I’ve always loved the flavors of Thai food. They are reminiscent of Chinese and Indian, yet entirely unique to itself. Years ago, I dabbled in making Thai food at home, but that was many moons ago.
This week’s recipe for Cook the Book Fridays Sweet Chili Chicken Thighs from Everyday Dorie is hardly authentic Thai food, but the main ingredient in the sauce is the sweet-sticky dip that comes with fried Thai spring rolls.
The chicken is quick enough to pull together for a weeknight meal, prepared in a single pot. First, onions, garlic, and ginger are lightly sautéed until soft, but not browned. The aromatics are finished in some white wine which is cooked until it almost evaporates.
Now, in the only fussy part of the recipe, the onion mixture gets transferred to a bowl while you brown the chicken. And in another fussy part — which I skipped – you are supposed to wash out the pot if there are any browned bits stuck to the bottom after browning the chicken. Browned bits always stick to the pot. Without understanding why that would make any difference, I just kept going with the recipe and didn’t notice any adverse effect.
After the chicken is browned, the onions get added back along with chili sauce, soy sauce, Dijon mustard, and Sriracha and the mixture simmers, mostly unattended, until the chicken is done. In my case, with the occasional basting, this took only 20 minutes.
The chicken is served garnished with sliced scallions, and if you want some added heat, red pepper flakes.
I took the Thai inspiration to heart when deciding on side dishes. I cooked only 4 thighs but kept the other ingredients the same. Jasmine rice seemed like a natural accompaniment, both for flavor and an edible sponge for the extra sauce.
My favorite part of the meal were the roasted vegetables I made. I roasted an assortment of diced root vegetables – carrots, sweet potato, parsnips, and red onion – until tender and browned. While the vegetables cooked, I simmered a red curry sauce made from coconut milk, red curry paste, fish sauce, and a spoonful of brown sugar I thought the sauce would thicken more, but because it didn’t, just before serving, I tossed the vegetables in just enough sauce to coat but not pool in the bowl. Yum!
This turned out to be an easy weeknight meal with some flavors from somewhere else to transport you out of your routine for an hour or so.