June 22, 2011

Mango Chili Chicken

This was one of the best dishes so far out of Cook This, Not That!, which I reviewed on my other blog at the end of last year. It has earned its way onto rotation, in fact. I've tweaked a few things: added garlic, changed the cooking order - no one wants overcooked peas, and even moments count.

This comes together pretty fast, so set the rice to cook before you get started. Alternatively, you could also serve this over flat, wide rice noodles, in which case simply get a pot of water on the boil so that you can quickly cook the noodles once the dish is ready.

Mango Chile Chicken

Serves 4
Total Prep and Cooking Time: 20 minutes

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 Ataulfo mango, peeled and diced
1 inch fresh ginger
1 tablespoon sambal oelek
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 medium red onion (sliced or diced, as you prefer)
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
2 to 3 cups sugar snap peas
2 garlic cloves

Combine soy sauce, sesame oil and cornstarch in a medium mixing bowl, and stir until smooth. Trim any fat from the chicken, and cut into large chunks - usually two to three pieces per thigh. Add the chicken to the soy mixture, stir well, and allow it to rest while you prepare the vegetables.

Peel and dice the mango, and set aside. Chop the onion and the ginger, and clean the snap peas. Dry the snap peas thoroughly, and remove their strings and tails. Leave the pods whole, or cut in half on a steep angle.

In a large, non-stick skillet, heat the olive oil over high heat. Add half of the chicken to the pan in a single layer. Let cook without moving the pieces for 30 seconds, then add the remaining chicken in the spaces around the first pieces. Allow to cook for a further 30 seconds undisturbed, then stir through. Let cook undisturbed again another 30 seconds to a minute, depending on the size of the pieces. If there is any marinade left in the bowl, throw it into the pan now.

Add the dry pea pods and stir fry for a minute or two. Push the chicken and peas to the sides of the pan, and add the onion, ginger and garlic to the middle Stir fry the onions briefly, then stir throughout the chicken pieces, and continue to stir fry until the onion starts to become translucent (a couple of minutes). Add a splash of water if it starts sticking (at any time). Add the diced mango and the sambal oelek, and stir just until the mango is warmed through. Serve over rice.

If you happen to have a few of those feisty little Thai chiles, you can add a minced chile to the initial sesame-soy marinade, too. Or, you could slice one into a pretty star shape and let it curl up attractively in a bowl of cold water and use it as a garnish. Hey, I'm just sayin'.

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