Apricots are here. Yay. I've never really made anything savory with apricots. Actually I don't usually use apricots--I prefer peaches and nectarines. So this apricot thingy is a first for me. This particular dish is inspired by one of my favorite Thai dishes, mango chicken. Apricots work pretty well as a mango substitute. They're similarly sweet, though apricots do not have the mango tanginess, so a little bit of citrus was needed for the sauce.
The sauce was a variation on sweet and sour. I suspect it would work just as well with fried fish rather than chicken. The banana leaf is not necessary, but steamed with the coconut rice, it gave the rice just a bit more fragrance.
All measurements approximate.
Stuff for apricot sauce:
6 apricots sliced and peeled (peeling is not necessary, but I wanted a more uniform texture)
1/2 cup cilantro chopped
4 tbsp soy sauce (I used half and half fine Japanese soy sauce and Filipino soy sauce, but any soy sauce would do)
3 tbsp ginger chopped
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp sake (rice wine vinegar is okay)
1 tbsp sriracha hot sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
juice of 1/2 lime
zest of 1/2 lime
Stuff for chicken:
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, sliced thinly into strips
1 cup white flour
5 tbsp clarified butter
1 red bell pepper sliced thinly
Stuff for coconut rice:
2 cups jasmine rice
1 1/2 cup water
1 can light coconut milk
1 tbsp salt
1 small banana leaf (4 inches by 2 inches)
Place all the sauce ingredients in a food processor and puree. The desired flavor is sweet, salty, sour and spicy all at once. If it's too spicy, squeeze some more lime in there and add a little sugar. More fish sauce counteracts sweetness (be careful!).
Prepare the rice in a rice cooker. Just toss in all the ingredients, placing the banana leaf into the pot last. If you do not have a rice cooker, use a pot with a heavy lid. You might want to oil the bottom of the pan lightly so that the rice doesn't stick. It should cook for about 15-20 minutes.
In a flat container, drag the chicken strips around the white flour until all of them are covered. Fry them over medium-hot in clarified butter until golden brown on both sides. This should take about 5-10 minutes per chicken strip. You don't have to use clarified butter, but doing so reduces risk of burning the butter so I prefer the clarified stuff. Once the chicken is fried, remove from heat.
In another pan, (or the pan you used to cook the chicken with the butter cleaned out), place the fried chicken strips along with the bell pepper slices. Pour the apricot sauce in with the chicken and simmer over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until the bell pepper is soft.
Serve over the coconut rice.
This was my entry to the Leftover Queen's July Royal Foodie Joust. This as well as other bloggers' recipes can be found here.