When we were all in college, my friend Elissa was a bartender at the local sports bar in town. I took flagrant advantage of this when it was football season and when the World Cup came around. (It only happens once every four years, so it’s a little less disgraceful than it normally would be to be let into the bar before it opens. Hey, it was night time in Europe!) This bar had the best nosh ever, their Thai Fries. It was a bed of thin and crispy fries covered with a sweet soy sauce, something creamy, cilantro and so many serrano chilis you just had to order more frosty beers.
I was craving Thai Fries, but not willing to drive two hours back to Davis, so I decided to try to make a noodle or rice bowl with those same flavors. I settled on soy glazed chicken thighs, stir fried chilis and vegetables with a creamy lime sauce. Yum! As a little bonus, this one is really easy to make too.
Thai Thighs – served over noodles or rice
Serves 4-5 – cost approx $.86 per serving
- 1/2 cup ranch dressing – sour cream or yogurt would be a good substitution too! ($.33)
- 1 lime, zest and juice ($.25)
- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce ($.25)
- 1 Tbs soy sauce
- 3 chicken thighs, boneless or bones removed ($1.50)
- salt and black pepper, to taste
- 2 Tbs cornstarch
- 1 Tbs vegetable oil
- 4 cloves garlic
- serrano chilis, to taste, thinly sliced
- 3 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced ($.18)
- 1/4 head of cabbage, thinly sliced ($.35)
- 1 Tbs rice vinegar
- scallions and/or cilantro ($.25)
- Rice or Asian noodles of your choosing – rice is much cheaper, I made up some cellophane noodles for dinner and a small pot of rice for the leftovers. ($.50)
Preheat the oven to 375 F. In a small bowl combine the ranch and lime juice and zest, set aside. In another small bowl, combine the hoisin and soy sauce. Season the chicken on both sides with the salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken in the cornstarch, fully coating it. Be sure to tap off the excess cornstarch. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until chicken is fully cooked. Using a basting brush, glaze the chicken with the hoisin and soy mixture 2-3 times during the cooking process. Let the chicken cool a bit then thinly slice it.
While the chicken is cooking, heat the oil in a wok or large saute pan over high heat and stir fry the garlic and serrano chilis for 30 seconds. Add in the carrot and cabbage, saute another minute or two. You want the vegetable to still have some crunch and not be fully cooked. Remove the veggies from the heat. Season with a pinch of salt and the rice vinegar.
Make yourself up a bowl by starting with the rice or noodles, a scoop of the spicy veggies and a few slices of chicken. Drizzle with the lime/ranch sauce and garnish with the scallions and cilantro. Get a big glass of something cool to quench the fiery chilis than are going to wreak havoc in your mouth and a pair of chopsticks and dig in!