I cook this on a day our house ran out of light soy sauce. I flip through a thousand recipes from my collection and can't seem to find one dish that doesn't require light soy. It's hard to do without light soy in your pantry when you have strong urge to eat Asian cuisine and nothing but Asian food! I wanted something to down with steamed rice because it's been a long time since I last had steamed rice.
I chance upon this recipe. It's yummy, sweet and peppery. It's not overly sweet because I cut down the sugar a bit. I added a whole large sliced yellow onion which is quite sweet. Most important of all, it is so simple to prepare and doesn't require soy sauce. Being a Vietnamese dish, it calls for Nam Pla or fish sauce, 1/4 cup of that and I thought it would be overly salty but no, that's what the sugar is there for.
It's worth the try if you want something quick under 30mins for the weekend when you don't feel like going out.
(adapted and modified from Chef Charles Phan here)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar (I cut it down by just a tablespoon)
1/4 cup fish sauce (nam pla)
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons ShaoXing Cooking Wine
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
3 fresh Thai chilies, sliced thinly
Combine all the above in a small bowl and mix well.
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 large yellow onion, sliced into half rings
450g skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into long, thin strips
4 Coriander sprigs for garnish, roughly chopped
Here's a trick I learnt from my previous housemate. Rub the chicken with just a small pinch of baking powder. You'll thank me for that, just do it. This will yield the most tender and flavorful chicken.
Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the shallot and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the onions and take it further until soft and slightly caramelized. Add the fish sauce mixture and the chicken and simmer over high heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Throw in3 springs of chopped coriander, turned off the heat and stir briefly.
Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with remaining coriander. Serve this over a bowl of steamed rice.