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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ga Ro Ti (Vietnamese Roasted Chicken)

Ga Ro Ti (Vietnamese Roasted Chicken) 1

About six months ago, one of my readers in Canada (Hi, Jonathan!) emailed to ask me for some Vietnamese cookbook recommendations.


I told him I had more than a hundred Vietnamese recipes on the blog.

To which he replied that he needed a cookbook since he was trying to replicate a Ga Ro Ti (Vietnamese Roasted Chicken) recipe from a local restaurant. And while he had tried and liked several of my recipes, I didn't have the roast chicken recipe in my index.


He apologized since his poor attempt at reverse psychology went over my head and obviously didn't net him the recipe.


I told him the best method for actually getting a recipe from me was detailed and regular feedback. Not just compliments (Although, I surely love those.), but descriptions of what he did, adjustments he made, and how the recipe turned out.

Then I quickly made up a recipe on the spot.

He promptly thanked me. But even better, several weeks later after he had made the recipe, he wrote back to tell me how the chicken turned out and thanked me again.

And even better than that, a month later, he wrote again to tell me that he got over his fear of rice paper and made my Nem Nuong and Nem Nuong Cuon (Vietnamese Grilled Pork Patties and Vietnamese Grilled Pork Patty Salad Rolls) recipe for his sister's family with awesome (His words, not mine.) results.

So finally!

Here's my recipe for ga ro ti for the blog.

And here's how to get me to respond to a recipe request: ask nicely, give detailed and regular feedback, and thank me.

This blog is still a one-woman show. I'm only human after all.

Ga Ro Ti (Vietnamese Roasted Chicken) 2

Ga Ro Ti (Vietnamese Roasted Chicken)

For 1 Cornish game hen cut in half, or 2 pieces of chicken thigh and drumstick, or 2 pieces of breast meat, you'll need:
1 Cornish game hen cut in half, or 2 pieces of chicken thigh and drumstick, or 2 pieces of breast meat
1 tblsp soy sauce
1 tblsp honey or 2 tsp sugar
2 tsp Nuoc Mam (Vietnamese Fish Sauce)
1 tsp Chinese 5-spice powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground cumin
4 cloves garlic, finely minced

Mix all of the ingredients together to form a thick paste. Rub marinade all over the chicken.

Ideally, you can let the chicken marinate for about an hour if you wish, but it's not necessary.

Bake in shallow pan, skin side down at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.

Flip so the chicken is skin side up and bake at 325 for 25 minutes.

Serve with Com Do Ca Chua (Vietnamese Tomato Paste Red Rice) and garnish with sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, and Hanh Dam (Vietnamese Vinegared Onions).

Other baked chicken recipes you might like:
Baked Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic, Lemon, and Rosemary
Baked Chicken with Citrus Marinade
Baked Chicken with Salt, Pepper, and Lemon
Cuban Lemon Garlic Roast Chicken
Ga Ro Ti Xa (Vietnamese Roasted Lemongrass Chicken)
Peruvian Roast Chicken

1 year ago today, a primer on Nuoc Mam (Vietnamese Fish Sauce).
2 years ago today, Carne Asada (Mexican Grilled Meat) and Ga Nuong Xa (Vietnamese Grilled Chicken with Lemongrass) for a Memorial Day barbecue.


  1. Hi Wandering Chopsticks. Great site you have here. Your chicken looks delicious....I've never used cumin in combination with 5 spice before so surely I'll give it a try next time. However, I think this is a recipe for Ga Nuong rather than Ga Roti. I think Ga Ro Ti (or according to Southern Vietnamese, they'd call it Ga Khia) is when you deep fry the chicken, and then simmer it in coconut juice (or coconut soda) to achieve that sweet, savory, shiny glaze. I might be wrong but that's what I get when I order this dish from several restaurants (I live in the bay area), and also from mom's cooking. Perhaps it's different in LA???

  2. This looks terrific! I love finding new ways to prepare chicken. Luckily, I already have all of the ingredients for this. Can't wait to try it!

  3. I'd like to try this, as it looks within my skill level for the most part -- but how do you keep the chicken moist and tender during baking? I've followed quite a few recipes requiring an oven to the T ...yet the meat still comes out stringy and dry. :(

  4. I'm going to try this: I have a feeling this is going to be popular with the family. . .I'm quite surprised at the cumin though. Didn't expect to find cumin in a Vietnamese recipe. Is it used a lot in Vietnamese cookery?

  5. Katelyn,

    Five-spice powder sometimes has cumin, I just like to up it a bit more for this recipe so the spices have a stronger flavor.

    Ro ti is the VNese pronunciation of the French rotisserie so technically the chicken shouldn't be deep-fried. But since spitting it on a rotisserie is something most VNese kitchens didn't traditionally have, VNese would deep-fry it to achieve the crispy skin. Some of the VNese restaurants down here serve ro ti as deep-fried too. And I've seen some other versions that had it pan-fried and still called it ro ti.

    Baking it isn't quite the same as doing it in a rotisserie, but I feel it is more true to the spirit of what a ro ti should be than deep-frying it, which would technically be ga chien. :)

    I hope you do!

    Beyond the Sea,
    Have you tried my basic lemon baked chicken recipe? Or the 40 cloves of garlic baked chicken? It's the 1 hour dry brining that keeps the chicken moist and the particular way I bake it with the two different temperatures that gives it a crispy skin. Do try. I love baked chicken and with dry brining, my chicken has always come out well.

    There's cumin mixed into our curry and stews and other spice mixes. I don't know if it's a lot, but VNese tend to favor several other herbs which have a strong cumin-like scent such as rice paddy herb.

  6. Got to try this to see if it might be the same recipe for Vietnamese roasted duck. We had some pressed roasted duck at a Vietnamese place that's to die for.

  7. Terrific! I really like the browned skin on this, and the flavor combo sounds really good. We make roasted chicken at home too but we haven't flipped the chicken before- we just leave it on skin side up. I will remember to try the flipping method next time we make roasted chicken!

  8. Momgateway,
    You can try the same marinade and see how you like it. I think roast duck might need more 5-spice powder and obviously, a longer roasting time.

    Really? I always flip when I roast so the meat cooks evenly.

  9. wow i've never tried combining cumin with five spice. i always love roast chicken but don't have the patience to wait for the chicken to brown...ehm ehm ^_^

    so normally i only do this on weekends/holidays

    it's a great recipe and the pic looks gorgeous!

  10. Hi Wandering-C! Thank you for the great recipes. I have made the grilled pork patties (super yum!) Then tonight I just finished cooking Ga Ro Ti. It was so good my daughter and I burned our fingers trying to eat it right out of the pan. We couldn't wait it smelled soooo good! The recipe was easy and well written. I served the chicken with a stir fried mix of yu choy and gai lan, with rice and pickles. :O)

  11. How come you don't have a recipe for Com Do Ca Chua??

  12. oh, this is so mouth - watering!

  13. Looks absolutely delicious! I can almost taste it already! This will definately be in my dinner menu next week!

    Thanks for the delicious recipe!

  14. Hi, WC,
    I made this chicken tonight, with a couple of adjustments - I doubled it for 4 breasts (but they were skinless, it's all I had in the house); I added 1 extra tablespoon of honey; and I baked it at 425 for about 25 minutes (huge chicken breasts) and flipped it a couple of times while baking. I was afraid since I forgot to turn the temp down, it would be dry, but this was absolutely the moistest (is that a word? lol) chicken breast I've ever had. I sliced it and had some just like that with some sliced cucumbers, but most of it went into awesome sandwiches for the family. Thanks for posting a wonderful recipe that's definitely a keeper.
    Sis :)

  15. Oh man, thank you Jonathan for getting this recipe out of WC, and thank you WC! The skin looks perfectly crispy and mouthwatering. You really are the Vietnamese source for all recipes! (Nudge, nudge.)

  16. Oh sister, you surely make my mouth water. I need my mom to cook more Vietnamese food for me. haha. but really, i need to find decent Vietnamese grocery stores here!

  17. hahahaha.. that is hilarious.. but u r right.. ask nicely and more answers will be given.. if only more people do that. =)

    Having said that, I love the look of this roasted chicken. Is that tomato rice too?

  18. Hi WC-
    New reader here. Made your chicken recipe yesterday. It was wonderful and so juicy. Can't wait to try more.

  19. "I'm only human after all." LOL. =D

    So true... there's two of us and it's still hard to maintain the blog! Plus the reading of other blogs! I have a bunch of posts from your blog that are still "kept new" in my reader -- I have yet to read them carefully!

    (And oh, I second the surprise re the cumin.)

  20. MCR,
    That's really the only trick with making a good roast chicken. Just gotta give it time for the dry brining and baking to do their work.

    La Takahashi,
    Your dinner sounds wonderful! I love the imagery of you and your daughter picking at the chicken while it's still too hot to eat. It's so great to hear feedback like this when I post a recipe. Keep 'em coming!

    It's up now!


    Tigger Mum,
    Hope you enjoy it!

    That's nice to hear. Sandwiches! I should make this into banh mi ga ro ti!

    Haha. Thanks sweetie!

    Oh that's sad. I could live without VNese restaurants around if I could just get the ingredients I need to make it myself.

    You'd be surprised how people forget their manners when it comes to stuff online. Tomato paste rice indeed.

    I hope you do! Do let me know if you try and other recipes and how they turned out.

    You and JS are superwomen! I'm having a hard time trying to keep up with my blog and barely have time to visit others. I love cumin, but you can omit it if you're a cumin-free household. :P

  21. Hey WC - Just made this tonight - Delicious! Hubby (a self-proclaimed fish sauce and 5-spice hater) loved it too. Any suggestions on keeping the marinade/dripping from burning to a carcinogenic char on the baking dish? I'm thinking maybe on a rack with water underneath next time...

  22. Vicki,
    Lovely to hear! It's always nice when someone hates certain ingredients, yet tries and ends up liking a dish anyway. The rack with water underneath is a great idea. You can also add a bit more water to the marinade so it doesn't dry up when cooking.

  23. Dear Wandering Chopsticks:

    I love your recipes, I love you so much! THANK YOU for posting these wonderful and easy recipes. I've made bo kho and Ga ro ti 3 times for the past two weeks for family and friends dinner. They LOVED it. What can I say? Thanks thanks so much

  24. Kiuconcon,
    I love you! Your comment totally made my day! Thanks so much for making my recipes and letting me know about it!

  25. Yum! I am so impressed (as is my fiance). We loved this and I made it for the first time today.

    To tell you the truth, when I was making the marinade, I was thinking this wasn't looking (or smelling too good). But I kept to the recipe and voila! Instant success :)

    I have been raiding your blog so often for recipes (the easy ones at first hehe). Thank you.

  26. Wild Pop Art,
    That's the best kind of compliment. When you're not sure how it'll turn out, but you continue with my recipe anyway and end up loving the results. Thanks so much for trying my recipe and persevering anyway, despite your misgivings. Keep the feedback coming! I love hearing from you after you try something!

  27. Hello Wandering Chopsticks,

    This morning I was googling (should that even be a verb?) "wandering kitchen", and your blog came up as one of the possibilities. I did a short high-pitch girlie scream, the kind you make in front of a great sale for stainless steel pots or shoes, when I realized that it was full of vietnamese recipes. So for lunch, I made your Ga ro ti. The result: a succulent chicken. The skin was fragrant and oh so tasty. I don't know what you get if you don't marinate it, but the hour the chicken spent in the marinade was well worth the wait. The only change I made was to use a bit more sugar than your recipe called for. My boyfriend and I had it with a roasted parsnip and apple puree. So good!
    Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  28. Alex,
    Aww. I love comments like yours. So glad you liked the recipe.

  29. Hi WC! Just made this for my family. Everyone LOVED THE TASTE!

    My cooking time took longer and my cornish hens looked kinda white ... it didn't have your "tan" look.

    Both were my problems ... 1st ... I didn't have time to take them out and let it come to room temperature before putting it in the oven.

    2nd ... I put it too low on the rack.

    My whole house smelled sooooo goood. My son kept on asking when it would be done!

    After tasting it, he had asked me to put this recipe into his "diary" so he would be able to make this when his grown up!

    Anyway, Thanks again (VERY MUCH) for a wonderful delicious recipe!!!

  30. Hi!!
    I just made the recipe, and it is DELICIOUS! Full of flavor and so simple at the same time! I did not have any cumin in hand, but it still turned out amazing! I used sugar, but I will try honey next time to see the difference.
    Thank you so much! I just started cooking, and I feel like a pro after making such a yummy dish haha. Thanks again!

  31. Tigger Mum,
    Nice to know everyone liked it. All caps! :)

    It does take a bit longer when you take the meat straight from the fridge since it has to get to the room temperature temperature and go from there. I always keep my rack in the center. The only time it's moved down is when I bake a turkey because it won't fit any other way.

    That's such a sweet story about your son. :)

    Nice! Thanks for letting me know how much you liked it.

  32. WC,

    Saw some chicken legs on sale so tried this recipe finally after having a terrific meal of it during my last trip to Vietnam. Turned out quite delicious though I had doubled the sauce because I had more chicken and I think it made it too runny. The "rub" didn't stick on the chicken as well and wasn't a nice caramel-y colour like your photo. Made it with the tomato rice but was not a fan - I think it tasted too much like tomato paste for my liking (even with just half a tin). I think next time I will make it with your yummy Com Chien Toi Trung.

  33. Linda,
    Sometimes, you just have to cook it a bit longer to thicken the sauce. Yeah, I think you have to like tomato paste to like tomato paste rice. :P

  34. I got to tell you I'm the worst cook ever. I made bake chicken once that was so tough my husband chewed for a good while. Lol.. And I love Vietnamese home cool food but since moved away from home so no food for me. I stumbled across your blog and decided to try this recipe. Oh.. My.. God.. I can eat my own cooking. I didn't use 5 spices powder and cumin because I didn't have time to run to the Vietnamese market and there was a big storm coming. But it came out so good. My American husband also ate some. And he is picky. He's the cook of the family. I think I added too much fish sauce though because it was a little salty. No biggie.. All I need is some veggie on the side.

    Thank you for the blog. I'm excited to try others.

  35. Angry Little Me,
    Aww. I love getting compliments like yours. Nothing makes me feel happier than hearing from someone who wasn't much of a cook, but then they get success making my recipes. I hope you try more.

  36. You're right, that's the family recipe I've seen for it. However, we use orange soda in place of coconut soda/juice since that tends to over sweeten if.


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