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This summer, Vietnamese food lovers have been raving about a new combination of food that can diversify everyday meals and make summer more fun: Chicken braised with lychee.
As its name implies, the two main ingredients of this innovative dish are chicken and lychee. The combination of lychee, a popular summer fruit in northern Vietnam, and chicken will create a refreshing, flavorful taste that you cannot resist.
How to make chicken braised with lychee
- Chicken (hen): 1.5kg
- Lychee: 1kg
- Dried red date (jujube date): 200g
- Shiitake mushroom: 200g
- Lotus seeds: 300g
- Fresh coconut water
|Lotus seeds, shiitake mushroom, dried red date and fresh lychee. Photo: Dantri|
First, wash the chicken, then roast the chicken briefly over an open fire so that the chicken’s skin can shrink slightly and won’t break during braising, and the flavor of the dish can be enhanced. After roasting, wash the chicken again with water, then put it into a pot.
You should choose a chicken that is not too big and has straight, slender legs with soft skin. When you press your finger onto the chicken’s meat, you can feel the firmness of the meat. It will not be too soft to the touch. This is so that after braising, the chicken meat is not stringy or mushy and exudes an appetizing aroma.
Next comes preparing the lychee. You only need the flesh of the lychee, so remove the skin and seeds. To prepare the red date, shiitake mushroom and lotus seeds, soak them in warm water until softened, then rinse under running water. These ingredients will make the broth clearer and more umami. At the same time, they have many health benefits (more to that below) and a plethora of nutrients to the dish such as vitamin B, vitamin A, vitamin C, selenium, and fiber.
|After washing the chicken and softening the other ingredients, put them in a pot and cover the ingredients in plain water and coconut water. Photo: Dantri|
|Tip: Use pots made from pottery, porcelain or terra-cotta when making chicken braised with lychee. In this way, the ingredients are more evenly cooked and the dish’s unique flavor is intensified.|
Put these ingredients into a pot, add seasonings, water and coconut water to cover the entire chicken. Coconut water will make the chicken softened more quickly and add a sweet, umami flavor to the dish. Put the pot on the stove. When the ingredients start to boil, turn down the heat and let the ingredients simmer for about one hour.
|Braising chicken with lychee over an open fire. Photo: Dantri|
When the chicken is soft and the aromatic odor of all ingredients can be smelt, that’s when you know the dish is ready to serve. The final products must have soft, flavorful but not mushy chicken and nutty lotus seeds. The broth is clear and has distinct sweetness from the lychee and coconut water, and an attractive aroma from shiitake mushroom and dried jujube.
|Complete product. Photo: Dantri|
Chicken braised with lychee tastes best when served hot. You can eat it with bread or rice noodles. Not only easy to make and appetizing, but this dish is also extremely nutritious. It is particularly beneficial for those who have just recovered from sickness. Chicken braised with lychee can add a nice twist to your meal. If you are thinking of feeding your family something special for the weekend, then this dish is not a bad choice!
|Chicken braised with lychee, served with rice noodles. Photo: Dantri|
Chicken braised with lychee
Notable health benefits of some ingredients
- Rich in vitamin C, vitamin E and antioxidants: Lychee provides 9% of the Reference Daily Intake of Vitamin C and can reduce the risks of stroke, cancer and diabetes. With its Vitamin E content, lychee can also help to relieve sunburn and keep the skin healthy.
- Reduce abdominal fat and fight liver cancer: Oligonol, a medicine made with lychee and green tea, can reduce abdominal fat and lychee fruit pericarp extract has been proved to help fight against liver cancer.
2. Red date
- High fiber content and low-calorie count
- Rich in vitamin C and potassium, which can help to boost the immune system, muscle control and electrolyte balance.
3. Shiitake mushroom
- Improve heart health: Shiitake mushroom has eritadenine, a compound known to reduce blood cholesterol, and beta-glucans which can reduce inflammation and block intestinal cholesterol absorption.
- Support immune health: Shiitake is rich in some polysaccharides that can help to prevent cell damage, enhance the immune system and boost white blood cell production.
- Provide various vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin D, copper, selenium, potassium, iron, and phosphorous.
4. Lotus seeds
- Rich in micronutrients such as calcium, magnesium, iron, and phosphorus.
- High in antioxidants which can fight against heart disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes, and reduce inflammation.
- Support weight loss: Lotus seeds can boost intake of protein and fiber, reducing food craving.
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