Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Basil, Chili, and Garlic Chicken/Pork

Until tonight, I hadn't made this dish in a few years, when N was a baby. I had forgotten just how delicious and easy it is.
The recipe calls for chicken breasts diced and browned. The first time I made it, I didn't have any on hand and used ground pork instead. We loved it, and actually prefer it to the chicken. This dish is a great combination of sweet and spicy, and can easily be adjusted to cater to picky tastes. I usually sneak in some chopped fresh spinach, since it resembles the basil and doesn't change much in the way of flavor. I would have done that tonight if my spinach hadn't looked as sad and neglected as it did.
Basil, Chili and Garlic Chicken/Pork
From Every Day with Rachael Ray, February 2007

2 tablespoons fish sauce (I omit this)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
4 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
1/2 pound thin Asian rice noodles or vermicelli pasta (I always serve this over brown rice)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced onion, plus 1 cup finely chopped onion
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped (about 3 tablespoons)
12 oz. ground pork OR 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup torn fresh basil leaves

1. In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup water with the fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar and crushed red pepper. Stir to dissolve the sugar; set aside.

2. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the rice noodles until al dente. Drain and set aside.

3. While the noodles are cooking, heat a wok or large, deep skillet over medium-high heat until hot, about 1 minute. Add 2 tablespoons oil, then the sliced and chopped onion, and garlic. Stir-fry until fragrant and softened but not browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and set aside.

4. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet and heat for about 1 minute. Working in 2 batches if necessary, spread the chicken in a single layer in the pan without crowding and cook, undisturbed, until the edges change color, about 1 minute. Turn and continue cooking, tossing now and then, until lightly browned all over, 2 to 3 minutes. (Alternatively, cook ground pork until fully cooked and no longer pink.) Add the reserved sauce and onion mixture and cook, tossing occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and evenly coated, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Remove the pan from the heat and add the basil, tossing until slightly wilted.
Serve the chicken over the noodles (or the pork over the rice).

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