Sticky Lemongrass Chicken Thighs with Black Rice Salad

Chicken thighs nestled in black rice on a platter

After a long, hard Northeast winter, nothing makes me happier than looking out on the deck and seeing row upon row of fresh herbs, sitting up in their little pots all bright and perky, like, “what? I was always here.” No, Rosemary, you weren’t. And I know that for a fact because I paid a freaking fortune for a few measly sprigs in January since I just couldn’t bear to use the dry, desiccated jar of rosemary-scented dust that languishes on my spice rack through the winter. 

Even though spring is yet young, the herb garden still feels like a cornucopia. Chives! Mint! Cilantro!  Sure it’s still too cold for the basil, but don’t be greedy, it will be here soon. Anxious for a recipe that uses this green bounty, we decided on a Black Rice Salad which, along with crisp red cabbage, sweet golden raisins and crunchy peanuts, uses a full cup of fresh herbs. We went with cilantro and mint (because that’s what we have) but basil, when it’s fresh, would be fantastic too, especially spicy Thai basil if you’re growing it or can find it in the store. 

A platter of black rice sprinkled with herbs

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Vietnamese-Style Baked Chicken

Vietnamese-style baked chicken

Vietnamese-style baked chicken; Chicken thighs (or breasts) marinated in a mixture of fish sauce, sugar, herbs and lime juice and then oven-baked to create a dish infused with flavor and browned to perfection.

Baked marinated chicken is one of our favorite weeknight dinners. What’s that – just mix up some spices, soak chicken thighs in it for a half hour, and then stick it in the oven? Sign me up. The more interesting the flavors, the more it’s a miracle that such a straightforward process can result in a delicious dinner. And so it is with this Vietnamese-style baked chicken.

There’s a lot going on in the marinade, but one of the standouts – possibly even the key ingredient – is the anchovy-based Vietnamese fish sauce, or nuoc mam. If you’ve never encountered it, you’ve got a treat ahead of you. This sauce is used as a dressing or dip (for example, as an accompaniment to spring rolls) but we actually use it all the time, even in non-Asian recipes, where we want to add a little salt and that distinctive fishy, savory note. Along with rice vinegar and sesame oil, it’s a great condiment to have as part of a simple Asian pantry.

Vietnamese spices
Lime, ginger, palm sugar, chile sauce, cilantro and fish sauce.

Note: This recipe is part of our on-going series with Serious Eats. You can also find this recipe, and other great ones, on their site.

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One-pan Peri Peri Chicken and Rice

One-pan Peri Peri Chicken and Rice

So who is this ‘Nando’ and why is he so cheeky? No, seriously, I really want to know.

Being an American, the phrase ‘cheeky Nandos’ means almost nothing to me but for some inexplicable reason, it became stuck in my head the other day. I asked Matt (a Brit) what it meant and all he did was laugh, jump around and scream “Cheeky Nandos! Cheeky Nandos!” for about an hour until I was forced to distract him with a shiny Doctor Who marathon. Not helpful.

In this rare case, even the internet failed me. When I googled “What is cheeky nandos. Help, confused american.,” it suggested this article. This a sample explanation:

you know when you go down town with the lads and you all realize you’re hank marvin’ so you say “lads let’s go Maccers” but your mate Smithy a.k.a. The Bantersaurus Rex has some mula left on his nandos gift card and he’s like “mate let’s a have a cheeky nandos on me” and you go “Smithy my son you’re an absolute ledge” so you go have an extra cheeky nandos with a side order of Top Quality Banter  

One-pan Peri Peri Chicken and Rice
Peri Peri is a spicy sauce made with chilis, garlic and vinegar. Add some crispy chicken and creamy rice and you have a delicious, easy dinner.

So… yeah. Much clearer now. Thanks.

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Cheeky Nando’s! One-pan Peri Peri Chicken and Rice

One-pan Peri Peri Chicken and Rice

Tender chicken with crisp, golden brown skin, baked on top of creamy risotto-style rice, flavored with spicy, tangy Peri-Peri Sauce. Watch out, this dish is addictive. 

So who is this ‘Nando’ and why is he so cheeky? No, seriously, I really want to know.

Being an American, the phrase ‘cheeky Nandos’ means almost nothing to me but for some inexplicable reason, it became stuck in my head the other day. I asked Matt (a Brit) what it meant and all he did was laugh, jump around and scream “Cheeky Nandos! Cheeky Nandos!” for about an hour until I was forced to distract him with a shiny Doctor Who marathon. Not helpful.

In this rare case, even the internet failed me. When I googled “What is cheeky nandos. Help, confused american.,” it suggested this article. This a sample explanation:

you know when you go down town with the lads and you all realize you’re hank marvin’ so you say “lads let’s go Maccers” but your mate Smithy a.k.a. The Bantersaurus Rex has some mula left on his nandos gift card and he’s like “mate let’s a have a cheeky nandos on me” and you go “Smithy my son you’re an absolute ledge” so you go have an extra cheeky nandos with a side order of Top Quality Banter  

So… yeah. Much clearer now. Thanks.

One-pan Peri-Peri Chicken and Rice
Peri-Peri is a spicy sauce made with chilis, garlic and vinegar. Add some crispy, moist chicken and creamy rice and you have a delicious, easy dinner.

Read more

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