thịt gà chà bông (er, that would be shredded chicken)
Because my Vietnamese is nearly non-existent, I couldn’t tell you how to pronounce half of this entry’s title. According to my dad, I made thịt gà chà bông. But let’s just keep it simple and stick with shredded chicken.
So The Boy and I had shredded chicken for dinner a few nights ago.
I had made this on a few other occasions when we’ve had leftover roasted or grilled chicken. This was something my dad used to make when I was younger – actually, I remember him making this quite often that I wonder if he was addicted to it as The Boy seems to be to this stuff. (Probably.)
As I’m cooking more and more, I’m starting to realize that my dad was the first Asian “fusion” cook I’ve been introduced to, meaning he cooked Vietnamese recipes but altered them to what he enjoyed in other cuisines. Sometimes, he would just make up recipes which don’t really have a cuisine classification. So when I was trying to explain shredded chicken to The Boy, I wondered if this was one of those recipes that my dad just made up. I emailed Hung and asked him where the idea of it came from and how he started making it. Here’s what he said:
When I was young (high school age), I loved this type of food with french bread.The shredded chicken was stir-fried w/ a lot of [french] butter and served in bread w/mayonnaise (beat very slowly w/ egg york and oil), which made the food taste very rich (we did not have a lot of fat foods at that time and we never worried about getting over weight). They served this kind of food for upper class people at the good restaurants in center of Saigon. People [would] come in to order chicken-bread and a cup of hot milk-coffee. It was a good opportunity to sit along the side walk, have breakfast, watch the moving cars and people on the street while having conversations w/friends. Later, a lot of places started serving this for other people (although expensive, it would have very little chicken w/ the bread).
This might be a mix French and VN influence.
Vietnamese or not (I’ll have to look for it next time we’re in Saigon), I would say that this is a simple recipe and is a fantastic meal to resort to when you have leftover cooked chicken.
The Boy’s Reaction: “This is the best chicken I’ve had in awhile.”
3 tablespoons oil (I use olive oil . . . you can opt to use butter instead)
1/2 roasted chicken, hand shred the meat (as thick or as thin as you’d like)
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons fish sauce
pinch of salt
Heat oil in a large pan. When the oil gets hot, add chicken. Stir and cook until the chicken is golden brown.
Stir in sugar and fish sauce (not a bad idea to have the stove fan on and to to open the window if you’re not a fan of walking into a house that smells like fish sauce) – these ingredients should caramelize the chicken in about 5 minutes. After the 5 minutes, add salt and turn off heat source.
Enjoy as a banh mi, with rice or just by itself (I can’t help but snack on it right off the stove).