Chilli Chicken

IMG_3190Oh my – it’s been aaaaaages since my last post. I think I forgot that I had a blog! How is that possible, you ask? Well, the sambal business is a full-time job – there are sales call to make, cases to deliver, marketing ideas to implement, network connections to develop, plans for new products to make, endless administrative tasks and so on! Then there’s a kid to manage, a household, two cats, and food pics to upload to FB, Twitter, Instagram etc. Ok, ok you got me – it’s all the Facebooking, Instagramming and Tweeting that’s eating up all my time. Guilty. QUICK, LOOK BELOW  – colorful chicken pics!

My good friend and past evil nemesis on CHOPPED (she won!), owner and chef at Philadelphia restaurant Suppa, Chef Georgeann Leaming texted me on Wednesday “Hey girl! I’m doing a fundraising event on Friday here in Philly. I would love to do a Malaysian dish using your sambal that would look nice individually plated. Any ideas for me??” I proposed some sort of tofu stir-fry. “I hate tofu” She’s blunt. “I have boneless chicken thighs, wings, duck breast and ground beef on hand here. Any ideas?” And pushy.

I thought of a dish that I hadn’t made in a while, but that’s a huge favorite of my brother-in-law’s – Chilli Chicken. He had it once at a Malaysian restaurant here in Brooklyn and has been on a quest to find it at every Asian restaurant he goes to now. I texted the recipe to Georgeann and within minutes she was cooking up a test batch in her restaurant kitchen. She sent me pics. “OMG seriously, we just fell in love with chilli chicken!” she texted. Yay, success. So here’s the recipe and some pics to hopefully inspire you to make this dish. Or if you live in Philadelphia, you can just head over to Suppa  and ask Chef G to make you some, you lucky so-and-so! It’s not a dish that I make often at home as I’m not a fan of frying. Don’t get me wrong – I am a fan of fried food. I’m just not a fan of fry-ING. The splattering hot oil, the slick surfaces – clean up is a bitch that I don’t need to encounter on a regular basis.

Chilli Chicken (serves 4)

6 boneless, skinless thighs (or breast meat) – cut into bite-sized pieces

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup all-purpose flour or cornstarch – seasoned with salt and white pepper

oil for frying

6 cloves garlic – minced

1 red onion – diced

1 stalk lemongrass (optional) – finely minced

2 tablespoons Auria’s Malaysian Kitchen Hot Chilli Sambal (or to taste)

And to cut the heat of the sambal, if you need to:

1/2 cup coconut milk

or 1 teaspoon tomato paste

1. In a bowl, mix the cut up chicken, soy sauce and salt. Let this sit for 15 minutes.

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2. Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan. Dredge each piece of chicken in the seasoned flour and deep fry until golden brown, turning once after about two minutes. Remove from the wok and drain on paper towels.

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3. In a fresh wok, heat two tablespoons of oil. Sauté garlic and red onions for one minute.

4. Add the minced lemongrass (if using) and toss to combine.

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5. Add the Hot Chilli Sambal. Here’s where it’s up to you to make a crucial decision. Who are your guests? Do they regularly eat spicy food and love it? Or does the thought of a jalapeño turn their faces beet red? Do you wish you had a face fire extinguisher every time you cook for them? Your answers to these questions will inform your decision on a) How much Sambal to use, and b) Whether or not you will add anything to cut the heat.

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6. If you want to cut the heat a little, use a teaspoon of tomato paste. If you want to cut the heat a lot, use the coconut milk. I sometimes use the tomato paste, and hardly ever use the coconut milk. The coconut milk makes for a great tasting dish, but it’s much too mild for my liking.

7. Return the fried chicken pieces to the wok. Give it all a quick toss and transfer to a serving dish. Try not to let the chicken sit in the wok for more than a minute here or you risk losing the crunchiness of the chicken. Garnish with sliced scallion and cilantro. Serve with hot rice and crisp greens.

8. Take a picture. Upload it to FB, Instagram and Twitter.

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Happy Cooking! – Auria

PS If you’re not already following me on FB, Instagram and Twitter, what is WRONG with you?! I mean, will you please do so? LOL

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