HOW TO MAKE VIETNAMESE COLD CHICKEN WITH STICKY RICE AND PAPAYA SALAD | GÀ LẠNH XÔI ĐU ĐỦ TRỘN MẮM
Vietnamese cold chicken with sticky rice and papaya salad is a 3-dish meal. All three dishes in this meal come from different parts of Asia. The cold chicken is from the Chinese. The papaya salad is inspired by Laos. And the sticky rice is a common side plate in Viet Nam—although most Asian countries also have sticky rice.
Apart from the sticky rice, everything in this meal is eaten cold. I know you’re probably thinking: “Cold fat from chicken? No thanks.” Do not worry—the chicken, if you get the right kind, should produce very little fat. The chicken is actually called empress chicken in Vietnamese. This is because the chicken is nourished in gardens instead of hen-coops—treated like royalty chickens—resulting in a rich quality of meat and skin. Another name often used to describe the chicken is walking chicken. You should be able to find empress or walking chicken in most Asian supermarkets.
There are many brands of fish sauce to choose from. The brand I commonly use is Viet Huong Three Crabs. You will be able to find it at any Asian supermarket—even some American markets such as Walmart or Target might carry it as well.
You will also need an automatic rice cooker to make the sticky rice. I’ve been using one from Zojirushi for so many years. I prefer automatic rice cookers because they’re reliable. If there are brave souls who feel they can achieve the same result on a stove—you are my personal heroes.
- 1 whole empress/walking chicken
- 700 grams (3 cups) uncooked sticky rice
- 1 green papaya (approx. 450 grams or 1 lb)
- 10 cherry tomatoes
- 30 grams (1 oz) basil (approx. 5 branches)
- 15 grams (1/2 oz) red chili pepper
- 6 garlic cloves
- 6 scallions
- 1 white onion (cut into 4 pieces)
- 1/2 lemongrass stalk, sliced
- 145 grams (5 oz) ginger
- 110 grams (4 oz) sugar
- 20 grams (1 1/3 tbsp) chicken seasoning
- 35 ml (3 tbsp) vegetable oil
- 60 ml (1/4 cup) fish sauce
- vinegar & salt (to wash the chicken)
- fried red onions (optional)
COOKING THE CHICKEN—
- Wash chicken with salt and vinegar. Set aside.
- Place chicken in a pot. Add enough water to cover the top of the chicken.
- Add white onion, lemongrass, 30 grams ginger, and chicken seasoning to the pot.
- Bring the pot to the stove. Set to medium-high heat.
- Once the water boils, remove the layer of fat that may rise to the top of the pot. Decrease to medium heat.
- In another pot or bowl that will hold the chicken—add enough cold water and ice to cover the chicken.
- Cook chicken for 35 minutes, or until done.
- Once the chicken is done, remove from the pot and place it in the cold water and ice. Make sure cold water and ice are covering the whole chicken. Set aside for 1 hour.
- Remove chicken from iced water.
- In another pot or bowl that will hold the chicken—place a paper towel on the bottom. Place chicken in the pot or bowl. Cover with lid or plastic wrap. Set aside in the refrigerator until serving.
HOW TO MAKE SPICY GINGER SAUCE—
- Finely minced together 3 garlic cloves and 7 grams red chili pepper. Place in a bowl.
- Add 30 ml of fish sauce and 55 grams of sugar. Mix evenly and set aside.
- Finely minced 115 grams ginger. Set aside.
- Dice scallions. Set aside.
- Add 30 ml vegetable oil to a small pan. Set to medium heat.
- Once the oil becomes hot, add scallions and stir evenly.
- Add everything else. Decrease to low heat.
- Continue stirring until sauce comes to a boil.
HOW TO MAKE STICKY RICE—
- Wash sticky rice under running water. Drain dry.
- Place rice into a rice cooker.
- Add 530 ml water and 5 ml of vegetable oil. Stir evenly.
- Close the lid and turn the rice cooker on.
- 10 minutes after the rice cooker is done, left the lid and stir up the sticky rice so it won't get too sticky. Let the rice cooker complete one more round if you prefer the rice well done.
HOW TO MAKE PAPAYA SALAD—
- Remove the skin from papaya. Using a fruit/veggie slicer, slice papaya into long, thin strands. Wash with water. Drain dry and set aside.
- Finely minced together remaining garlic cloves and red chili peppers.
- Add remaining fish sauce and sugar. Mix evenly and set aside.
- Wash cherry tomatoes. Using your hands, slowly squash the tomatoes until soften or the skin breaks.
- In a bowl—add everything and continue squashing the salad until all is mixed together. Drain or leave the juice depending on your preference.
- Wash basil and chop the leaves. Toss on top the salad.
- Cut up chicken into desirable-sized pieces. Place in a plate or bowl. Pour a desirable amount of spicy ginger sauce on top of the chicken.
- Serve the sticky rice and papaya salad on a separate plate or bowl.
- Sprinkling fried red onion on top of the sticky rice is optional.
I have a batch of fried red onion always on hand in my kitchen, but you can find it at most Asian supermarkets. Depending on the size of the chicken, cooking time may vary. For the spice ginger sauce, add more fish sauce, sugar, or chili depending on your preference.