Since taking Julie Chen’s class in Asian cooking in 1992 while a student at The Culinary Institute of America, I’ve forever been fascinated with the aromatics of ginger, garlic and scallion. “GGS,” as Chef Chen referred to it, is the back bone to many Asian dishes much in the same way mirepoix plays a significant role in classic French cooking.
I enjoy adding GGS to turn traditional dishes like this easy chicken and rice casserole into something “new.” How much to use of this mixture and ratios of GGS can change in traditional Asian dishes. My general rule of thumb is equal parts by volume of minced ginger and garlic, and twice the volume of the ginger and garlic for the scallions. The more you use these aromatics, the more you’ll get used to creating your own version of GGS.
This Asian chicken casserole smells amazing while in the oven; scents hint of Chinese food, and roasted chicken. My fascination with Asian ingredients doesn’t end with GGS. If you’ve some five-spice powder in your pantry, try adding some to the salt and pepper seasoning on the chicken. Or, add a tablespoon of Chinese fermented black beans to the rice mixture. Or, add a tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds to the cilantro garnish before serving. I’ve even replaced ¼ of the liquid with freshly squeezed orange juice for a refreshing citrus note to this dish.
This is a surprisingly easy meal to create and takes very little time to pull together in one dish. Simply stir together the aromatics, vegetables, stock and rice in the bottom of the casserole dish, top with the seasoned chicken, and bake. You’ll know it’s done when the chicken skin has crisped, and all the moisture has been absorbed by the rice. If you like super crispy skin, turn the broiler on for the last 4-5 minutes of cooking.
Give this casserole a 5-minute rest, uncovered, before adding the chopped cilantro garnish, and serving.
8 chicken thighs (1127g/2.5#), trimmed of fat, bone in, skin on
½ teaspoon (8g) salt
Freshly ground pepper (4g)
1, 1-inch piece of ginger (20g), peeled, grated
2 cloves garlic (12g), minced
5 scallions (110g), thinly sliced
½ red pepper (78g), small dice
1 large tomato (238g), diced, or 30 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 cups (483g) chicken stock
1 tablespoon (10g) soy sauce
1 tablespoon (10g) fish sauce
1 cup (250g) rice
½ bunch (50g) cilantro, chopped
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Season chicken with salt and pepper; set aside.
Stir together the ginger, garlic, scallions, red pepper, tomato, chicken stock, soy sauce, fish sauce and rice in the bottom or a 2-quart casserole dish. Place chicken, skin side up, on top of scallion mixture.
Bake, uncovered, until chicken is tender, skin is crisp and deep golden brown, and rice has absorbed all the liquid, about 1 hour.
Remove from oven and let rest 5-minutes. Remove chicken, stir together rice and vegetables, return chicken to top of rice, top with cilantro and serve immediately.