Monday, August 13, 2007

Basil Pad Thai (sort of)

It's been so bloody hot here. Hot and humid, which means no one feels like doing anything, and that includes cooking; but since it's a weekend, I figured I'd make take a stab at making something stir fry-ish. A friend recently shared a recipe for Thai chicken, which I very much wanted to try; however, since we don't usually have things like fish sauce or fresh ginger in the house, I usually end up making a lot of substitutions. Fortunately, it almost always works out. So, thanks, Tae-bean, for sharing your friend's recipe. Here's my bastardized version. I did most of the chopping and mincing this morning and let things lurk in the fridge until it came time to make dinner.

2 T macadamia nut oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced or mooshed
1/2 large onion
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 small zucchini, diced
1 can sliced water chestnuts
1/2 package matchstick carrots (unless you happen to feel like messing with a bunch of carrots)
1 package boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 T soy sauce
1 tsp ground cumin
3 or 4 small sprigs of lemon basil
1 package pad thai noodles
1.5 T ponzu or soy sauce
1 T orange curacao
1/2 tsp cornstarch

Cut the chicken breasts into bitesized pieces and toss with the 3 tablespoons of soysauce; let it rest in the fridge for a few hours, or until you're ready to cook. Dice the zuchinni and green pepper and toss them in a bowl with a pinch of salt; let the veggies rest for a few hours, same as the chicken.
In a wok or other suitably sized pan (gotta love that cute little Le Creuset soup pot), heat the oil and throw in the garlic and cumin. Add the chicken and stir it until the chicken is cooked through. Add a little bit of water and stir some more. Let the chicken steam for a little while with the lid on. Chop the onion and add it to the chicken, and cook it until it's tender but not mushy. In a separate bowl mix the ponzu, orange curacao, and cornstarch; add it to the pot along with the rest of the vegetables and the basil, toss to coat things--this isn't a thick sauce, and it's subtle. Put the lid on the pot and turn off the heat; let the vegetables steam until they're tender, then remove the pot from the burner.
Cook the pad thai according to the instructions on the packet, drain, and rinse, then serve with the chicken and veggies.

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