August 15, 2008

20 minute-Chicken and noodles

It has been a crazy week as I am sure you all can relate to. I have my first night off tomorrow and I am hoping Nic has gone to the store and bought a few juicy steaks.... The one night last week when I was home it needed to be a quick meal as Nic and I had Net flicks to catch up on. The day began with a call from a friend inviting Nic and Max to a Cubs game- excellent! While Alex and I hung out with some other friends at the Lincoln Park Zoo. A great day was had by all but due to the sun shining, running around and lots of walking the boys were exhausted. I was begged for mac and cheese at 5 pm and then bed- OK!
 This left the night open to a chili filled meal for Nic and I. Nic actually recorded me making the meal thinking I was more computer savvy than I actually am. I have been trying to connect it to the blog for the past 4 days but have now given up hence the photos. I need to go back to the drawing board with video!
Anyhow, the meal was very, very quick and would easily work if the kids were awake. I'd just omit the chilies in the mortar and add them to our meal just before serving. With stir frying you need to cut EVERYTHING before you start so it really is quick. As the photo above shows you, I put all the 'power flavors' in together so they can meld and bounce off each other. You add them toward the end of the meal so you can get the intense flavour through out your meal.
I also use green vegetables because they cook really fast, have the 'crunch' factor, great at absorbing other flavors like fish sauce, ginger etc and last but not least- they look wonderful.

Firstly I put on a pot of water, bring it to the boil and cooked thick rice noodles. I left them sitting in the water while I cooked the rest of the meal, as it would only take a few minutes to prepare (seriously, the cooking time was 8 minutes!) Once the asparagus, choy sum and onions were cut I put them to one side, then I cut the chicken breast into thin strips. Just before getting started I put a piece of ginger, couple of garlic cloves, birds eye chilies, fish sauce and lime juice into the mortar and pestle and start pounding. Everything is bruised and smashed releasing the flavors and making a quick sauce for the dish. Leaving it off to the side I roughly chop up some cilantro to finish the dish.
Right ready to go, heat wok until smoking hot, add 1 Tb veg oil to sear chicken. I throw in the onion with chicken because I love the flavor of them combined. Once the meat is seared add the veggies, give a bit of a toss with a squirt of fish sauce then put the lid on to 'steam' the veg for 1 minute. Once that is done add the 'powerhouse' flavors, toss through, add rice noodles along with some of the water they are sitting in to help create a sauce.
When everything is well combined switch off the heat, toss in the cilantro and finish with Kecap Manis (a Indonesian sweet soy sauce). The meal was a hit, we got to watch 2 hours of 'The Wire' and eat a delicious meal. Sometimes the fastest things really are best- I'll be making this one again with the boys.

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