Talking about dishes from silkie, most people would think of the “silkie steamed with Chinese herbs”, a dish which is not only delicious but also highly nutritional.

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But if you have a chance to visit Ben Tre Province in the Mekong Delta, you should try a dish of silkie steamed with coconut juice and chili.

Vo Chieu Kha, director of Mai An Tiem restaurant in My Thanh An Commune in the province’s Ben Tre City, said: “Ben Tre is known for coconuts while silkies are raised right in the garden or farm around the province. That makes us ask why we don’t combine them together to create a new dish for gourmets.”

In order to make a good dish of silkie steamed with coconut juice, the ingredients must be chosen very carefully, Kha said.

The coconut should not be too old or too young because the young one has sour juice while juice in the old one usually tastes too pungent. The same way is applied for choosing silkie: the small black chicken should be grown up enough and weigh around 300 grams because the meat of young chicken is too soft and that of old chicken is too tough, he explained.

After being processed, the chicken will be put into a coconut, of which its top is removed and the removed part is kept for use as the lid, along with chilies and spices.

The whole coconut will be cooked in a bain-marie for around one hour.

When the dish is almost done, the smell is fantastic. The chicken is sweet, soft and greasy thanks to coconut while the chili helps stimulate appetite. The dish tastes much better when it is used with salt, black pepper and lime or kumquat juice.

SGT