Lola and Finn's Mum

Lola and Finn's Mum

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Trying to be healthy - Spicy chicken with cashew nut and cucumber vermicelli

Well, I say healthy, in comparison to the recent Chocolate Guinness Cake it is. This was a delicious, fresh and not really very spicy dish which we enjoyed recently. Cucumber fan Lola was extraordinarily impressed that you can have cucumber for dinner and Finn on this occasion loved the spicy chicken. Both went for the vermicelli, but I think that's because they think it's like pasta, because chez Lola and Finn, pasta is king.

This is yet another Bill Granger recipe. I haven't tried one yet that has failed and I really do like the emphasis that he places on fresh, clean flavours. This is amazingly zingy with a sweetness Lola and Finn really liked. I did too. Should we get a summer this year, I envisage making this again (for it is really quite quick) and being sat outside on a warm evening with a crisp dry white wine (to be decided).

At least if I have something light for dinner I can have a seriously 'sod it' type of pudding, can't I?

Spicy chicken with cashew nut and cucumber vermicelli, adapted from 'Open Kitchen' by Bill Granger

Feeds 3, plus Lola and Finn


For the spicy chicken thighs:
3 tbsp fish sauce
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed
2 large red chillies, finely chopped
a small handful of coriander (my addition)
2 tsp sugar
8 chicken thighs, bone and skin removed
2 tbsp vegetable oil

For the cucumber and cashew noodles:
3 tbsp lime juice
3 tbsp caster sugar
200g/7oz vermicelli rice noodles
2 cucumbers, halved and thinly sliced
Small handful fresh mint leaves (I omitted these)
4 spring onions, sliced finely
2 tbsp cashews, crushed

To prepare the chicken, combine the fish sauce, pepper, garlic, chillies and sugar together in a bowl. (I whizzed them first as you can see)

In a separate bowl, pour half the marinade over the chicken. Cover with cling film and put in the fridge for 20 minutes. Reserve the rest of the marinade.
For cucumber and cashew salad, make a dressing by adding the lime juice and sugar to the reserved marinade, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.

In a heat-proof bowl, cover the vermicelli with boiling water and leave for a minute or so until the noodles have softened.
Drain and rinse the noodles under cold water. Mix the drained noodles in a large bowl with the cucumber, mint, spring onions, cashews and the dressing until well combined.
Remove the chicken thighs from the marinade, shaking off any excess. Fry the chicken thighs in the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until cooked through. (You may have to do this in batches.)

To serve, plate up the vermicelli mixture and then place the chicken on top.

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