Whilst traveling through Vietnam a few years ago, we spent a day in the beautiful city of Hoi An. Famous for silk production and Lunar celebrations alike, it is also home to one of the country’s most iconic dishes … chicken rice, or Cơm Gà Hội An.
Com Ga – Vietnamese Chicken Rice
|2 hrs cook (mostly unattended)
20 mins prep (during cooking)
15 mins dish assembly at the end
|4 servings, plus leftovers for future meals|
|Fresh white Burgundy|
- Large stock pot (minimum 8 litres capacity)
- Fat separator or ladle
- Chopping board
- Large saucepan
- Wok (optional)
- Sharp knives
- Meat/Poultry lifters (optional)
- Kitchen towel
Traditional Cơm Gà Hội An is made chickens called Ga Ta. To quote a friend who lives in Vietnam:
“Chicken is the core of this dish and Vietnamese chicken used in Cơm Gà Hội An is called Ga Ta. This means the chicken are fed naturally, not industrialised, let the chicken live life in a natural environment.” – Them Pham
They have a distinctive, rich taste and a yellow colour in the skin which is imparted to the rice. This type of chicken is available from supermarkets as corn-fed free range chickens.
Stock and Chicken
- 2kg whole chicken
- 6 litres water
- 1 large onion, unpeeled
- 4 spring onions
- Large piece of ginger, unpeeled
- 1 tbsp fish oil
- 1 tbsp salt
- 2 tbsp sugar
Assembling the Dish
- Stock and cut/shredded chicken pieces
- 3 spring onions
- 400g jasmine rice
- 15g ginger
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp groundnut oil
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tsp diced lemongrass
Condiments for Serving
- Fresh basil and coriander (cilantro)
- Pickled carrot and daikon
- Dipping fish sauce (nước mắm chấm)
The preparation of this dish is very similar to Pho Ga (Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup), so if you’ve made that already, this should be easy to pick up.
Making the Stock and Cooking the Chicken
- Microwave unpeeled ginger, onion and spring onion for 90 seconds. Let them cool, then peel and quarter onion. Slice ginger into large chunks.
- Wash and clean chicken under a warm running tap.
- Add water, fish oil, sugar and salt to stock pot. Stir gently, then add washed whole chicken, spring onion, onion and ginger to stock pot. Bring to boil then cover and reduce to a very low heat to simmer.
- Remove scum from stock surface using a ladle or a fat separator. Simmer for 30 mins.
- Repeat above step 2 more times, then take off the heat and perform a final scum removal. Remove and carve/shred the chicken, then set it aside and keep it warm until final assembly. Remove and discard any remaining solids from stock.
Assembling the Dish
- Wash the rice thoroughly and drain it. Add the rice and 1 litre of stock to a fresh pan. Bring to the boil, then reduce to simmer for 2 mins. Remove from the heat, cover then pan with kitchen towel and large plate. Leave for 8 mins, then drain off any excess liquid.
- Meanwhile, cut the spring onion stalk into thin white strips, cut the green stem into small chunks. Crush the garlic cloves, finely chop ginger.
- Heat the groundnut oil in a wok. Add the lemongrass, garlic, ginger and white spring onion stalks. Stir fry for 1-2 mins until the ingredients are browned.
- Add the toasted sesame seed oil and then rice to the wok, stir fry for further 2 mins.
- Serve the rice and chicken with garnish of coriander and chopped spring onion stalks.
Hints, Tips and Pictures
- See the hints, tips and pictures section of the Pho Ga recipe for some general pointers.
- Spring onions are easier to handle when making the stock if they are tied into knots.
- The dipping fish sauce (nước mắm chấm) is available from some Asian supermarkets. It has a very strong, pungent and distinctive taste if you’re not used to it.
- For future meals, some chicken pieces can be re-heated by boiling for a couple of minutes in left-over stock. The rice is prepared in the same way.
- If corn-fed free range chickens are not available, the yellow colour can be achieved by adding 2 tsp of turmeric to the stock as it cooks.
- Some of the jasmine rice can be substituted for sticky rice to add some texture.