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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Spicy Peanut Chicken Stirfry (Noodlebox Knock-off)

The Noodle Box is a very popular Victoria stirfry joint that has really caught on here in Vancouver after opening last fall. GayBoy was a big fan of the original as was a guy I went out with last year, so I decided to try it a couple of months ago on a total whim, even though most so-called Asian food strikes me as greasy and monosyllabic...

...And I loved it. It's not greasy, not too heavy, and pretty vibrant stuff. The spicy peanut they serve has me addicted, and I wanted to try recreating it at home because if THAT was what authentic, healthier Asian food was like, then I wanna be learning some of those tricks. So, this is my best attempt yet and I think I've done a very, very good knock-off here.

I made a huge batch of it so I can avoid cooking for a couple days, and because I'm at the end of my paycheque with four days to go. :) I think this'll serve at least 4. You'll need 1/2 cup of the peanut sauce from this recipe I posted recently. Yes, making your own makes all the difference. I tried making this recipe with commercial sauces and it sucked ass. So, I assure you. Make your own. Better yet, make mine!

So, inspired by the Noodle Box, here you go.

Spicy Peanut Chicken Stirfry

Marinade for the chicken:
1 stalk lemongrass, pale part only, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
juice of one lime
3 tablespoons peanut oil
1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs chopped in bite-size pieces.

Combine all, then mash as best you can with mortar and pestle. Marinate chicken for 30 minutes to 2 hours.

In a large bowl, combine:
3 cups chopped baby bok choy (I used Shanghai)
3 cups bean sprouts
1 bunch green onions, chopped fine

In a small bowl, combine:
1/2 cup Spanish peanuts (with skins)
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Also make sure you have your peanut sauce (1/2 cup at least) ready to go, and a bottle of hot sauce handy.

On a medium-high burner, get your wok nice and hot. Don't add any oil. Strain about half the marinade out of your chicken. When the wok's hot, throw your marinade and chicken in and start stirfrying.

When it looks about half cooked, strain most of the juices out (leave a bit) and throw your bowl of veggies in. Get everything mixed up, then cover and cook 3-4 minutes, until tender-crisp. Take off the lid, drizzle peanut sauce over the stirfry, a little salt, if you want hot sauce, now's your time to add it (I used a teaspoon or two), ADD SOME COCONUT MILK TILL IT'S SAUCY ENOUGH FOR YOU (forgot to put that in this recipe originally!) and toss everything well, then add the peanuts and cilantro, toss again, and serve.

I've got mine on a bed of shortgrain brown rice and it's terrific. So, enjoy! Lemme know whatcha think if you try it, 'specially if you've had the original! :)