Friday, February 17, 2012

Chicken Laksa

Chicken Laksa is one of our favorite recipes. The great thing about it is that it can be a warm meal in the winter with plenty of coconut broth or very fresh in the summer with less broth and more fresh, crisp vegetables. The flavor is oooooh soooooo good. The broth is definitely what "makes" the dish, so be sure to taste it before you serve it and make sure it's to your liking. Adjust by adding extra coconut milk, soy sauce, or lime zest/juice.

Chicken Laksa
1 garlic clove
1 small onion
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
2 Serrano chiles
1 teaspoon peanut oil*
1/2 teaspoon shrimp paste or anchovy paste
2 chicken breasts
1 package rice noodles
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce (or you can use the "soy" sauce substitute from this blog... get it here)
3/4 cup coconut milk
1 1/4 cups chicken stock
2 limes
1 cup bean sprouts
1 red bell pepper, cut in small strips
2 green onions, sliced length-wise into small strips
1/4 red onion, sliced into small strips

*You can substitute sesame oil for the peanut oil in the cilantro paste.

Make the cilantro paste...
Peel and coarsely chop the garlic and small onion. Place them in a food processor. Pull a handful of cilantro leaves from the bunch and reserve them for later. Add the remainder of the cilantro leaves to the food processor. Halve the chiles, remove seeds, and add chiles to the food processor. Add the peanut oil and shrimp paste. Process to a fine paste. You can add a little extra oil if necessary to form the paste.

Prepare the chicken...
Rinse and dry the chicken breasts. Cut into smaller strips if desired. Add the chicken to a ziplock bag along with half of the cilantro paste. Seal the bag and knead to distribute the paste onto all of the chicken. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours.

Prepare the rice noodles...
Place one package of rice noodles in a large bowl. Pour boiling water over the noodles until they are completely covered. When the noodles begin to soften, cut them into shorter lengths with kitchen scissors. This makes them easier to handle when eating.

simple ingredients for this flavorful broth
Cook chicken & broth...
Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet. Add the chicken and brown on all sides. Add the remaining cilantro paste, soy sauce, coconut milk, and stock. Add the zest and juice of one lime to the skillet. Cook gently for about 10 minutes. Taste broth and adjust flavor to your liking (add soy sauce if it needs to be a bit more salty, add lime juice or zest if it needs more lime flavor, add coconut milk if it is too spicy). You can also increase the stock amount and coconut milk amount to have additional broth for a more "soup-like" dish in the winter.

To serve...
Add some noodles to a bowl. Spoon in some of the chicken and broth (as much as you like). Top with you favorite vegetables such as bean sprouts, snap peas, bell pepper, red and green onion, extra Serrano peppers for spice. Garnish with cilantro. Enjoy!!

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