This ticks all the right boxes for me. Fiery heat from the deceptive little Thai red chilli; aromatic depths of ginger matchsticks and little swirled circles of lemongrass; the pungent smell of Bangkok’s food markets from the garlic and fish sauce; all livened up with coriander and a squeeze of super-sour lime juice. A lip-smackingly fresh dinner if ever there was one.
I wouldn’t claim this stir-fry is Thai as the Thais aren’t really known for this type of cooking – most stir-fries in UK restaurants are versions of Chinese recipes – but it does draw heavily on Thai flavours and the holy trinity of hot, salt, sour.
I chose chicken thighs as I prefer dark meat to light and they stay much more juicy; breast can often end up ropey and dry. Thighs are great, much more tasty and cheaper than breast they cook almost as quickly when boned out. But the real joy in a recipe like this is that, cut into bite-size pieces, they end up chewy and crispy on the outside with dense, juicy insides. Heaven.
You can prepare them in a more Chinese fashion by dropping them into cornflour before frying, but I prefer them straight up. Brown rice makes a great accompaniment, and leaves you feeling extra healthy. Ice cream for pudding then…
Hot and sour stir-fry
Ingredients (Serves 2)
- 4 chicken thighs
- 2 stalks lemongrass
- 1 small red chilli
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 thumb size piece of ginger
- 1 red onion
- 1 lime
- 1 inch coriander stalks
- An optional sprinkling of coriander
- An optional sprinkling of crushed peanuts
- 2 tbs groundnut oil
Get your butcher to bone out the thighs for you. Cut them into 2cm-ish pieces.
Set a wok or frying pan over a high flame. When it’s really hot add oil and chicken. Stir, but let ingredients colour in places. While it’s cooking, prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Slice onion and garlic quite thinly, chop and deseed chilli and cut ginger into matchsticks. When chicken is golden brown, a matter of some ten or 15 minutes, add garlic, chilli, ginger, onion and coriander stalks. Cook for a few minutes, stirring often.
Once onion softens slightly, squeeze over lime juice, scatter in some coriander and the peanuts and serve. I’d eat this with a pile of brown rice, but it’s equally good with basmati rice or noodles.