ginger, chilli and lime chicken
This is hands-down my children's favourite meal. They request it every single week. I go easy on the chilli - they like it with a little bit - but if your children are totally chilli-averse, the ginger gives it a little heat anyway and the flavours are still beautiful. This recipe is based on Annabel Langbein's Vietnamese Ginger Chilli Chicken. Annabel adds a teaspoon of sugar to the sauce to enhance the flavours but I find it doesn't need it, especially if you have onions or spring onions, which add their own sweetness.
3 Tbsp vegetable/groundnut oil
2 Tbsp minced/grated fresh ginger (sometimes I just chop it really finely and that works, too)
½ (or 1, if you're only serving adults) mild red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp lime (or lemon) zest, grated finely (make sure it's unwaxed)
600-700g boneless chicken thighs, cut in to strips or wee chunks
2 Tbsp lime (or lemon) juice
2 tsp cornflour
2 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp fish sauce
4 spring onions, ends trimmed, thinly sliced
2-3 heads of pak choi, roughly chopped
2 handfuls of mange tout/snow peas, whole or sliced
5-6 heads of tenderstem broccoli (par-cook by pouring boiling water from the kettle over the broccoli in a colander first, so it is not too tough after a short stir-frying)
or you can mix it up: green beans, water chestnuts, baby corn, gai lan, regular broccoli, peppers, carrots, bean sprouts - anything you like!
Heat the oil in a large wok or pan over a medium-high heat. Add the lime/lemon zest, garlic, ginger and chilli, if using, and fry for about 1 minute until the garlic starts to go brown.
Add the chicken and turn up the heat a bit, and brown the meat for about 5 minutes.
Mix together the lime/lemon juice, fish sauce, water and cornflour and pour in to the pan, simmering for 2-3 minutes.
Throw in the vegetables and stir fry for 1-2 minutes.
Serve with steamed rice or noodles.
I have a few variations of this recipe - sometimes I add roasted cashew nuts, sometimes I add fresh coriander, sometimes I substitute one tablespoon of oil for sesame oil and add sesame seeds.