So mum and dad flew out to Singapore yesterday to stay with my brother. Dad is a south east asian stir fry master and in his absence I have kindly organised to babysit his favourite cookbook “Green Mangoes and Lemongrass” by Wendy Hutton and published by Periplus. Tonight I tried my first recipe out of this, a chicken stir fry with mangoes, cashews, snow peas and tomatoes. Basically it’s a very subtle and quite sophisticated sweet and sour and was very popular all around (most particularly with Alex (5) and I, I think). The pool of sauce at the bottom of the plate was an absolute sensation and finished with the taste of lime and black pepper which sent me straight back to Cambodia and memories of eating at a street stall in the pouring rain outside the Bayon temple.
I think this could be a great vegetarian dish if you replaced the chicken with deep fried cubes of tofu. I omitted the chili (which the kids aren’t crazy for and which Pete and I don’t eat, other than on special occasions for traditional Chinese medicine reasons)- but it would definitely be even better with. I’ve cooked extra rice tonight and spread it out on a tray to dry in the fridge – fried rice tomorrow night.
And while I’m on the subject of Vietnamese food, if you haven’t had a look at Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam on SBS (Thursday 7.30),do so now! Last week he had a whole Mekong Delta fish, the scales of which puff up and turn crispy upon deep frying, drenched in a ginger sauce. Just totally sensational, really.
Stir-fried chicken with mango and cashews (Wendy Hutton, Green Mangoes and Lemongrass)
- 2 large firm ripe mangoes – cheeks sliced off, scored diagonally into 1 cm wide slices and eased out of the skin.
- 3 tbs fish sauce, 1 tsp lime juice, 1 tsp sugar, half tsp salt, quarter tsp black pepper, mixed together until sugar and salt dissolved
- 250 ml vegetable oil
- 500g boneless chicken breast cut into 2cm squares (or replace with a block of firm tofu cut into cubes and fried until crispy)
- 2 tsp finely minced garlic
- 1 tsp finely minced large red chili
- 200g trimmed snow peas
- 1 medium ripe tomato
- Half a cup of dry roasted cashews
Heat the oil in wok until very hot. Cook half the chicken, stirring frequently for 2 minutes, remove with slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Repeat with remaining chicken. Take the wok off the heat and remove all but 3 tbs of oil. While the wok is off the heat, add the garlic and chili and stir fry for a couple of seconds. If you keep it off the heat, then you’re less likely to burn the garlic which will make the dish bitter. Return the wok to the heat and add the snow peas, stir fry for 1 minute. Return chicken and add fish sauce mixture. Mix well, then add mango, tomato and cashews. Stir gently until warmed through.