Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Thai Chicken Pasta

I have made variations of this recipe many times over the years. One such simplified variation I submitted to a magazine cooking contest and won 3rd place! My favorite version is one that comes together quickly on the stove top. I'm sharing that one here, including preparing the chicken. Don't let the long list of ingredients scare you! If you keep cooked, shredded chicken in the freezer, or pick up a rotisserie chicken, it makes the recipe even easier! The flavor is really in the sauce, so if you need another shortcut but you're cooking the chicken, simply season it with salt and pepper. I've made it many times for my own lunch and left out the chicken altogether! The sauce also makes a terrific dip for egg rolls or wontons.

One of the wonderful things about Asian-inspired dishes is the layers of flavor they feature : sweet, spicy, salty, bitter, and sour. This dish does a nice job of incorporating each of those elements.

Thai Chicken Pasta

For the chicken:
2 chicken breasts, cubed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons canola oil 

Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. In a small bowl, mix together the seasonings; sprinkle over the chicken. Add the chicken to the hot skillet and saute for 5-6 minutes, until just cooked through. Remove and keep warm.

For the sauce:
2 green onions, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon ground ginger, or 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated
1 cup chicken broth (or vegetable stock or even water)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional, but it's so good!)

Add the onions, garlic and red pepper flakes to the skillet and saute for about a minute. Add in the remaining ingredients, stirring well to combine. Allow it to simmer for 3-4 minutes, until it thickens slightly. If it gets too thick, just splash in a little more stock or water.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, and cook 8 ounces angel hair pasta according to package directions. Drain and add to the sauce along with the reserved chicken. Mix well; heat through and serve topped with chopped fresh cilantro, shredded cabbage, shredded carrots and/or chopped peanuts. Yield: 4-6 servings

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