Today's Food Rule is about enjoying and savoring food and not rushing through a meal:
It's about appreciating the first bite of a food and understanding that no matter how many bites come afterward - be it 2 or 200 - none will taste as good as that first bite. It's a Food Rule to help keep pleasure at a maximum and calories at a minimum. A Chinese proverb sums it up well: "The more you eat, the less flavor; the less you eat, the more flavor."
I hadn't intended to pair today's recipe with this particular Food Rule, but it was beautifully illustrated as I took my first bite. This was a new recipe for me, and I was anxious to finally taste how it came together. And, my, how that bite was delicious. I'm pretty sure I swooned right there at the dinner table. That first bite was a perfect slightly crispy and charred texture with tender and juicy insides, and unique flavors that still managed to be familiar. Oh, that first bite was delicious. So were the second, third, and fourth bites too. But none tasted as good as that first forkful into my mouth.
So from here on out, I'm going to try to keep this Food Rule in mind. I'm especially bad at limiting myself with sweets. Just this morning, I took two, then three, then four, then five bites of a huge cookie. A cookie I should not have been devouring before breakfast even. And in hindsight, that first bite was incredible. But those subsequent bites were more along the lines of stuffing my face in a sugar-induced delirium. I could have enjoyed that cookie just as much with one bite, if I had really paused in the moment to savor it.
Vietnamese Roasted Chicken (Ga Ro Ti)
adapted from Sunday Night Dinner
2 lbs. chicken thighs, bone-in (about 4 thighs)
1 1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp. fish sauce (I prefer Golden Boy brand)
1 1/2 Tbsp. sesame or canola oil, plus additional for frying
5 cloves garlic, minced
Remove skin from thighs and trim excess fat using kitchen shears; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, pepper, soy sauce, fish sauce, oil, and garlic. Add the chicken thighs and evenly distribute the marinade between the thighs. Cover and marinate for 12-24 hours in the fridge.
Heat oven to 350°F and line a medium-sized baking dish with foil. Heat 1/2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Reserving marinade for the rice, add the chicken to the skillet and fry until deep golden brown, about 5 minutes. Flip chicken and brown other side for 2 minutes. Remove from skillet and place in foil-lined baking dish. Don't overcrowd chicken during browning; work in batches if necessary.
Roast chicken for 25-30 minutes. To check for doneness, poke the chicken with a knife; the juices should run clear (bone-in thighs 170°F internal temp, boneless thighs 165°F internal temp). Serve with dirty sticky rice.
Dirty Sticky Rice
adapted from Sunday Night Dinner
1 1/2 c. cooked sticky rice (3/4 c. uncooked)
3 green onions (white and green parts), sliced
2 Tbsp. chicken stock or broth
Salt and pepper to taste
Remove any completely burned bits from the chicken skillet, leaving a thin layer of grease. When about 10 minutes remain for the roasting chicken, heat skillet over medium heat. Add green onions and sauté until softened, about 3 minutes. Add reserved chicken marinade and cook an additional 2 minutes. Deglaze skillet by adding chicken stock and scraping up browned bits, and heat through. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add cooked sticky rice to pan and fold the scallions evenly into rice. The rice should be a light brown color filled with scallions and de-glazed chicken and garlic bits.
Roasted Chicken Ingredient Lineup:
Dirty Sticky Rice Ingredient Lineup: