Here’s another quick, easy, and delicious one from the Pan Asian files. This one comes from Vietnam, which is one of my ultimate dining destinations.
Like much Vietnamese food, this dish plays off the interaction of several tastes–sweet, salty, spicy, savory–though the heat, in this case, is a simple garnish of chili pepper strands. Five Spice Powder is a popular spice blend used in Asian and some Arabic cooking that contains Star anise (bajiao, 八角), Cloves (dingxiang, 丁香), Chinese Cinnamon (rougui, 肉桂), Szechuan pepper (huajiao, 花椒), Fennel seeds (xiaohuixiang, 小茴香). You should be able to find it anywhere they sell Asian products. U.S. spice giant McCormick even makes a version. All the other ingredients are fairly common–even fish sauce–and its amazing how such simple ingredients make such a delicious dish. I would recommend using a good honey in this dish since the flavor is prominent.
3 tablespoons oils
1 large onion, cut into wedges
1 lb (500 g) boneless chicken thighs, cut into thin strips
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and cut into matchsticks
½ teaspoon 5 spice powder
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 finger length red chili, deseeded and cut into thin strips, for garnish
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves, for garnish
- Heat oil in a wok over high heat until very hot. Stir fry the onion until fragrant and translucent—about 1 minute. Add chicken and stir fry for 1-2 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and stiry fry for another 30 seconds.
- Reduce heat to medium and add five spice powder, and mix well. Add fish sauce, soy sauce, and honey, and stir fry 2 minutes more until chicken is well-coated with sauce and cooked through. Remove from heat and transfer to serving platter.
- Sprinkle with black pepper and garnish with chili and cilantro leaves. Serve hot with steamed rice.