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Stir-Fried Chicken with Cumin, Garlic, Ginger, Scallions, and Chili

Serves 2.

Time Requirement: 30 minutes of your active time to prepare and cook and 45 minutes for the chicken to marinade.

A note about chili peppers. This recipe calls for using three cayenne peppers. If you like milder pepper use jalapeno or poblano. A good thing to know is that peppers harvested in July and August are hotter than those harvested in cooler months. While testing this recipe in the summer, one cayenne chili pepper was very hot. In October three cayenne were perfect for me. When it comes to chilis you do not know what you have until you have it in your mouth.

What you will need:

10-12 ounces skinless boneless chicken thigh cut into small bite size pieces; weighed after you have boned, skinned and cut up the chicken.

1 tablespoon egg white. Note 1 tablespoon of egg white not one egg white.

1 tablespoon mirin.

2 tablespoons soy sauce.

1 teaspoon ground roasted cumin.

½ teaspoon black pepper.

1 tablespoon cornstarch.

2-3 fresh cayenne chili peppers. Use a jalapeno pepper if you like things milder.

A small piece, about an inch long, of fresh ginger.

1 garlic clove.

4-5 spring onions (2.5 ounces/75 grams), or one large shallot (also about 2.5 ounce/75 grams).

2-3 peppers (on the small side); a combination of yellow, green, and red bell (or other sweet) pepper. Or if you like more heat use poblano peppers.

¼ teaspoon sesame oil.

3 tablespoons vegetable oil.

Optional: Boiled rice to serve with the chicken. (A recipe for boiled rice is in the chapter “Building Blocks.”


Prepare the chicken and set aside. In a bowl combine egg white, mirin, soy, cumin, black pepper, and cornstarch. Make sure to add the cornstarch last. Whisked these to combine well. Add the chicken and mix it to coat it well. Set the chicken aside to marinade for 45 minutes while you prepare the following:

Slice the cayenne pepper in half an remove the seeds. Cut the pepper into long thin strips. Set aside.

Peel the ginger and grate it. Set aside.

Put the garlic through a garlic press. Set aside.

Cut the green onions, white and green parts, into 1-inch lengths. Or julienne slice a large shallot.

Prepare the bell or poblano peppers: wash them, cut of the top, remove the seed core, and cut into thin julienne slices. Set aside.

Heat a 12-inch non-stick fry pan until a drop of water sizzles on contact. Add the vegetable and sesame oil into pan and carefully add chicken and spread it in a single layer. Sear the chicken a moment, then cook the chicken over a high heat for 5 minutes, while you constantly stir the chicken or toss it in the pan. After 5 minutes the chicken will be crisp and dry. Add the ginger, garlic, and chilis to the pan and cook an additional minute, stirring or tossing the whole time. Enjoy the fragrance of the garlic and ginger while they cook!

Then add the sliced peppers and green onions/shallots. Continue to cook for another 4-6 minutes, tossing or stirring the whole time. After this final 4-6 minutes the peppers should be cooked through and the chicken moist and tender.

Now it is ready to serve with or without boiled rice as an accompaniment.

Variation: In the last 2 minutes of cooking add 1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce and a handful of Thai basil leaves. Toss these in the pan for the last 2 minutes of cooking.

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