Vietnamese food is already well-known for Pho, Banh mi, and street foods; however, there is another side of Vietnam culinary, the simple dishes that are served in every Viets' family meal. Vietnamese clay pot chicken is one of them. Despite the simplicity of the cooking method, this chicken dish is incredibly tasty and worth trying.
A clay pot is part of Vietnamese traditional cooking. Similar to an iron cast pan or skillet in the Western world, the locals believe that the more your cook with the pot, the more flavors it will help bring into your food. In the past, the pot was made entirely out of clay, which had to be baked with extremely high heat before being used. However, in modern times, ceramic "clay" pot is more popular as it is easier to produce, the material is considered more hygienic and can last a long time. Not only chicken, but Vietnamese can cook a myriad of other food using the clay pot, ranging from stews, soups, to braised dishes.
The shape of a traditional clay pot should look like the one in the picture (left), but nowadays you might see ceramic pots more than the traditional ones
You can also find metal ones at some restaurants, as it allows the heat to infiltrate the food better and cook more quickly
The name means almost everything. The dish includes chicken, which is the main and the most important ingredient, cooked in a clay pot. The clay pot helps to bring more flavor and harmonize the tastes, making the dish more fulfilled.
It is usually served with the steamy hot rice on a daily basis in Vietnam with a dish of poached vegetables.
Vietnamese clay pot chicken is very rich in nutrients, including vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin C, vitamin E, calcium, and iron in the chicken meat and seasoning spices.
You can use chicken thighs, chicken breasts or even wings to cook this dish. The savory flavor making the dish distinct from others are from the fish sauce, dark soy sauce, ginger strips, minced garlic, chopped shallot, chili pepper, and other seasonings like black pepper powder, salt, and sugar.
There are various versions of Vietnamese clay pot chicken, so other optional spices you can add are the oyster sauce, lemongrass, mushroom, coconut juice, soda, and honey.
After mixing all the ingredients in a large bowl and let the chicken marinated for about an hour, you will need to prepare for an important step, making the delicious-looking color for the dish.
In a large heated clay pot, add oil and sugar to caramelize the sugar into dark brown color. You should be able to control the heat well, or the sugar can turn black very fast. This step is simple enough, but it makes the dish more tasteful and appealing.
You should stir-fry the chicken until the meat is not pink. This step is where you can get creative and add water, soda, or coconut juice to stew the meat until the meat is tender with a nice caramelized color.
Have it straight out from the hot clay pot, and a piece of the brownish and juicy chicken on the white and soft rice could be your new addiction.
1. Experience the traditional Vietnamese family meal
Traditionally, Vietnamese clay pot chicken is served with hot steamed rice, and the dish can be shared among many people because of the large size of the clay pot and because that is how Vietnamese enjoy their family meals. Therefore, as a traveler, you can have a chance to encounter the “real” Vietnam when trying rustic dishes like clay pot chicken.
2. Have a taste of an Asian dish and cooking
If you come from a non-Asian country, where caramel is frequently used ice cream, the idea of using caramel in savory dishes might sound quite strange. However, the mixture of rich caramel and ginger sauce epitomizes the principles of Vietnamese cooking. We promise you that once you try Vietnam clay pot chicken, the sticky, sweet and salty sauce coated the chicken will change your mind.
The clay pot is also a utensil that is common in Vietnamese and Asian cooking. With the clay pot, the flavor, nutrition, and heat of the whole dish will be kept and enhanced, and the meat is also cooked to perfect tender.
3. Add to your recipes another healthy and easy-to-make dish
This dish is rated as very easy and simple to cook, and it is usually taught in cooking class. Therefore, if you want to bring a little Vietnamese flavor into your country, this chicken dish is an excellent option for you.
1. Com Nieu Sai Gon
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59 Ho Xuan Huong, Ward 6, District 3
75 Xuan Thuy, Thao Dien Ward, District 2
Opening hours: 10 AM - 10 PM
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2. Cuc Gach Quan
Address: 10 Dang Tat, Tan Dinh Ward, District 1
Opening hours: 9 AM - 11 PM
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3. Binh Quoi Ecotourism
Address: 1147 Binh Quoi, Ward 28, Binh Thanh District
Opening hours: 11 AM - 2 PM and 5 PM - 10 PM
Price: VND 150,000 - VND 275,000
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