Honey-tamarind chicken with rice vermicelli

Today, Scott and his broworkers went to Green Papaya to get some delicious Vietnamese food, as was their daily wont until the bulk of them relocated to an office further away than across the street. Today was Green Papaya for old times’. They sat down at their table, took a glance at the menu, and noticed that it had been totally chopped since their last visit months earlier. “The fuck?” Scott recounted to me, as we walked downtown’s mizzled, brick streets, our gym gear in tow. He’d has his heart set on his Green Papaya favorite: honey barbecue chicken. Instead, he was relegated to the fare of a clunky, meatball sports club owner trying to phase out “seafood foe” and phase in “TVs”.

I grew livid at the thought that my wantless husband was denied. His cravings are so humble and infrequent that he deserves to have every one slaked. And some stupid motherfucker thinks another sports bar is what this town needs instead of good Vietnamese food. I had to take matters into my own hands.

Okay, no, I didn’t go break that dude’s kneecaps, but I figured I could cook Scott his denied honey barbecue chicken. We already had skinless/boneless chicken breasts, green beans and red bell pepper that needed eating, and half a bag of fresh rice vermicelli. A bag of lettuce that I saved from the brink of compost (washed and cut, bagged for easy use) could flesh things out and provide a refreshing crunch.

I don’t know if you can see the julienne on those carrots, but I did that by hand. Just so you know. (I just got my knife sharpened and am showing off.)

To make the barbecue sauce, I combined honey and tamarind (soaked and pressed through a sieve) lime zest and juice, a few squirts of fish sauce and a drib of soy sauce, a little palm sugar and a splash of rice vinegar, and some sambal oelek and crushed garlic. Slice the chicken breasts into thirds width-wise (fillet them into thin sections) and marinate the pieces for at least 15 minutes. Grill until sufficiently charred, then toss some red bell pepper and green beans on there. Scott said it tasted pretty much the same, and was happy. Yay.

Serve with rice noodles and lettuce, nước chấm, and righteous indignation.