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Fish Sauce Chronicles: Episode I – Chicken Stir Fry

EDIT: This post was edited on 03 September 2013. Further experimentation has resulted in a slightly updated and improved recipe, but still quick and easy!

Now that I have floated down from cloud nine, I’m ready to share all the wonderful experiences I had in Oregon, culinary and otherwise. One of my favorite food adventures on this trip was the fish sauce chicken wings at Pok Pok Noi, Chef Andy Ricker’s (Best Chef NW 2011) crazy addictive creation. Don’t worry East Coast kids, you can find Pok Pok in New York too! Between the flour for the crust and the sugar to balance out the salty fish sauce, this majestic treat is definitely not slow carb, so naturally I’d be the one to find a way to make it so! My Slow Carb Fish Sauce Chicken Wing recipe is still in the works – first attempt was so salty that even my grandmother, the queen of salt herself, couldn’t eat them.

Until I master that elusive recipe, I’ve been getting creative with fish sauce in other ways, and so here we are: Thai Chicken Stir Fry – a much less complicated recipe with many familiar ingredients, giving you and me a chance to really understand how fish sauce can work. There is a fantastic article on choosing the right fish sauce, which I’ve shared on my Facebook page here (posted on 15 Aug 2013). Philly readers – I get most of my Asian-y ingredients at the market on 12th and Washington (including FRESH QUAIL EGGS, which we can talk about later).

1 whole chicken breast (boneless, skinless), cut into 1-2″ cubes
1-2 serrano peppers, sliced into rings
1 long hot pepper, sliced into rings
1 whole red onion, halved and sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced (1/2 for marinade, 1/2 for stir-fry)
2 tsp minced ginger
2 tsp rice vinegar
1/2 cup fish sauce
2.5 tsp Stevia or Truvia (~2 packets)
olive oil

freshly cracked white pepper
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground coriander

Other than the time it takes to marinate/brine the chicken, this is actually a pretty quick and easy recipe!
In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup fish sauce, 2 tsp stevia, 2 tsp ginger, 2 tsp rice vinegar, and 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic; stir well. In a large Ziploc bag, combine the sauce mixture with the chicken pieces and marinate for 1-3 hours. In the meantime, prepare the vegetables (peppers, onion, remaining garlic) and set aside in another bowl – if you are planning on making this dish later on, I recommend covering the veggies and sticking them back in the fridge for a while.

In a large non-stick pan, sauté the vegetables with some olive oil over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes or until the onions and shallots start to soften. Heat a second pan on medium-high heat as well, and using tongs or a slotted spoon, add the chicken to the pan. You can add some of the fish sauce mixture if you like, but keep it to a minimum – I made the mistake of doing this the first time and my chicken was super salty. Add turmeric to the chicken pan and mix well. Continue sautéing the veggies and chicken separately for another 5-7 minutes, or until chicken is almost completely cooked through. In the last few minutes, using a slotted spoon again, move the chicken to the pan with the vegetables and continue cooking for an additional 3 minutes or so, mixing well. Your chicken should be white inside (NOT pink) but still juicy.

Place stir-fry in individual bowls and drizzle with sriracha for an extra kick.

Got leftovers? Unlikely if you’re cooking for two or more, but if you’re eating solo, this dish makes for a great breakfast too.
Prepare 1-3 eggs however you like, I recommend sunny side up with clarified butter ’cause there are few things I love more than a nice creamy, runny yolk. Remove eggs from the pan and set aside in a bowl or plate, season with salt and white pepper. In the same pan you used to prepare the eggs, reheat the chicken stir fry by sautéing for a few minutes on medium-high heat. Add the stir fry to the eggs, crack those yolks open, and dig in!

fish sauce chicken stir fry


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