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Authentic Vietnamese recipes from the Motherland

Honey Mustard Garlic Chicken

I'm very anal when it comes to cooking in my kitchen. I realized that this morning. I came into the kitchen with notes in hand, ready to cook. My husband saw me coming and scrambled to clear the counters, wash the dirty dishes, and put everything back in order. He shuffled the kids and himself out of the kitchen and said, "I know how you are. The kitchen is all yours." Not sure if I should be insulted or impressed, but I appreciated it. Out of all the people in the world, including my mom, he knows me best. Sometimes, he knows me more than I know myself. It's frightening. 

It's been rainy and cold lately. I try to avoid running errands as much as I can when it's cold and wet outside like running to the grocery store. Instead of having a recipe in mind and then heading to the store, I looked in my freezer and pantry to see what dish I can make with the ingredients I already have.

Honey Mustard Garlic Chicken

Honey Mustard Garlic Chicken

I love shopping at Costco, our wholesale store here. That means for me, I always have plenty of honey and mustard at home, more than I will ever need in a lifetime. With a few cloves of garlic, honey mustard garlic chicken was what's for dinner. The chicken came out extremely tender and moist. The honey mustard glaze beautifully coated the chicken with sweet and tangy flavors. It was just perfect with steamy white rice on a cold day. I even chopped up some of the leftover and wrapped it in a tortilla for lunch the next day. The ingredients were very simple and best of all, it took about 30 minutes to make from start to finish. 

Honey Mustard Garlic Chicken Recipe

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 lb chicken boneless thighs, breasts or tenderloins 
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 3 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 stalk green onion (slice thinly)
Chicken tenderloin seasoned with salt and pepper

Chicken tenderloin seasoned with salt and pepper

Pan-frying chicken tenderloin

Pan-frying chicken tenderloin

Instructions

  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. The perfect way to salt and pepper your chicken is to lay the chicken flat. Grab the seasoning and let it naturally fall from a foot above the chicken. Make sure that all surfaces of the chicken is completely covered in a thin layer of seasoning. Flip the chicken over and season the other side. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the honey, mustard and water. Set aside.
  3. In a large pan with a lid, heat up the vegetable oil on medium high heat. Pan fry the chicken until golden brown. This is just for color. No need to cook all the way through. You may need to cook in batches. Once golden brown, remove the chicken from the pan and drain on a plate lined with paper towels. 
  4. To the same pan, add the garlic. With a wooden spoon, saute the garlic until fragrant and lightly brown. Make sure to scrap up all the brown pieces at the bottom of the pan for extra flavor.
  5. Add the honey mustard mixture to the pan and mix well.
  6. Add the chicken and cover the pan with a lid. Let the steam cook the chicken and thicken up the sauce (about 10 minutes).
  7. Sprinkle with green onion and serve with steamed white rice and your choice of vegetable side dish.
frying-chicken

Five Spice Pork Chops

I adore these small clay ovens (pictured below) from Vietnam. In Vietnam, restaurants usually have these on the table and we would grill our own foods. There's just something about grilling on these mini grills that makes food tastes so much better. I had to bring one home to the states. After triumphantly carrying this 10-pound fragile clay oven half-way trip around the world, I was told that our local China Town carries these clay pots aplenty.

Five spice grilled pork chops 

Five spice grilled pork chops 

I lugged this clay oven home with me from half way around the world.

I lugged this clay oven home with me from half way around the world.

Five Spice Powder is a finely ground mixture of five spices: star anise, cloves, fennel, peppercorn and cinnamon. It's a very common ingredient in Chinese and Vietnamese cooking. These five spices make the beautiful aroma of the widely popular Vietnamese dish, Pho.

Five Spice Powder can also be used to marinate pork. I have never used any of the spices in my pork marinade. It turns out Five Spice powder pairs beautifully with pork. For the marinade, I also roasted a couple of whole star anise pods and peppercorns. I then ground them with a mortar and pestle. This added another layer of flavor that made the pork even tastier.

I recently made this recipe a few times in a span of one week. Each and every time, my husband complimented on the flavors. Now, for some perspective, I make pork chops with another marinade all the time. All the time. I don't believe I ever received compliments on that marinade.

Five Spice Pork Marinade Recipe:

Marinate about 6 pork chops or pork steaks

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pork seasoning powder
  • 1 teaspoon Five Spice powder
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 2 stalks of lemongrass (mince only the tender bottom white stems)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 shallots, minced

Instructions

  1. Combine the fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar, pork seasoning powder, Five Spice power, and sesame oil in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Dry roast the peppercorns and star anise pods until fragrant (1-2 minutes)
  3. With a mortar and pestle, finely grind the peppercorns and star anise pods.
  4. Add garlic and shallots into the mortar and grind everything together into a paste.
  5. Add ground mixture to the wet ingredients.
  6. Marinate pork for at least 30 minutes. Overnight in refrigerator is best. 
Grilling pork chops on my small clay oven

Grilling pork chops on my small clay oven

Forget the portable propane stove, I'm taking this with me for the next camping trip!

Forget the portable propane stove, I'm taking this with me for the next camping trip!

What a beauty

What a beauty