Sunday, July 21, 2013

Chicken in Thai Peanut Sauce

Or is 3 little red Thai Chili enough?
Well it took forever and a day to happen but we actually got our own Asian market.  The Hong Kong Supermarket opened to little fanfare in my corner of the San Gabriel Valley.  Wish they had a party as I would have been there earlier.  Great little place, full of all sorts of Asian ingredients that I had to drive half an hour or more for in the past. its just minutes from my house.

This recipe is based, loosely on a couple I've made or tried before.  The ingredients aren't entirely Thai, but are Asian in nature and go together very well.  Quite tasty even.  I'm sure the combo of ingredients has some Asian grandmother somewhere turning in her grave, but they work.

Substitutions.  If you aren't blessed with an Asian Market most of the ingredients can be found fairly easy in the Asian Section of your local groc.  The exception has always been the fresh produce and such that I needed to trek to neighboring communities to find the goodies.

Thai Red Chili were the bane of my existence for several years now.  Never could find the silly little things. A good substitution is a RED jalapeno. Its not quite as hot, nor as sweet as the Thai Chili but it makes a reasonable facsimile.

Beech mushrooms are another hard one to find.  They are very mild in flavor. They have round tops and long bean sprout looking stems.  Cut off the root end about 1/4" up the stem and you are good to go.  If you can't find them a thinly sliced oyster mushroom is a good work around.

Lastly this recipe is nearly vegan, all you need to do is swap out extra firm tofu for the diced chicken and you are set for Meatless Monday.

Chicken in Thai Peanut Sauce

  • 3/4-1 lb chicken breast, diced
  • 2T soy sauce
  • 1T fish sauce
  • 1 T grated fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 Red Thai Chili minced
  • 2 bunches green onion, sliced
  • 1 can sliced water chestnut
  • 8oz Beech mushroom - cleaned and trimmed
  • 1/2 c Peanut Butter (creamy)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 T Mirin or Seasoned Rice Vinegar
  • 8 oz chow mein noodles cooked according to package direction
  • Dry roasted peanuts

Combine chicken, soy, fish sauce, ginger and garlic.  Toss to combine.  Cover in non-reactive bowl and marinate in fridge for at least an hour.

(reserve 1 cup sliced green onion top for garnish)

Heat a wok over medium high heat, add enough oil to cover the bottom.  Strain chicken, reserve marinade.

Add chicken and cook until opaque.  Add onions and chili and stir fry until onions are wilted, approx 2-3 minutes.  Add mushroom and cook until wilted about 2-3 minutes longer. Add reserved marinade and stir to dissolve.

Add peanut butter, coconut milk and mirin.  Stir until peanut butter is dissolved.  Cook over low heat and simmer 5 minutes.  Watch closely and add water as needed to keep the sauce the consistency of cream.  Stir in cooked chow mein noodles.  Serve hot with peanuts and reserved green onion tops as garnish.

In answer to the not so rhetorical question at the beginning of this post, Yes, 3 red Thai Chilis are enough.  2 would be too weak, and 4 too much.  Of course if you don't mind your tonsils being incinerated go for 4 or more.

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