettuce is GOOD for you (http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=61)and won't fill you up too quickly..... so pile it on!

To add more flavor to this dish, you can try adding any of the following:
-More sauce.
-Lime juice (a little goes a long way so add a little and taste as you go)
-Or Lemon (bleh!)
-Low-sodium soy sauce (I'm not trying to overload your sodium here!)
-Cilantro
-Peanuts
-Sesame seeds


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