When we went camping in Anza Borrego over Easter weekend with our friends Kim and Barry (from the Rustic Garden Bistro), we decided that each couple would be in charge of one dinner and one breakfast — but, I did request that we keep the meals as healthy as possible. After a grueling afternoon of boulder climbing back in Borrego Palm Canyon, Barry and Kim treated us to this fabulous easy dish — a family recipe that Vietnam-born Kim learned from her mother.
My grill master husband recently made this at the Greene House, and we both agree that it will remain a part of our regular culinary repertoire. It’s healthy, delicious and very easy to quickly prepare for a hectic week night dinner — especially if you make the marinade the night before, or in the morning before heading out to work. Leftovers taste great reheated in the microwave, or shredded and served chilled in a salad.
While Kim’s original version is pretty healthy, at 8 PointsPlus per chicken piece, it’s still a bit too high in Points for me when I’m sticking to Weight Watchers. So Jeff and I cut the Points in half — without sacrificing any of the flavor — by using boneless skinless chicken thighs, substituting Splenda brown sugar blend for regular brown sugar, and reducing the quantity of oil.
We also opted to go with pureed lemongrass, strictly for convenience, since neither of us likes dealing with cleaning and chopping the fresh stalks.
- 1 ounce pureed lemongrass (we use Gourmet Garden)
- 2 tablespoons fresh minced ginger (use the jarred stuff if it’s easier)
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 Serrano pepper
- 3 teaspoons Splenda brown sugar mix
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
- Cut away outer peel of ginger, then mince. Peel garlic clove and mince. Cut Serrano pepper and mince. Discard seeds for more mild flavor.
- In a small sauté pan, combine Splenda, fish sauce, soy sauce, canola oil and rice wine vinegar. Slowly heat and stir until Splenda has dissolved. Then add in lemongrass, ginger, garlic and Serrano pepper. Bring up to simmer until lemongrass is fragrant; then turn off heat and let mixture cool.
- Once mixture cools completely, pour into zip lock bag, add in chicken, zip up top (squeezing air out) and let marinate in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
- Remove chicken from marinade and grill over low heat for approximately 15-20 minutes. Serve immediately.