Vietnamese crispy roasted chicken, also known as Ga Roti, is a delicious homestyle dish. It is well-known for its flavorful ingredients and a common chicken dish that you’ll see in any Vietnamese dinner meal at home, but lesser known to westerners.
It is more specifically a Vietnamese crispy skin chicken that is "roasted" that is made in a way that differs from traditional roasting methods. This is a chicken dish that you should definitely try out if you are a fan of crispy chicken skin and slow-cooked goodness.
For most first generation kids, when they are presented with this dish, there’s a nostalgic element to it, as most people who've grown up eating Vietnamese dishes have had it growing up. If you are one of them, read on as I share our family’s recipe for Ga Roti that you can also modify and adapt sweetness and cook time to be reminded of your own family’s version of this recipe.
All About Vietnamese Ga Roti - Crispy Roasted Chicken
Vietnamese crispy roasted chicken is famous for its crispy outer chicken skin. The texture of the chicken makes it really enjoyable to eat. The crispy skin and the juicy and tender meat pair really well together. The meat is so tender that you could shred it by hand.
The flavors of Vietnamese roasted chicken are very rich, as it has a slightly sweet and savory sauce that has a pleasantly intense hit of garlic. Because of the roasting and searing process, the succulent chicken ends up with a caramelized glaze that is truly incredible.
The reason why it is different from regular barbecue flavors is that it is a combination of flavors that are quite different from a barbecue. It has quite a multidimensional flavor profile. However, it delivers the same level of taste.
Even the juices from the chicken and the leftover marinade that is left on the pan after cooking can be really useful. You can use it to cook rice in it or make up a great dipping sauce by adding some lime and peppers.
What does Ga Roti mean?
Ga Roti has a really simple and familiar meaning. The word "ga" means chicken in Vietnamese. "Roti" translates to a rotisserie. It is essentially a Vietnamese take on the word. Just how Americans tend to Anglicize certain words, Vietnamese also end up Vietnamizing some.
The strange part about this Vietnamese chicken recipe is that even though the name is implying that it is a roasted chicken, it is not roasted at all. It is a pan-fried chicken recipe that is sometimes finished off in the oven. The flavors, however, are similar to roast chicken. Perhaps the juicy and succulent nature of the dish is the reason why it is associated with a typical rotisserie chicken.
Regional Variations of Roasted Chicken in Southeast Asia
Some versions of this Vietnamese roasted chicken are finished off by simmering the crispy chicken in coconut water. This gives the glaze a subtly sweet taste. This is a method used when you prefer to braise the chicken rather than have a roasted chicken with crispy skin.
Thai versions of the dish are paired with a Thai dipping sauce very often. It usually consists of juice from the chicken, lime juice, Thai red chilies, and soy sauce.
Tips and Tricks Before Cooking Vietnamese Ga Roti
Chicken skin has a lot of fat. While this fat is responsible for a lot of the amazing flavor and crispiness of roasted chicken, it can also be very rich. Some may prefer to cut down on fat. In that case, remove the chicken skin to enjoy a healthier version of the dish.
A few other ingredients that you can include in your marinade are oyster sauce and Hoisin sauce. These are not mandatory ingredients. However, they are essential to take this chicken to the next level. Both oyster sauce and Hoisin sauce adds a lot of depth and flavor to the dish. So use at least one of the two if you are able to pick it up from your local Asian store.
Asian Grocery Store List
This recipe consists of some pretty common Asian ingredients that are always available at Asian stores. As long you are familiar with navigating the store, you are good to go. Try not to substitute any of the required Asian ingredients, as they are important to build up the signature flavors of Ga Roti.
Fish sauce is a staple ingredient in every Southeast Asian cuisine. It is an incredibly versatile ingredient that boosts the flavor of every dish that it is added to. Fish sauce enhances the umami notes of dishes.
The glaze of Vietnamese roasted chicken benefits greatly from the fish sauce. It is essential that you include it in the marinade for the chicken. So make sure to grab a bottle from the Asian grocery store. You will find yourself reaching for it for various other dishes as well.
Shallots are also relatively inexpensive at Asian grocery store. So while you are grabbing that fish sauce, you might also pick up a few large shallots.
How to Make Vietnamese Crispy Roasted Chicken - Ga Roti
Even though the name implies a certain type of cooking method, do not be fooled. Ga Roti is a chicken that gives you the burst of flavors that you are looking for, all through a predominantly pan-fried method.
This Ga Roti recipe is quite simple to follow. Even if you have never made chicken in a similar way before, it should be easy enough for you to follow. Once you have gathered all the necessary ingredients and have prepared your workstation for the cook, you should be ready to start off.
- 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
- 6 chicken thighs
- ½ shallots, diced
- 1 garlic clove, diced
- 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
- 5 tablespoon of soy sauce
- ½ tablespoon of salt
- 2 cups of water
- Prepare the chicken by rinsing it at patting it dry.
- Heat up the vegetable oil. Add the chicken thighs skin down. Fry for 5-7 minutes until golden.
- Flip the chicken thighs right side up. Fry again for another 5-7 minutes until cooked through.
- Take the chicken out of the plate. Set aside.
- In the same pat, remove some of the rendered fat until about 2 tablespoons are remaining.
- Add in shallots and garlic. Stir until aromatic and golden. Add in brown sugar, granulated sugar, soy sauce, and salt.
- Add the chicken back in. Add water. Cover with lid.
- Simmer for an additional 15 minutes on low.
- Serve over a bed of rice.
Nutrition Information:Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 331Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 166mgSodium: 1490mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 0gSugar: 6gProtein: 32g
Ga Roti can be served in many ways. While it is amazing on its own, it is even better with a dipping sauce. Other than that, it goes perfectly with a cup of jasmine rice.
Another great way to serve it is to pair it with dirty sticky rice. This rice dish can be cooked by utilizing the brown bits of flavor left behind by the chicken on the pan. You can de-glaze the pan using some chicken stock and cook then cook the sticky rice in it. Garnish it with some scallions that you will have an amazing side to serve the chicken with.
If you end up with too much leftovers from the Ga Roti, you can always go ahead and store them in the fridge. After cooking the chicken, allow it to cool down completely. Within the next 2 hrs, wrap the chicken and put it in the top shelf of your refrigerator. This will last up to 2-3 days.
Similarly, you can freeze the chicken if you want to store it for a longer time. Make sure you store cooked meat away from raw meat in the fridge/freezer.
More Information About Ga Roti
A lot of people wonder if they can serve Vietnamese roast chicken with other items besides rice. You can definitely enjoy Ga Roti like you enjoy any other roasted chicken dish. If you are in the mood to switch things up and have a side that is not rice, you can roast some potatoes with the chicken. Add some sliced potatoes to your pan and fry the potatoes in while you're frying the chicken. The potatoes will soak up all the chicken flavor from the pan.
Other vegetables such as carrots or green beans can also be tossed into the pan. It is all up to what you're in the mood for. If you're looking for an alternative to rice but you're still in the mood for carbs, go ahead and pair the chicken with some bread. It is really easy to enjoy this chicken no matter what you decide to eat it with.
Summary About Viet Ga Roti
This isn't a typical Vietnamese chicken dish that you can whip up in the kitchen based on how most mainstream Vietnamese flavors are. Some may try to prepare this chicken by marinating it in some Vietnamese staple ingredients such as soy sauce, fish sauce, garlic, and sugar. But it's not that straightforward.
Ga Roti is quite a simple dish if you know the correct method to cook it. Getting that perfect level of crisp on the skin is a key step. Even with braised versions of the dish, the crispy skin adds a really nice texture. Despite not it not being an actual rotisserie chicken, you may find yourself craving this Vietnamese version more than the actual one. So give this a try the next time you're in the mood to cook up some chicken.
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