Monday, January 12, 2009

Honey-tamarind chicken with rice vermicelli

Today, Scott and his broworkers went to Green Papaya to get some delicious Vietnamese food, as was their daily wont until the bulk of them relocated to an office further away than across the street. Today was Green Papaya for old times'. They sat down at their table, took a glance at the menu, and noticed that it had been totally chopped since their last visit months earlier. "The fuck?" Scott recounted to me, as we walked downtown's mizzled, brick streets, our gym gear in tow. He'd has his heart set on his Green Papaya favorite: honey barbecue chicken. Instead, he was relegated to the fare of a clunky, meatball sports club owner trying to phase out "seafood foe" and phase in "TVs".

I grew livid at the thought that my wantless husband was denied. His cravings are so humble and infrequent that he deserves to have every one slaked. And some stupid motherfucker thinks another sports bar is what this town needs instead of good Vietnamese food. I had to take matters into my own hands.

Okay, no, I didn't go break that dude's kneecaps, but I figured I could cook Scott his denied honey barbecue chicken. We already had skinless/boneless chicken breasts, green beans and red bell pepper that needed eating, and half a bag of fresh rice vermicelli. A bag of lettuce that I saved from the brink of compost (washed and cut, bagged for easy use) could flesh things out and provide a refreshing crunch.

I don't know if you can see the julienne on those carrots, but I did that by hand. Just so you know. (I just got my knife sharpened and am showing off.)


To make the barbecue sauce, I combined honey and tamarind (soaked and pressed through a sieve) lime zest and juice, a few squirts of fish sauce and a drib of soy sauce, a little palm sugar and a splash of rice vinegar, and some sambal oelek and crushed garlic. Slice the chicken breasts into thirds width-wise (fillet them into thin sections) and marinate the pieces for at least 15 minutes. Grill until sufficiently charred, then toss some red bell pepper and green beans on there. Scott said it tasted pretty much the same, and was happy. Yay.

Serve with rice noodles and lettuce, nước chấm, and righteous indignation.

28 comments:

Brittany said...

Thats some good wife-ing right there.
You're SO getting laid tonight.

Seriously. This post warmed my heart a little....

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

... and sunglasses. Serve it with sunglasses.

Peter G said...

You're a good person aren't you? Sports bars are fast becoming the new "tapas" bars.

Foodycat said...

Would you look at those pretty charred stripes on the chicken! How adorable.

That's some excellent wifery.

Peter M said...

That glaze...sexxy but the grill marks...uber-good!

Mike of Mike's Table said...

lol@Brittany's comment. The chicken looks delicious and that is indeed some fine carrot juliennery.

Judy@nofearentertaining said...

How nice of you to try and make that for him! I bet he was happy and it looks great!

maggie said...

oh, nice. I am intimidated by tamarind—which one should I buy? but always want to cook stuff that has it.

lucky guy, your husband.

Bellini Valli said...

I hate it when a favourite haunt changes their menu. I had to come up with a smoked chicken pasta dish to replace my craving. Good save though with the chicken:D

Elra said...

Look incredibly glistening, so tempting and love the red color.
Cheers,
Elra

Heather said...

Brittany - He just never has specific cravings, and I always want to cook something just for him.

Sketti - I know, it's a little bright. Dunno why it looks so "vibrant" in the pictures.

Petah - You sound surprised! (And sports bars are the scourge of fine eatery.)

Alicia - If all it took to be a good wife were grill marks, the divorce rate would be significantly lower.

Peter the Greek - Sticky glaze is always win.

Mike - Thank you for noticing!

Judy - I think he was just happier to give me a "project." :D

Maggie - I pick up the block of pulp, but you need to soak it in hot water to soften it, then strain it through a sieve.

Valli - Luckily, we still have plenty of good Vietnamese food.

Elra - The glistening is one of my favorite things about a good piece of meat.

Heather said...

yum. those look so good. you're a pretty awesome wife :)

cookiecrumb said...

That comes dangerously close to indulgence. What if he expects you to be fabulous all the time now?
(I know. You are always fabulous.)

Zoomie said...

You are so nice - love the wifely indignation!

Finspot said...

If I wasn't full of pho I might be eating my screen right now!

Marc @ NoRecipes said...

That looks great! I can never quite get the grill marks right (back when I actually owned a grill that is).

Kevin said...

That chicken looks really tasty!

cook eat FRET said...

i am so fucking impressive because that sauce? i have every single damn one of those ingredients in my house.

i was shocked and elated...

peter said...

I'm with Kevin on this one. Not much else to say.

(Though I bet Brittany was right, too.)

glamah16 said...

You are so good with all the Asian foods. Thats just moutwatering. Great photo.

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

They say "food is love", and you proved it. That was a really sweet gesture.

I'm always so impressed by how you toss things together and come up with all your ethnic masterpieces. I'd love to come play in your pantry!

Leigh said...

whoah. This chicken looks exactly like 'let's do somethin oriental with chicken' when it's in my head right before I suggest it. Unfortunately, mine never turns out looking anywhere this good. The chili on top is the piece de resistance (if that's how you spell it)

The Duo Dishes said...

This would last 2 seconds on a plate. Just wouldn't!

Emily said...

That's sweet that you made him dinner. It looks absolutely delicious. I would love to try making this. We don't have tamarind though.

anno said...

This looks like summertime... makes me crave a gin & tonic, which is hard to do when it's 15 below. Maybe you don't get good wife points for the grill marks or the (amazing) julienne, but for making something this fabulous just for him, that counts big time.

we are never full said...

you really are a nice wife. don't ever let a crying husband go to bed upset. we wouldn't want you to get beaten by the guy.

this really does look easy and simple. fuck sports bars!

Heather said...

Amy - My husband doesn't kick my ass (despite my begging for it).

javieth said...

The honey is really great for the skin, i usually use it in my face, is really wonderful. After my mask i feel my face smooth and clean. And my boyfriend always notice the difference, he simply love it. I feel more comfortable with my self and he is always with too much energy because he usually buy viagra