One of Jeffri’s Specialties
I don’t know about you but sometimes I draw a blank on what to cook. When this happens, I usually try to get inspired by searching recipes online. But on that one particular day last month, I really had nothing. Nada. So I asked Jeff if he had any ideas. He paused for a while and said, “Chicken in Sweet and Spicy Sauce!” Aha! You see, as one of Jeffri’s specialties, Chicken in Sweet and Spicy Sauce dish doesn’t disappoint. Both of us realized that we had not done this dish in a while. Strangely enough, as soon as he came up with it, I also thought of a dish I had not made in a long time: my Spiced Up, Steamed, and Broiled Tilapia. Funny how some of these cooking ideas seem to be hidden in our memories and that once one pops out another one follows. That’s why I need this blog: to document the many recipes we like.
Anyway, here’s how Jeffri prepares his Chicken in Sweet and Spicy Sauce.
- 5 boneless and skinless chicken thighs
- 2 red bell peppers (slice to thin strips)
- 3-4 hot finger peppers (chop into short cuts, we include the seeds)
- ½ of sweet onion (slice to thin strips)
- Black pepper
- Chili powder
- 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon of canola oil
- 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon of ground ginger
- A pinch of ground turmeric
- Place chicken thighs in a medium pot. Fill with water enough to cover the chicken. Add salt, black pepper, and garlic. Bring to boil, reduce the heat, and cook for another 15 minutes (or until the chicken is cooked).
- Set aside once chicken thighs are cooked, let them cool down.
- Dice the chicken and keep the poaching liquid.
- In a different pan (large), heat up canola oil.
- Add slices of bell peppers and onion. Cook until they wilt.
- Add the diced chicken, chili powder, ginger powder, coriander, turmeric and two cups of the poaching liquid into the the pan.
- Add one or two tablespoon of sweet soy sauce (if you don’t have sweet soy sauce, substitute with one tablespoon of honey and a teaspoon of low sodium soy sauce) – or to taste. Please taste periodically to achieve that sweet and spicy balance that is just right for your preference. Now the liquid, spices, and soy sauce (or honey) will blend into the sweet and spicy sauce.
- Mix everything together until the chicken is well coated with the sauce.
- Cover the pan with a lid over low heat, and reduce by half.
- Best served over white jasmine rice.
Serve 2 generously
You could also use skin-on chicken for this dish if you prefer to have crispier texture. Here’s the alternative route:
- After poaching, deep fry the chicken over high heat until it becomes golden brown.
- Prepare the sauce using the same step mentioned.
- Mix the fried chicken and the sauce
A good friend of mine once mentioned that she didn’t like vegetables… any vegetables. Then I found out that this dear friend had what I’d call: a plain-steamed-canned-vegetables “trauma”. ¡Ay! I’d also suffer such a negative association if I had been exposed to such boring and processed vegetables only. Thankfully, now, with the help of her husband my friend has been more open to trying vegetable dishes. Much to her surprise she found a lot to like!
I enjoy vegetables very much. I cook them as a side dish to pair with my meat or fish entrée all the time. One super easy and simple recipe that I enjoy is this chunky vegetable soup. I’d serve the soup alongside my more complex dish: braised and broiled chicken. The vegetable soup’s simplicity, wonderful flavor and texture, and warmth complete a great homemade lunch or dinner especially during these colder months.
Here’s how I do it:
- Heat up a tablespoon of canola oil in a small pot
- Finely chop a half of sweet onion
- Brown the onion and a teaspoon of minced garlic in the small pot
- Add 3-4 cups of chicken stock, bring to boil (My important ingredient in vegetable dish recipes)
- Chop two carrots and half of cauliflower into big chunks. (Add more crunchy vegetables like green beans, celery, or broccoli if you like. Feel free to adjust the cut size to your preference too.) Avoid overcrowding the pot.
- Add salt and pepper to taste
- For great aroma, add a pinch of nutmeg powder (Really, just a tiny pinch. You want to avoid overpowering the soup with nutmeg’s poignant aroma.)
- Once the chicken stock starts bubbling then the vegetables can swim in it until they are fork tender. Cover with a lid.
- Turn of the heat and let the soup cool down before serving. That way the vegetables have more time to absorb the chicken stock flavor.
There are many ways to transform different vegetables into delicious dishes. Most require little effort and creativity. You’d be pleasantly surprised. Enjoy!
More vegetable dish recipes:
Spinach and Corn Soup
Kale Braised in Coconut Milk
Caramelized Brussel Sprouts
Have a favorite vegetable dish? Please share! Would love to learn more delicious vegetable recipes.
I think Brussels sprouts are cute. They are also delicious when cooked and spiced well. I like to have them as a side dish to my grilled fish and baked potato plate. Trust me and try it.
Brussels sprouts were another type of vegetable that I used to be curious about. I never tried them until recent years. They looked like tiny cabbages but I was clueless about their taste. I would see them at the grocery store and wonder about ways to prepare and enjoy them. Also, I did not remember to have this vegetable when I was growing up in Indonesia. So, by chance, a friend told me that she was not crazy at all about this vegetable due to its strong taste. I asked her how she prepared them and she said, “Well, I just steamed and ate them plain.” Aha! This confirmed what I’ve always believed about strong-tasting green vegetables: they are more delicious and enjoyable when spiced up well.
I did some recipe search on these little fresh and green vegetable and found a few that focused on caramelizing. After a couple of tries I felt like I got a version that fit my taste preference (and Jeff’s!).
- 8-10 Brussels sprouts cut in half
- 2 Shallots chopped into little pieces
- 1 Cup of chicken (or vegetable) stock
- Salt and pepper
- 1 Tablespoon of canola oil
- Heat up a pan and add the oil
- Saute the shallots until they turn yellow
- Throw in the Brussels sprouts and let them brown together with the shallots
- Add chicken stock (you can also add chopped baby carrots if you want more colors in this dish)
- Reduce the heat, cover the pan with a lid, and cook for 10 minutes or until the stock gets absorbed by the sprouts.
- Add salt and pepper
The chicken stock takes away the vegetable’s strong taste while the shallots provides natural sweetness and appetizing aroma to the sprouts. The vegetable’s crunchy texture definitely complements a grilled fish plate well. Add either baked/mashed potato or mac and cheese as another side and you get a fantastic combo.