Well, I’d had this in my head for a while and had intended to make it with white fish - a couple of pieces of cod perhaps, fried in the pan, then removed while the sauce is made.
And I do still want to make this ….
But when there’s no white fish in the shop, what to do? Make it with chicken instead!
So I’ve made this twice now to test it out - once last night when I fried the chicken first in thin sort of escalopes - and then once today for lunch when I thought I’d try just cooking diced chicken in the pan and then adding the sauce ingredients to it (that’s why the uncooked chicken is in my ‘ingredients’ photo, but ignore that).
Both were good, but there’s something that just works that little bit better in cooking the chicken separately then slicing and adding to the sauce.
You could fry it, poach it, roast it, griddle it … anything really, but I think griddled looks prettiest.
Just have the chicken cooked and hot and ready to go … oh, and the rice too of course.
To make the sauce - enough for one or two people, you’ll need:
cooked hot chicken, ready to add
cooked hot rice, ready to add
cooking oil - I used light olive oil as this dish wasn’t cooked at a high temperature
2-3 teaspoons of grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, peeled, squashed and minced
1 small red chilli, finely sliced (this is optional, I’m just a chilli fiend - but I think the dish would have more purity with fish instead of chicken and without the chilli - so when I do get some cod fillets I’ll be trying it like that)
2 teaspoons demerera sugar
the juice of half a juicy lime
1 tablespoon fish sauce
half a white onion, thinly sliced
a big handful of spinach leaves
fresh coriander leaves to serve, if liked
Get everything ready … the ginger, garlic and chilli (if using) in one dish, and combine the sugar, lime juice and fish sauce in another.
Put a good slosh of oil into a non-stick pan, probably about a tablespoon, into a non-stick frying pan and cook the aromatics over a gentle heat, stirring, for a couple of minutes - don’t let it stick, so do add a little splash of water if it needs it.
In another pan add more oil and put the onions on to fry - keep an eye on these, stirring regularly , and cook until golden - probably 5-6 minutes over a medium heat.
Add the lime juice mixture to the first pan and bring to a low simmer, and simmer for another couple of minutes - again add a little water if you prefer it to be a thinner sauce, or if it’s looking too thick or sticking at all. You want to keep it loose as it’s the sauce.
Slice the hot cooked chicken into bite-sized pieces and add to the pan, then add the spinach leaves and cook for a minute to wilt.
Remove from heat and stir so it’s all completely combined and the spinach wilted.
Serve the chicken mixture with cooked rice and top with the fried onions and some chopped fresh coriander leaves, if liked.