Busy life doesn’t mean eating boring or unhealthy food ! As I have said before in many of my quick and easy recipes, fast food can be good food too. This under 20 minutes recipe for a spicy, sweet and sour stir fry is something you can prepare even on days when you are extremely tired or don’t feel like cooking at all. The very idea of coating thin strips of chicken and vegetable pieces in the lush and hot Sambal sauce makes me hungry enough to motivates me to get into the kitchen.
Sambal is a Southeast Asian hot sauce which is used both as a condiment and added to recipes. If you live where you can’t find Sambal, the good news is it can be prepared very easily at home and stored in a jar in fridge for weeks for adding instant flavour to quick meals. They say there are over 300 varieties of Sambal in the region with chillies being the main ingredient. The secondary ingredients vary in different recipes, such as fish sauce, shrimp paste, vinegar, ginger, garlic and sugar. I like to keep mine very basic so that it can be used for many different recipes. Traditionally, sambal is made using a stone mortal and pestle to grind the chilies and other ingredients into a paste. Sambal Oelek, derives it’s name from the pestle with which it is made. But if you are in a hurry or making a big batch, using a food processor is a better choice.
For Home Made Sambal :
8-10 long red chilies
salt to taste
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons lime juice
Sugar to taste (optional)
For Chicken Stir Fry :
1/2 kg chicken breast fillet
4 tablespoons Sambal sauce ( or to taste)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Salt to taste
2-3 tablespoons sunflower oil
This Is What You Do :
Prepare Sambal before hand if you are not using the store bought version.
Cut chicken breasts into 1/2 inch thick strips, set aside.
Slice onions. Slice cucumber without peeling.
Mix Sambal sauce, lemon juice, soy sauce and brown sugar in a small bowl.
(Add salt only I’d required because there is salt already in soy sauce and Sambal).
Keep all ingredients within easy reach before you start stir frying because it’s going to be quick !
Heat oil in a wok or deep frying pan.
Add chicken strips, fry till they are golden on outside ( 2-3 minutes).
Add cucumbers and onions, stir fry another 2 minutes.
Add the Sambal mix to the pan. Continue to stir fry for another 4-5 minutes or till the sauce coats the chicken and vegetables.
Remove from heat, serve immediately over Chinese cabbage leaves, lettuce leaves, egg noodles or steamed rice.
Makes 2-3 servings