When anything bubbles, it gets exciting…even when you’re making chicken!

Chicken / August 26, 2015

As I was watching my entree cook in the oven, I was beginning to question the look of it. Too monochromatic; too flat. I had spent so much time thinking about how it would all come together and I hate when reality doesn’t match imagination…..Hmmm. — Wait! I know! I will char that sugar and make it nice and crusty. And it worked.

***
And so it is with most things in our life. Add a little fire and it gets exciting pretty quickly. Chicken is no exception. And I got fired up about this recipe when I saw how great it turned out, so I knew it deserved a place on the blog.

The dish you see here is a conglomerate of leftovers, (My specialty, really.) and made good use of stuff that would otherwise have died in the dark corners of my fridge. I shall leave out the mundane, like why I made chicken instead of, say, eel. So, let’s just begin at the fun moment, the prep, and go from there.

1. Leftover chicken. One intact breast, one cut into pieces. Solution: cut the other one to match and use 3 inch cubes. That was easy.

2. Leftover bean sprouts. Crunchy or cooked? Garnish or integral ingredient? Camouflage or flaunt? — Cooked, integral, camouflaged. DONE! Okay…

3. Leftover rice. Seriously, just leftover rice goes in everything so easily, but I still pondered on it for a short moment. Every ingredient deserves pondering.

4. Leftover Garlic. Four little petal cloves remaining in fridge; languishing as the last loved pods of a ravished whole clove. Yeah, gotta add lots of garlic.

5. Sweet Thai chili sauce. Aw! So sad! Only a tiny bit left in the bottle. Sure, come to the party, too!

What will bring it all together? SUGAR!

And away I went, mixing, tasting, tossing, baking, frying. Yeah, the party in my mouth was not a disappointment.


Brown sugar, garlic, sweet Thai chili sauce and a splash of fish sauce. Now mix it and rub over the oiled and seasons chicken breasts and place in a baking dish.
First, I patted the breasts dry. Then rubbed with a little oil and sprinkled salt and pepper on them. Then the sauce above was mixed and I hand rubbed it all over the chicken. Oh how I love when those little garlic bits wave hello in the sauce! YUM.
I’m so making this again and using it as a base for a lot of fried rice dishes. Oil, then add the bean sprouts and rice, and then peanuts and soy sauce. That’s the stage you see here. Then I added some lime juice, and a beaten egg, and then finished with cilantro. A very spicy mango, Sriracha glaze over the top finished it perfectly!

Turning the broiler on high for the last 2 minutes or so was the kicker. Look at that gorg caramelization! And see the bubble line around the edge? Phew! Removed it from the oven just in time. Otherwise that sugary syrup would have gurgled mercilessly over onto my oven floor. Oh, well. Wouldn’t be the first time….


Brown Sugar Thai Garlic Chicken With Bean Sprout Peanut Fried Rice

Serves 4


Ingredients:

Chicken:

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3 inch chunks
1/3 C packed light brown sugar
¼ C sweet Thai chili sauce (I use the Trader Joe’s brand)
6 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 t fish sauce
½ t Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
2 T canola oil
3 T Sriracha sauce
3 T hot Mango sauce (I use the Ginger People brand)
4 T hoisin sauce
Strips of carrots for garnish


Rice:

1 C cooked white jasmine rice
Two 5 ounce containers Mung bean sprouts
1/3 c chopped salted peanuts
1 T soy sauce
Juice of one lime
Kosher salt to taste
2 T canola oil
2 eggs, beaten
1 C rough chopped fresh cilantro (reserve some for garnish)
Lime wedges for serving


Direction:

  • Pat dry the chicken breasts, then rub with the 2 T oil and place in a large baking dish, just the right size to nest the breast pieces together. Salt and pepper the chicken. In another bowl, mix the brown sugar, fish sauce, garlic, and sweet Thai chili sauce. Then dump it in with the chicken and rub all until it is well blended over all the chicken. Heat an oven to 375 degrees F. Bake chicken, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until chicken is 170 degrees inside. Then, for 2 minutes turn on the broiler and let the sugar caramelize. Watch it, though! The sugary mixture tends to bubble up a bit.
  • While the chicken is cooking, heat a large saucepan over high heat then add the 2 T oil. Add the bean sprouts and the white rice and stir for about 2 minutes. Then add the peanuts, and continue to stir for about a minute. Add the soy sauce and reduce heat. When that is blended in, add the two beaten eggs and immediately keep stirring them in so they cook in chunks throughout the mixture. You can cover and keep warm if rice gets done before chicken. Right before serving add most of the cilantro and stir to wilt.
  • To plate, put a smear of hoisin sauce on the plate. Then arrange a mound of the bean/rice mixture next to it. Place chicken atop that. Top with peeled strips of carrots, a lime wedge, more cilantro, and then the blended Sriracha/Mango sauces should be dabbled over the top.


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