Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Go-To Chicken Stir Fry with Coconut Rice

We eat this a lot. That's why I call it a 'go-to' recipe. It's quick, packs a lot of flavour into a relatively simple dish and there's not much washing up after. Fast food indeed. You can change-up the meat and vegetables depending on what you have handy but the sauce is a winner every time. So much better than a take-away. 

For 2 greedy people:

2 chicken breasts, sliced into strips (or any meat of your choice, beef strips would work just as well)
2 cups chopped vegetables - I used a large carrot, a handful of sugar snap peas and small bunch of asparagus
Handful of cashews, roughly chopped
1 cup basmati rice
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup boiling water
Sesame seeds for sprinkling

For the sauce:

2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp rice wine
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 red chilli, finely chopped
Clove of garlic, minced
Thumb-sized chunk of ginger, grated (freeze beforehand for easy grating)
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp peanut butter

First get the rice going. Now. I have a confession. I have always cooked rice in the microwave. Some people would be shocked and appalled at this, but frankly I think it's the best way. If you follow the general rule of 1 part rice to 1.5 parts boiling water, you can't really go wrong. When cooking rice with coconut milk you need a little bit more liquid, so it becomes 1 part rice, 1 part coconut milk, 1 part boiling water. A little tip to keep your rice from going claggy: put rice in a microwavable bowl and stir in 1 tsp of oil (I used sunflower) until every grain is coated and cook in the microwave for 30 seconds. Don't ask me why this works but it does. Then you add boiling water and coconut milk and microwave without a lid for 10 minutes. The more fatty part of coconut milk will have risen to the top. You can scrape it off if you want but I just fluff it in with a fork. It will be quite sticky and very fragrant. 

While your rice is cooking, put the sliced chicken in a bowl with sesame oil, soy sauce, fish sauce, rice wine, rice wine vinegar, chilli, minced garlic, grated ginger and honey. Stir to cover all the chicken pieces.

In a hot pan, toss the chopped cashews for a minute or two until fragrant - careful not to let them burn because they get very bitter. With a tiny dash of oil add the vegetables and stir fry for 2 minutes. Add the chicken and stir fry on a high heat, stirring constantly, for 4-5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. In the last minute stir in 1 tbsp peanut butter (sounds weird, but trust me it's good) and a tbsp or two of water to loosen. Serve with rice and a sprinkling of sesame seeds.  

Really, if you're a speedy chopper, this dish shouldn't take much longer than it takes your rice to cook. I have it down to an art - on the table in 13 minutes flat. Fast food indeed.


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