Ready In: 50 Minutes
- 5 x Chicken thigh (skin on), or tofu, sliced or diced, as a vegetarian option (or a combination)
- 3 Tbsp lemongrass, crushed or grated, or paste
- 1 Tbsp (or powder, 1 tsp) turmeric root grated
- 1 Tbsp ginger, grated
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 Tbsp fish sauce, (optional for vegan, seafood allergy)
- 4 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp sugar (palm or coconut sugar)
1. Marinade chicken
Make a marinade by mixing the lemongrass, turmeric, ginger, garlic, fish sauce, sugar, lime juice and soy sauce (and chilli if you’re using it – to taste). Grate or crush or place ingredients in a food processor or blender.
Place chicken pieces or tofu in a baking dish and cover with marinade. This can be prepared the day before and left in the fridge overnight.
2. Cook Chicken
Preheat oven to 180ºC (375ºF) fan bake. Place baking dish with chicken and marinade in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the chicken skin is golden and going crunchy and the juices run clear (if cooking just tofu, reduce cooking time to approximately 20 minutes).
3. Prepare veggies
Stir fry your veggies in a little oil until just done.
4. Cook Noodles
Cook rice noodles following instructions on the packet. Once cooked, drain and toss with a little sesame oil.
Serve with cooked rice noodles and stir fried veggies. Add wedges of lime (optional) and diced fresh red chilli (optional) to garnish. We used 1 packet of rice noodles, large handful of sugar snap peas, 2 carrots, ½ head of broccoli, 2 spring onions, ⅓ cucumber, couple of handfuls of Chinese red spinach.
Nuoc Nam Dressing: Combine ¼ cup of sugar with 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and cool. Add ¼ cup lime juice, ¼ cup fish sauce and 4 cloves of crushed garlic. Taste and adjust to taste – adding more fish sauce to increase savory, more sugar for sweetness or more lime juice for tartness.*
Serve the components of the meal family style**
Serve a selection of raw and cooked veggies.
- Fish Sauce Alternatives: Suitable replacements are coconut amino acids, a little salt, 1 Tbsp vinegar or mushroom sauce.
- Ingredient Notes / Swaps: I recommend skin on chicken thigh as it remains moist and soft.
- Serve with cooked mashed orange kumara or pumpkin for infants, or mash/puree with a little chicken broth for younger babies. Leave out the fish sauce if you have a family history of seafood allergy.
- Make Ahead: The chicken and marinade can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the fridge.
* This is a great job for the kids to work on – they can learn about the different tastes and experiment!
** Family Style service: Making all the components of the meal available to everyone to serve themselves in any order or quantity they prefer. Serving meals family style is a proven method for children to learn to eat a wider diet through positive mealtime experiences and autonomy.
Lemongrass is a wonderful herb to add to your meals, and it can also be used as an essential oil which has powerful antibacterial and antiseptic properties. For more information see Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus).
A bit more about the master chef behind this recipe…
Anya has been feeding hungry learners for many years and her focus is on developing healthy, informed, responsible and positive relationships between children and their food and eating.
Anya has studied Nutrition, with a focus on children and adolescents, and through her work as a cook and nutrition advisor in the early learning space, she has been able to practice and teach positive eating relationships (University of Idaho and Ellyn Satter Institute) through a lens of Reggio Emilia and Te Whariki.
With a family of five, Anya focuses on humble, nourishing and sustainable family meals that are satisfying, tasty and don’t break the budget. Just as our great-grandparents once did.
Anya is currently developing menus and food education for Libelle Group. When she is not in the kitchen, browsing food ideas or reading cookbooks, Anya loves wandering in nature with her dog, Charlie.
You can find Anya at Anya Bell.