Monday, June 20, 2011

Lemongrass Quest

Sometimes a recipe that appears on the yahoo home page catches my eye and I print it out, set it aside, and vow to make it at some later date. I saw this recipe from Better Homes and Gardens one day and always wanted to cook with lemongrass, so into the recipe folder it went. I asked all around to see where I could find lemongrass, and a colleague suggested a Thai grocery in Manhattan. I knew it would be months before I could make the excursion because I've been so busy at work, so I thought this recipe would have to wait. To my surprise, this weekend, we found some lemongrass at Fairway. It looks like an old and stiff scallion, and I was skeptical. But I trusted D, he knows what he's doing. I knew we had leftover pineapple in the fridge, and the rest of the ingredients were light enough for a summer meal so I was ready to go. I feel a little bad about this recipe because pineapple is far from local, but it is so delicious. I added basil to the recipe because my plants were growing so strong on the porch and I needed to trim them back. I made some adjustments, and would make some more if I made it again. Adjustments and suggestions are included below.

Thai Pineapple Lemongrass Chicken Stir Fry

3 tbsp fish sauce (nam pla)
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp rice vinegar
3 tsp minced fresh lemongrass (or 2 tsp finely shredded lime or lemon peel)
olive oil
1 medium red onion, halved lengthwise and sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cucumber, cut into thin bite-sized strips (about one cup)
1/4 of a pineapple, cut into bite sized pieces
2 fresh jalapeno chile peppers, seeded and finely chopped
12 oz skinless, boneless chicken cut into thin bite-sized strips
1 cup sugar snap pea pods, trimmed
1/2 sliced red bell pepper
about 10 large basil leaves, chopped into thin strips
handful of chopped cilantro
3 cups rice (jasmine, brown, or basmati)

Make the sauce by combining the lemongrass with the lime juice, fish sauce, and rice vinegar; set aside. Saute sliced red onion and garlic in a wok with some olive oil. Add cucumber, pineapple, and chile peppers. Cook until the pineapple begins to brown/sear. Remove the wok from the heat and dump the vegetables in a bowl; set aside. Add the chicken to the hot wok and cook through. Add the onion/vegetable mixture and the sauce. Cook until heated through. Add the basil strips and stir until the flesh is wilted. Serve immediately over hot cooked rice. Sprinkle and garnish with cilantro.

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