I love green, and red, and orange, and yellow. Utah is a brown-blue kind of place. It is dry and hot, or dry and cold. It is drab. Sometimes this depresses me. I just want to see dark turquoise water, and tall evergreen trees stretching towards the sun.
I escape to my kitchen (which is also brown) and cook something colourful and ethnic, something that brings me back to a different place.
When I was in high school, I spend a summer visiting my well-traveled aunt in Cambodia. Cambodia is one of the most colourful, most vibrant places I’ve ever been. The food is similar to Thai food, though not as spicy and with distinctive French influences. I ate coconut chicken served in a bowl made out of half a pineapple, noodles, fresh baguettes, frogs’ legs, and the most tropical fruit you can imagine.
Yesterday’s dinner of Chicken Pad Thai rescued me in my colourless stupor and brought me back to that place.
Chicken Pad Thai (adapted from Better Homes)
- 8 oz rice noodles (or other Chinese noodles)
- 1 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced into thin strips
- 1/4 cup salted peanuts, chopped
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp packed brown sugar
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tsp Asian garlic chili sauce
- 41/2 tbsp rice vinegar
- oil for cooking
- 1 tbsp garlic, minced
- 2 cups bean sprouts
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- green pepper, sliced
- cilantro leaves to garnish
In a large bowl, cover the noodles with hot water and let sit for 15 minutes. In a small bowl, combine peanuts and lime zest, set aside. In another small bowl, combine the sauce by mixing the fish sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, chili sauce and vinegar. Stir to combine, set aside. In a large skillet, heat 2 tbsp oil on medium-high heat. Add chicken and garlic. Cook until the chicken is no longer pink. Remove chicken from skillet. Cook the egg. Remove it from the skillet and chop. Add more oil to the skillet. Heat on high heat. Drain the noodles. Add the noodles and the bean sprouts to the skillet and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken and sauce. Cook for another minute. Garnish with egg, green onion, cilantro, and peanut topping. Enjoy!