Barbecued Vietnamese 5-Spice Cornish Game Hens
The Winning Recipe for 1990 in the San Francisco Chronicle, by Joyce Jue.
- Ready In:
- 4 (14 ounce) Cornish hens
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 shallots (white part only) or 3 green onions (white part only)
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons sugar
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1⁄2 teaspoon five-spice powder
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons vietnamese fish sauce (nuoc mam)
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons dry sherry
Nuoc Cham Dipping Sauce
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 fresh chili peppers, preferably serrano
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 1⁄2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 4 tablespoons water
- For Hens: Halve the hens through the breast. Flatten the breasts with the palm of your hand.
- In a mortar or food processor, pound or mince the garlic, shallots and sugar. Add the salt, pepper, five-spice powder, fish sauce, soy sauce and sherry. Mix thoroughly. Pour the mixture over the hens. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Prepare a fire in a barbecue. Let the coals burn down to medium-hot. Set the hens skin-side down on the rack and grill over medium-hot coals for 15 minutes. Turn and grill for 15 minutes longer, or until they are thoroughly cooked and the skin is crisp and browned. Serve with Nuoc Cham Dipping Sauce.
- For Dipping Sauce: In a mortar, pound the garlic, chile pepper and sugar into a paste. (Or blend in a food processor or blender.) Transfer the mixture to a bowl and add the fish sauce, lime juice and water; stir to blend. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes, or until ready to serve. Strain into dipping saucers. Yields about 3/4 cup.
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Catalina has it right! This makes for such juicy chicken (I too used chicken breast -- a whole one, bone in skin on) and the marinade flavors are just right--not too spicy or too sweet. We liked it so much without the sauce that we put it away to use on somethin g else and just devourd the chicken. Thanks, ev!