Spicy Chili Chicken

Honestly, no matter how hard I try to eat healthy food, there comes a time (more often than I would like) when I just crave the comfort of something spicy, yummy, finger-licking, lip smacking good, yet come with a not so healthy label. One of those dishes is chili chicken.

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I am sure there are as many variations of the dish as there are cooks and kitchens. So, this recipe is of course an original concocted in my kitchen, and enjoyed my many.

(Disclaimer: I did not intend to really post this recipe, so I did not take too many pictures! Talking about pictures, I need to “grow” some patience to fiddle with the settings on my Galaxy or use an actual camera! One of these days! Anyway, the taste and flavor profile of the dish convinced me to take couple of quick pictures to actually post this recipe!)

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This dish, unlike some other recipes you might have seen online is very straightforward. Ingredients are just chicken, few basic spices, lots of cayenne powder, a splash of apple cider vinegar and a coating of Thai sweet soy sauce. That’s it guys! So, you ask me what makes this slip from the relatively healthy domain into the not so healthy one…well, it’s kind of the liberal use of oil and cornstarch. You could definitely cut down on the oil and cornstarch or completely eliminate the latter, but the texture will be a bit different. So, I suggest you try the recipe as is the first time and tweak for the subsequent tries – because I know you will want to make it again!

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Spicy Chili Chicken

  • Servings: 4-6
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Ingredients:
8 chicken thighs, bone in (you can use boneless as well)
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 tablespoons ground cayenne (or to taste)
1 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
6 cloves of garlic, minced or grated finely
4-6 Thai chili peppers or other spicy pepper like jalapeno, sliced lengthwise
1 sprig of curry leaves (if available)
3 tablespoons canola or other light flavored oil
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 – 2 tablespoons sweet Thai soy sauce

Preparation:
1. Remove skin of the chicken, and cut into 4 or 5 pieces. Place in a large bowl.
2. Add all spices, through garlic to the chicken and mix thoroughly to coat. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes.
3. Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan. To this, add the chili and curry leaves, if using. Toss in oil for few seconds.
4. Add the chicken, mix well, cover and cook under high heat for 15 minutes, turning the chicken pieces occasionally.
5. Sprinkle the cornstarch. Mix well to coat.
6. Cover the pan and continue to cook for another 15 minutes, turning occasionally. By now, the chicken pieces will be cooked all the way through and there will not be any liquid remaining. If there is some liquid remaining, remove lid, reduce heat and continue to cook till the all liquid evaporates.
7. Add the soy sauce and toss well. Cook for another 2 minutes.

The chicken can be served as an appetizer (a welcome change from chicken wings) or with steamed rice or noodles and veggies for a complete meal. And, oh, the chicken tastes great cold too.

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Pad Thai Style Asian Noodles

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Pad Thai is probably the most common Thai dish enjoyed in North America! It is a dish that offers a perfect balance of flavors. One down side is that if you prefer spicy food, this probably won’t be your top choice at a Thai restaurant. I prefer Pad See Ew or other spicy options when we dine at Thai restaurants, but occasionally I do enjoy the delicate flavors of Pad Thai.

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This recipe is inspired by traditional Pad Thai. I say inspired because it uses different blend of sauces/seasoning and vegetables. Served with a side of crispy cucumbers, red onions and jalapeno in a sweet and sour dressing, this noodle will taste light and refreshing.

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Pad Thai Style Asian Noodles

  • Servings: 4
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Ingredients 8 oz wide rice noodles
2 tablespoons oil
2 cups of shredded napa cabbage
1 large carrot, shredded
3 green onions, chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 inch piece of ginger, minced
½ lb medium uncooked shrimp or boneless, skinless chicken, cut into bite size pieces
1 tablespoon corn starch

Sauce for the noodles 3 tablespoons sweet dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 dime sized ball of tamarind pulp dissolved in ¼ cup warm water
1 clove of garlic, minced,
¼ inch piece of ginger, minced
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 green onion, minced

Garnish
1 lime quartered
¼ cup toasted peanuts, crushed

Preparation
1. Bring a pot of water to boil and cook noodles according to instructions. Drain and set aside.
2. Prepare the sauce for the noodles by combining all the ingredients and simmering under low heat for 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. In a large skillet or wok, heat one tablespoon of oil under high heat. Stir fry shrimp (or chicken) coated in cornstarch till cooked through. Remove to a plate and set aside till later.
4. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the wok and add ginger and garlic, followed by all vegetables. Stir fry the vegetables for about 3-5 minutes.
5. Add the cooked shrimp or chicken and follow with the sauce. Mix well.
6. Add the cooked noodles and gently toss to combine.
7. Serve immediately with a wedge of lime, a generous sprinkling of peanuts and a crisp cucumber salad!