Monday is my day to plan dinners for the week and to shop for groceries. I had two missions yesterday – go to a nearby farm to see if they really had the strawberries they talked about on Facebook and make a first attempt to recreate Stir Crazy’s sweet and spicy chicken.
The strawberries were easy. The farm had them, along with local honey that I remembered we needed when I saw it. I put the two pints of rosy red, fragrant strawberries in the car and headed off to the grocery store, marveling that I just bought strawberries in April in Missouri. April!
I had spent a little time poking around online before I left, looking for recipes for the chicken. I want the sauce mostly, which is sweet and hot and elusively delicious. While I love the restaurant dish, it is pretty pricy for what is after all, chicken and rice. And they deep fry their chicken, which I would really rather avoid. If I am going to brave hot oil, I am going to make doughnuts, thank you very much!
The upshot of all my poking were ingredients common to most of the recipes – garlic, fresh ginger, soy sauce, hot chilis, tomato paste, coconut milk and honey. I had all of these except the ginger and coconut milk. Our grocery store used to have jars of already minced ginger, which was really more of a paste. Since they have stopped carrying it, I needed to get a knob of ginger. No biggie, but they were all about the size of my head. Now I have a huge piece of ginger, and since my last one went moldy before I used it all, I guess I am going to have to peel the whole thing and mince it before freezing it. But then I’ll have a nice stash in the freezer.
I have never bought coconut milk, and I wasn’t even sure I really wanted to use it in my recipe. I really, really don’t like coconut. I mean really. But I thought it was worth a try. Never having used it before, I was surprised that it was so thick. And it tastes nothing like coconut. I guess you learn something new every day. I’m going to have to rethink some of my food prejudices. Before yesterday, if any recipe used coconut milk it immediately went into the reject pile. I stand corrected, at least on coconut milk.
The chicken was spicy and sweet, with a velvety smooth sauce from the coconut milk. I was impressed with what just two tablespoons of coconut milk did for the sauce. Too bad it was so totally and completely wrong. Oh, it tasted fine, and made a good dinner, but it wasn’t even in the same ballpark with what I was aiming for. Oh well, back to the drawing board on that one.
No recipe today. I’m off to get my extra ginger in the freezer. And then eat some strawberries while I look for recipes to use the rest of the can of coconut milk.