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Gai Ta Krai (Chicken with Lemongrass) [Jan. 6th, 2007|09:48 pm]
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This dish consists of tender cubes of chicken in a slightly sweet, lemongrass redolent sauce, and tastes as fantastic as it smells. The particular recipe below was my attempt to copy the lovely ta krai dish served at the restaurant Royal Thai in downtown Ottawa.








  • 5 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 stalks lemongrass
  • 1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
  • 2 tbsp Chinese cooking rice wine
  • 1 tbsp tapioca starch
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp palm sugar
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 3 green onions, cut into one inch pieces

Peel the outer leaf off the lemongrass. Cut and discard everything about five inches above the base of the stalks. Chop the stalks into very thin circular segments, and then mince thoroughly to give a pile of small fragments: this is necessary, as if it is not finely chopped, lemongrass does not lend itself well to chewing and digestion.

Mix the chicken with the rice wine and starch in a bowl.

Heat the oil in a wok over medium-high heat. When hot, add the garlic and the lemongrass and fry in the oil for two minutes, stirring constantly.

Add the chicken mixture and cook for two minutes. Then stir in the soy sauces, the oyster sauce, the palm sugar, and the water, and cook for two more minutes. Finally, add the green onions and stir-cook for thirty more seconds.

Remove from heat and serve with jasmine rice.

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Comments:
[User Picture]From: raphinou
2007-01-07 03:29 am (UTC)

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that looks yummy! where do you get your recipes?
[User Picture]From: vorpal
2007-01-07 06:31 am (UTC)

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All the ones that I post here I come up with myself (unless otherwise indicated, like my pizza crust)! I one day aspire to be a cook (it was a huge toss up for me between PhD comp sci and cooking school) - or, at the very least, take some cooking classes to get the formal training down so I can progress further!
[User Picture]From: raphinou
2007-01-07 02:03 pm (UTC)

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you must have very good taste buds, then, if you're able to replicate the flavours of those dishes you make.
[User Picture]From: ironchefseb
2007-01-07 02:24 pm (UTC)

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Thank you *grins* - although not all of my experiments end up working out (and some of them turn out quite abysmally) :D. I think with Thai food in particular I have a lot of experience eating and cooking it, though, so I can taste a dish and often get a sense what's in it.
[User Picture]From: hagi
2007-01-07 04:02 am (UTC)

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It has been a LONG time to read your recipe! Oh yeah, Happy New Year, mate!

After you mix the chicken cubes with rice wine and starch, do you let them marinate overnight or do you immediately cook the chicken cubes in the wok?
[User Picture]From: vorpal
2007-01-07 06:36 am (UTC)

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I usually let it marinate about 15 mins, just while I chop the rest of the ingredients. I'd love to try an overnight marinade, just to see the effects that it would have, but I'm so ridiculously indecisive that I can't commit to a cooking experience the night before. I've tried to make chicken wrapped in pandanus leaves, which needs at least 24 hours of marination, a few times but I always flake out and the chicken goes bad. This is why I really have difficulty getting more into Indian cuisine, for instance.

I don't think it's typically Thai (I might be wrong) to mix the meat in such a way prior to cooking, but I've been indulging in some Chinese cookery as of late, where in many of the recipes I've read, this seems common, and it leaves the meat so delightfully tender that I've decided to bring it to my Thai experiments. Tonight it was SO FANTASTIC! The chicken was so delightful in this way, when usually in Thai food (my own and at restaurants) I find that it tends towards the slightly overcooked. I'm definitely going to pursue this technique further!

Happy New Year to you - and expect a lot more from me! Now without insane 60+ hour work weeks for school, I'm feeling like I have time and inspiration to return to the kitchen. *happy*
[User Picture]From: await_theophany
2007-01-07 04:32 am (UTC)

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I LOVE IT!

P.S. This is epiphanyofhope and my new journal name! Add me!
[User Picture]From: vorpal
2007-01-07 06:37 am (UTC)

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I just added you to this journal and I'll ironchefseb add you next time I log in!

LOL I swear, sweetstuff, that you change LJs more often than I change underwear. Well, not quite, but not far off ;-). Now that I actually have time this semester, I can't wait to read more about your life if you'll let me!
[User Picture]From: await_theophany
2007-01-07 08:25 pm (UTC)

Yay!

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Haha! It sure does seem that way. I guess I just like to change things when I change! Hopefully, I will keep this one for awhile :-D

and YAY FOR MORE TIME!!!!!!!

:-D
From: frantic_crow
2007-01-07 04:58 am (UTC)

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I miss food a la seb.

that looks amazing.
[User Picture]From: vorpal
2007-01-07 06:38 am (UTC)

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This was srsly one of the best Thai dishes I ever made. You need to come over and try it. Now. I miss you. If I have to go more than another month Allie-free, I am going to explode and take out half of Toronto.

P.S. Save the cheerleader, save Toronto.
From: lifein2x3
2007-01-07 05:45 am (UTC)

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I was just thinking this evening, as I was making pad-thai-from-a-box, that ironchefseb hasn't made an appearance lately. Do you have a good pad thai recipe?
[User Picture]From: vorpal
2007-01-07 06:42 am (UTC)

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I have a fantastic Pad Thai recipe right here:

Pad Thai

This one doesn't have shrimp in it since I'm not a shrimp fan, but I doubled up on the chicken to compensate for that. If you like shrimp, you could cut the chicken in half and use shrimp for the other half, although I'd probably recommend cooking the shrimp a bit less than the chicken... add it just a moment before the egg. Jeff and I are both super-crazy about this recipe, which is easy to make. It doesn't have that neon-pink look of many restaurant pad thais (due to the ketchup, I suspect), and it is soooo good. If you try it, let me know! I would love to hear how you like it!
From: lifein2x3
2007-01-07 07:39 am (UTC)

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Word, yo. I've found a pretty decent pad thai "chicken helper" kind of pre-packaged thingy that seems to work well (all they give you is the paste and rice noodles, you have to do the rest of it, like peanuts, bean sprouts, etc.)

I actually made that with bay scallops the other night, and it was delicious.

Your recipe sounds just as easy, and has the advantage of being adjustable.

My next culinary trick is going to be sushi.
[User Picture]From: sophistikat
2007-01-07 06:53 am (UTC)

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Pumpkin, I just got home and I'm so hungry and I come to my computer and see yummy yummy food. Now I'm even more hungry.

ps. Thanks for calling me back to hear my news. I would feel so unloved if I hadn't just seen you. But you still need to call me.

[User Picture]From: vorpal
2007-01-07 07:06 am (UTC)

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Calling you now.
[User Picture]From: zuptd
2007-01-07 03:25 pm (UTC)

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Um dood, when I come visit you will cook for me. Andy says so!

*hugz* for you and your foods!
[User Picture]From: beanpop
2007-01-07 09:39 pm (UTC)

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That looks very tasty. I just added ironchefseb because I've started branching out my cooking and I'm going to start using your recipes :)

Question though: What kind of a grocery store do you find some of the ingredients? Is it a specialty type store, or could you find them in a regular grocery store? I'm planning on cooking this one tonight, but I need to know where to get the ingredients :)
[User Picture]From: vorpal
2007-01-07 09:46 pm (UTC)

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For this one, you can probably find all the ingredients in a normal grocery store (provided they have lemongrass) if you make a few substitutions (which should be just fine): for example, use regular white sugar or brown sugar instead of palm sugar, and use corn starch instead of tapioca starch!

You might have trouble finding light / dark soy sauces... if you do, just use regular soy sauce for both, although it'll probably taste different. It should still be alright. Unbranded soy sauce is typically pretty close to light soy sauce. You could also put in a tsp of molasses for the dark soy sauce, which would probably be pretty good, I'd imagine!

I'm really lucky... I live right near a Chinatown, so I can get tons of ingredients there! Do you have one where you live? Some Thai ingredients are hard to find otherwise.

Let me know if you do try it and if you like it!
[User Picture]From: beanpop
2007-01-07 10:20 pm (UTC)

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If I can't find the palm sugar or tapioca starch I'll use the substitutions you suggested :)

Unfortunately, I live in a suburb of Dallas, so there's no chinatown anywhere close to me that I know of. I'm pretty new to the area though, so I don't really know for sure.

I'll definitely let you know how we like it! :)
[User Picture]From: vorpal
2007-01-07 09:47 pm (UTC)

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Oh! BTW... I'll add you back next time I log into ironchefseb... I'm usually a little slow about adding people to that journal but I promise I'll get to it soon!
[User Picture]From: beanpop
2007-01-07 10:21 pm (UTC)

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Awesome, take your time :)
[User Picture]From: wildrice13
2007-01-08 08:15 pm (UTC)

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Looks delicious and Definitely Doable :) Thanks!
[User Picture]From: vorpal
2007-01-08 08:21 pm (UTC)

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Let me know if you ever try any of these :D. I get feedback from Jeff and my tummy but I'd love to hear what other people have to say, too!
[User Picture]From: sooth
2007-06-18 09:57 pm (UTC)

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Hey Sebby!

I just made this recipe, and I'm eating it as I type this. My sauce came out lighter, and it took a lot longer than "2 minutes" to cook the chicken, LOL.

The recipe is AWESOME though, and I'm enjoying every bite!

It's pretty darn easy to make, and the only substitution I had to make was the palm sugar for regular sugar.
[User Picture]From: sooth
2007-06-19 02:49 am (UTC)

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AND... just for you, cuz you're so awesome, I took a photo. This is how it turned out:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket