Friday, August 6, 2010

Chicken with Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

Thai sweet chili sauce is one of my husband's favorite sauces. It's sweet, slightly sour, garlicky and has just a tiny hint of heat. He liked it so much that he made a dish with it - Chicken with Thai Sweet Chili Sauce. This was his dish until I took over and made it my own. I make it at least a couple of times a month - it's that easy. Pretty much all the time is spent on prepping, as the cooking happens very fast. Dinner can be on the table in way less an hour.

I used to make this dish with chicken cubes like my husband did, but I found the texture to be too tough when met by the high heat of the wok, so I switched to using chicken slices. If you slice the chicken on the bias and against the grain, it's easier to chew. It also takes less time to cook. Another thing I did differently than my husband was to thicken the sauce using the classic Chinese combination of water and a little bit of corn starch. The last thing I did differently was to add scallions for a bit of bite.

Chicken with Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
Serves 2

1 large chicken breast, sliced thin on the bias
1 large red bell pepper, cut into strips
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 scallion, cut into 2 inch pieces
2 1/2 to 3 tbs Thai sweet chili sauce (we have the brand with the chicken on the packaging)
big handful of basil (Thai, preferably, but sweet basil will also do)
1/4 tsp cornstarch, mixed with 2 tsp water
2 tsp water
vegetable oil
salt & pepper to taste

Season the chicken slices with salt and pepper. In a hot wok with oil over medium-high heat, saute the chicken in batches until it's no longer pink but not completely cooked through. Set the chicken aside in a bowl. Add peppers to the wok and saute until slightly soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute.

Add the chicken back to the wok, followed by the Thai sweet chili sauce. Add the scallions and saute until soft. Add about 2 teaspoons water and toss. Make a well in the bottom of the wok and add the cornstarch mixture. Mix the cornstarch mixture with any liquid in the bottom of the wok. Toss until the liquid is evenly distributed with the chicken and peppers. Finish by adding the basil leaves. Turn off heat. Viola! Dinner is served.

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