Vietnamese Honey-glazed Chicken (Ga quay mat on)
By Wendy Hutton, Southeast Asia’s Best Recipes
Reprinted with the express permission of Tuttle Publishing.
To make this sophisticated Vietnamese recipe, chicken—first marinated with black pepper, sugar, salt and sesame oil—is brushed during cooking with a piquant glaze. This is a good recipe if you’re entertaining, not just because it’s sure to be enthusiastically received, but because the chicken can be marinated and the Honey Glaze prepared several hours in advance. Then all you need to do is start roasting the chicken about an hour before you want to eat.
Preparation time: 20 mins + 1 hour marinating
Cooking time: 1 hour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 whole fresh chicken (about 21/2–3 lbs/1.25–1.5 kg), fatty deposits and excess skin removed, pat dry with paper towels
2 stalks lemongrass, tender inner part of bottom third only, bruised and cut into 4 pieces
1 tablespoon oil
2 teaspoons annatto seeds or a little red food coloring (optional)
1/4 cup (60 ml) honey
2 tablespoons sweet soy sauce (or 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce mixed with 2 teaspoons soft brown sugar)
4 teaspoons lime or lemon juice
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Mix the salt, pepper, sugar and sesame oil in a small bowl. Rub half the mixture inside the chicken and the remainder over the outside. Leave the chicken to marinate at room temperature for 1 hour, or cover and refrigerate for several hours if preferred.
Prepare the Honey Glaze by heating the oil in a small saucepan. Add the annatto seeds and cook over medium heat until the oil turns light orange, 2 to 3 minutes. Strain the oil into a large bowl, discarding the seeds. Add the honey, soy sauce, lime juice and sesame oil, mixing well. If using red food coloring, just mix all the Honey Glaze ingredients together, including the oil. (The glaze can now be kept aside for several hours if you are preparing the recipe in advance.)
To finalize the dish, put the lemongrass inside the chicken and place it in a baking dish. Use a pastry brush to paint the Honey Glaze over the outside of the chicken, reserving the remaining glaze. Roast the chicken at 425°F (220°C), breast side up, for 15 minutes.
Stir the glaze thoroughly, baste the chicken again and return it to the oven. Reduce the heat to 350°F (180°C) and roast for 15 minutes. Brush the chicken with the glaze and oil which has run into the baking dish, then with the reserved glaze. Turn the chicken breast side down and cook for another 15 minutes. Brush again and roast for a final 15 minutes. Cut the chicken with a cleaver into 14 to 16 serving pieces, put on a serving dish and serve hot with the glaze from the baking dish poured over.
NOTE: It is important to baste the chicken every 15 minutes so that the skin becomes crisp and turns a rich golden brown. Stir the glaze each time before basting to amalgamate the honey.