I’m not a big man. I stand about 5′ 8″ in my socks (not a sight you would want to see). When I married the Wife a good few years ago, I was smart enough to be sure that I married somebody smaller than me. That way, she would represent no physical danger. As I have matured over the years, I realise that there are more ways to be threatened by the Wife than with simple physical violence. It started when I cooked and photographed one of our family favourites. I was very happy with the outcome and with most of my photos, but not so happy with the final ‘plated shot’. I decided to not post this one. The Wife let me know that I was being ‘too picky’ about my photography. I, knowing that I must strive for higher art and greater things, decided to disagree.
Big mistake. Not that the Wife says or does anything overt in these situations. I just get to know that I am wrong and that She is, and always was, right. An occasional glance. A faint sigh. It nags at me, slowly gnawing away at my conscience until eventually I give in and come around to her way of thinking. I’m not sure how she does it. But she does…
So here goes Red Cooked Chicken with Water Chestnuts and Thai Fragrant Rice (with the uninteresting plated shot).
You will need
- A chicken and some extra chicken thighs (depending on how many you intend feeding).
- 1 bunch of spring onions
- 4 tablespoons of dark soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce
- 1 litre of chicken stock
- 1 large can of water chestnuts (see side note below)
- 5cm or 2 inches of good ginger
Side note: As I loaded my car outside his wholesale oriental food business, I had a chat with Justin Chan. He asked me why I used the tinned water chestnuts. “Can I get fresh?” I asked. “We get them in fresh every day.” he replied. “Do they taste much better?” I said. “I don’t know. I’ve never eaten the tinned ones.” he smiled as he helped me put the tins in the car. Next time, it’s fresh for me.
First, chop the chicken into large bite size pieces. I have spared the faint hearted amongst you any action shots. Fry the ginger and spring onions in a little oil and take them out of the wok when they have got a nice high colour.
Then fry off the chicken in batches, browning it as you go.
Drain and wash the water chestnuts and add to the wok. Then add the remaining ingredients and bring to the boil. Season as appropriate with black pepper. It will not need any salt.
Cover and cook for about half an hour. Remove the cover and reduce the sauce until it is the consistency that you want. In the meantime, boil your rice and have it ready at the same time or before. The rice will stay warm and perfect for at least 20 minutes as long as you leave the lid on the rice pot.
Then serve the dish, not taking enough time to take a decent photo of the end product. The following will have to do.
The chicken and water chestnuts go incredibly well together. The water chestnuts absorb lots of the flavours yet remain crisp and crunchy. The chicken just falls off the bones. This is an easy meal to prepare.
On reflection, the end shot is not all that bad, is it? Perhaps the Wife was right all along?
Of course she was!