Monday, June 30, 2014

Homemade Thai Takeout. Better, Faster, Cheaper.



Sure, it may not be purely authentic Thai cuisine, but this Thai Chicken and Pepper Stir-Fry is a dead ringer in flavor and heat for the ubiquitous takeout menu item. Only better, way better, because it lacks the suffocating sweetness and gooey sauce sloshed about at bogus Thai slop houses.

If you spend just 10 minutes doing your mise en place, this dish will come together in only 5 more. So, read the recipe through once, prep veggies and sauce and let's go!

Heat 2 T. vegetable oil in a large, non-stick skillet or wok over high heat. When the oil is almost smoking add 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast (cut into 1" cubes or long, thin strips) and let sit, undisturbed, for one minute. Now begin to stir-fry quickly while adding 4 cloves of chopped garlic. Cook for just a minute and then add 1 large red onion (thinly sliced), 1 green bell pepper (very thinly sliced), 2-3 small green chilies (chopped coarsely) and about 4 T. ginger (cut into matchstick pieces). Stir fry for a minute before adding 4 T. fish sauce, 2 T. oyster sauce and 3 t. sugar. Again, mix these three ingredients together in a  small bowl before beginning the cooking and Life will be much easier. 

Stir fry just until chicken is cooked through. It won't take long. The veggies should retain a slight bit of crunchiness though none of their raw flavor.

Remove from heat and drop in a handful of fresh Thai basil leaves. Regular basil is fine as well. Sprinkle liberally with cayenne pepper and stir a final time.

Serve hot with rice. Above, Cafe Drake HRV enjoyed our spicy Thai chicken alongside jasmine rice, salad greens, sliced yellow tomatoes and braised kale.

So easy and tasty we've been making this a lot during hot weather and loving the briefest exposure to a hot stove. A vegetarian variation created by Cafe Drake HRV is delightful as well: substitute extra-firm tofu for the chicken, also cut into pieces the same size, approximately 1" cubes. (You MUST use extra-firm tofu for best texture.) Nix the fish sauce for 3 T. soy sauce instead and use vegetarian oyster sauce (available now at all Asian markets).

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