Jun 29, 2009

thai chicken san choy bau

Sometimes I can't wait to try new elaborate recipes that have lots of ingredients and many steps to keep one busy in the kitchen for several hours. Other times I want to try something new, but I want it to be quick and easy.

Last week thumbing through Off the Shelf, a cookbook by Donna Hay, I found this recipe, which looked both easy and flavorful. If you've never checked out a Donna Hay book I would highly recommend it. Just looking at the pictures makes your mouth water, and every recipe has a picture, I love that.

Making this chicken also took me back to Thailand where Matt and I took our first trip to Southeast Asia last November. I loved walking through the markets and checking out stalls brimming with vegetables or fresh curries. One day, while in Northern Thailand, we took a cooking class to learn more about traditional cooking. After a trip to a local market with our instructor, the class took our positions at the school to make everything from spring rolls to fresh curry paste using a mortar and pestle. I was amazed at how easy it was to use a few ingredients from the market to pull together wonderfully tasty dishes easy enough for both novice and experienced cooks.

Cooking up this chicken and then adding in a little short grain brown rice a flavorful dinner came together in less than 30 minutes.

Recipe for Thai Chicken San Choy Bau
Adapted from Off the Shelf by Donna Hay

2 red or green chilies, medium dice

1 pound chicken, minced

1 tablespoon peanut oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3 tablespoons soy sauce*

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1/4 cup mint leaves, chopped

baby lettuce leaves**

Fry chilies and minced chicken in peanut oil in a hot frying pan until golden. Add lemon juice and soy sauce and cook for about a minute. Remove from the heat and stir through chopped cilantro and mint. Spoon into baby lettuce leaves and serve.

Short Grain Rice - Cooking via the absorption method: Combine 1 cup short grain rice for every 1 and 1/2 cups water and then for each additional cup of rice add just 1 additional cup of water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 8-10 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed all the water.

Local Ingredients:

Lemon's from the Farmer's Market

Cilantro, mint, and lettuce leaves from our garden

Alison's Notes:

*Because we don't cook fish, Matt is allergic, I try to find substitutes for ingredients that include fish, including fish sauce. This recipe originally called for 2 tablespoons fish sauce and 1 tablespoon soy sauce. However, I substituted in 2 extra tablespoons of soy sauce and took out the fish sauce.

**I used Winter Density lettuce from the garden. I think any lettuce with a nice cup to hold a bit of the chicken mix would work well.

This should serve approximately 4 people for a main dish and with the rice it makes a nice easy meal.

(photography by: alison clayshulte)


MHC said...

Hey Allison--is there a subsitute for cilantro in this dish? Or is it ok just to leave it out w/o tampering with the flavor too much?

Alison said...

My suggestion is to just leave it out, or think about replacing it with some fresh thai basil. Then you'll get a couple different flavors in there. Let me know how it turns out.