Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ga Ragu - Chicken Ragu

I really love the concept of ca ri (curry) or beef stew (bo kho). Slowed cook meat with tender vegetables makes a hearty meal. There's another dish that fit in the stewed meat category yet we don't hear very often in Asian cuisine, ragu or nagu. I did a little research online and found some facts. Ragu originated in Bologna, Italy. It's meat that is slowly cooked in a tomato base until tender. Some recipes includes different vegetables such as onion, carrot, and celery and usually serve over pasta. If you are the thinking about the Ragu pasta sauce, then that's exactly it! It's such a popular sauce that a lot of chef from different country did a take on it inspired by their own culture. There's a vietnamese version that my mom always make. And what makes it vietnamese? You guessed it...it's the fish sauce! It's similar to curry but of course different spices are used but you can use similar vegetables like potatoes, carrots, and onions. You can add celery, mushroom, and if you are making it around this time of year you can add pumpkin. I've seen a version with crab legs. So give this recipe a try, goes great with white rice or baguettes.

Ingredients:
12 drumsticks (cut in half)
salt
fish sauce
black pepper
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
2 tablespoon mushroom seasoning
1/4 cup of fish sauce
1-2 cans of coco rico 
14/ cup of tomato paste
3 Idaho potatoes (cut into cubes)
4 medium carrots (cut into 1 in. section)
1 medium onion (sliced)
1 bay leaf (optional)
cooking oil
garnish with green onions, cilantro, and lime

1. Marinade the chicken with 1/4 cup of fish sauce, 1 tablespoon mushroom seasoning,1 tablespoon minced shallots.  I usually do this the night before.
2. Marinade the potatoes and carrots with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper.
3. Heat up cooking oil to a pan and sear the potatoes and carrots, don't completely cook the vegetables. 4. Set the potatoes and carrots aside for later.
5. Repeat step #3 with the chicken, again you don't have to completely cook the chicken.
6. Transfer chicken to a large pot and add 1/4 cup of tomato paste and evenly coat the chicken. Add 1-2 cans of coco rico if you like it sweet add two cans, so add to your liking.  Add 5 cups of water, 1 tablespoon of salt (this is base on 2 cans of coco rico, so if you are using less coco rico then a little less on the salt), 1 tablespoon mushroom seasoning.
7. Let the chicken simmer in the liquid for 20 minutes, skim scum if needed. Add the  carrots first then potatoes after.  Add more fish sauce if needed.  Let everything simmer for about 15 minutes and then add the onions at the very end. Serve over rice or with baguettes, enjoy!