Spicy butterflied Vietnamese chilli chicken
This recipe is great for a crowd, as it can be prepared ahead of time.
- To butterfly chicken, lay it on a chopping board, breast-side down. Using kitchen scissors, cut down both sides of the backbone to remove it.
- Turn it over so that the skin side is facing up and use the heel of your hand to firmly push down to flatten it. Trim any excess fat.
- Make a paste by putting the garlic, lemongrass, chillies, sugar and salt in a mortar and pestle, or food processor, and grind to a paste.
- Add the tamarind, lime or lemon juice, fish sauce and sesame oil.
- Using a sharp knife, make deep slashes in the flesh of the drums and breast meat, to assist with the cooking and flavour penetration.
- Then use a spatula or your hands (be careful though because chilli can sting) to smother the chicken with the paste, working it into the cuts.
- Put the chicken in a well-greased roasting dish. At this stage you can either cook immediately or leave to marinate overnight – I never have time, so it’s usually about 15 minutes maximum in my kitchen!
- Preheat oven grill to hot. Splash a lick of oil over the chicken and place under a hot grill until the chicken begins to blacken in some places, about 10 minutes.
- Cover with foil and bake at 220C for 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.
- Chop the chicken roughly and wrap in lettuce leaves. Serve with a dipping sauce of your choice.