A few months ago I stumbled across Inquiring Chef. Jessica blogs about her food adventures in Thailand and all her wonderful little trips around Asia. Her photography is amazing (maybe one day I’ll get that good) and recipes delicious. Today I’m lucky enough to have her here to share a recipe that she developed herself. Make her feel very welcome and don’t forget to stop by Inquiring Chef for a little taste of Thailand.

Greetings from Thailand, lovely readers of Claire K Creations! I was thrilled when Claire asked if I would be willing to write a guest post, since her fun and unique recipes (particularly her baked treats) have provided me a good dose of kitchen inspiration over the months. I am an American expat living in Thailand. My husband and I moved to Bangkok a little over a year ago, and although we both work full-time, we take every chance we get to explore our new city and travel. My blog, Inquiring Chef , began as an outlet for exploring Thai cooking, but has evolved to include many other types of dishes that I make at home.

Thailand certainly lives up to its reputation as country with a delicious and diverse cuisine. Exploring the food available here in Bangkok is every bit as surprising as I had hoped it might be. Dishes are prepared in seemingly endless ways and eating out always means you get dinner and a show – “the show” of the Thai cook. In Thai kitchens and at stalls on the street, cooks move on instinct. The intense smells and sounds of a dish coming together in a fiery hot grill or wok never cease to amaze me.

When I first started learning to cook Thai food at home, the hardest thing to teach myself was simply to crank up the heat. The cautious cook in me likes to cook things slowly so that I can check the recipe a few times…just to be sure. That sort of hesitancy just doesn’t work in Thai cooking. I’ve learned to prep everything in advance, set it by the wok, and turn that heat dial up. Once I drizzle oil into the wok or pan and it starts to shimmer, there’s no turning back. Many wok-prepared dishes come together in 5 minutes, and they arrive on the plate sizzling, fragrant, and cooked to perfection. (Not to mention that anyone hovering around the kitchen while you toss ingredients into a steaming hot wok will surely be impressed.)

Although I am still not to the point where I can toss the hot contents of the wok high up into the air with a flick of my wrist, as so many street vendors do, I am learning to love the speed and balance this style of cooking brings to my kitchen. With a handful of basic Thai ingredients and a little creativity, anyone can master the basics of this style of cooking and can recreate many authentic Thai dishes at home.

This Thai-Style Chicken with Fresh Herbs is one that has been on my list to recreate at home for months. It is a dish that I order often at a local spot near my office, and I find myself craving its combination of bright, fresh herbs and crisp bits of pan-fried chicken. The key ingredient is roasted rice powder (also the key ingredient in laab gai), but don’t be intimidated by this one unusual item. Jars or packets of roasted rice powder are available in Asian markets outside of Thailand, and it is even quite simple to make yourself (see directions below).

For a taste of my favorite lunch here in Bangkok, make yourself a plate of this Thai-Style Chicken with Fresh Herbs and serve it with a bit of rice and a fried egg. Close your eyes and pretend you are in Thailand, sitting at a wobbly table under palm trees and bright blue sky.

Or better yet, come see it for yourself – even after 14 months, I am discovering something new every day.


Thai style chicken with fresh herbs - a guest post from the Inquiring Chef

Thai style chicken with fresh herbs - a guest post from the Inquiring Chef

Yield: 2

Inspired by "Laab Gai Tawt" at Luk Khao Niao Restaurant in Bangkok

Ingredients

For the sauce:

  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • juice squeezed from 1 small lime (about 1 Tablespoon of juice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon siracha (more or less, to taste)
  • pinch of sugar (scant 1/8 teaspoon)

For the chicken:

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon roasted rice powder
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 14 oz/400 grams total), chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 green onions, finely sliced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 large bunch cilantro, roughly chopped (about 1/3 cup)

For serving (optional):

  • 2 fried eggs
  • 1 cup cooked white rice

Instructions

  1. Prepare the sauce by whisking together the soy sauce, lime juice, fish sauce, siracha, and sugar. Set aside.
  2. Place a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. While the skillet heats up, combine the flour and roasted rice powder in a large bowl. Add the chicken and toss to coat the pieces evenly.
  3. Pour the vegetable oil into the wok. (The oil should shimmer when it hits the pan - if it doesn't, turn the heat up a bit.) Working quickly, add the chicken to the hot wok (be careful as the oil may splatter a bit). Stir the chicken to break apart the pieces and to allow it to cook evenly. When the chicken is golden brown and cooked through, remove the pan from the heat. Add green onions and cilantro, tossing gently to combine. Drizzle with the reserved sauce, tossing again to coat the dish.
  4. Serve immediately, with a fried egg and steamed rice.

Notes

Note: Roasted rice powder is available at many Asian markets in a small jar or packet. It can also be easily made by gently toasting plain rice (for this recipe you will need to toast about 2 Tablespoons of rice) in a dry skillet over low-medium heat until the rice becomes fragrant and lightly golden, 7-8 minutes. After the rice cools, grind it into a powder using a clean coffee grinder or a mortar and pestle.

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