Chicken with sweet chili sauce

I cooked a stir-fried vegetable dish with mung bean sprouts, spinach, mushrooms, and tofu. If you’ve cooked with mung bean sprouts and spinach before, you’d know how much water they expel during cooking. Had I allowed the stir-fried dish to soak in all that liquid after cooking, the steam from the hot broth would have turned the vegetables soggy within minutes. So, I served the vegetables without the broth. Instead of discarding it, I saved it. Why? Because that’s a very tasty broth with all the flavors of the spices and mushrooms. Nutrient-rich too. So, why waste something so good?

The obvious question is what did I do with it? And the answer is I used it to make sweet chili sauce. How? I had about half a cup of broth. I poured that into a pan and added about a quarter cup of rice wine, a tablespoonful of rice wine vinegar, and a cup of sugar. I let the mixture boil. Then, I lowered the heat to medium and allowed the liquid to reduce. It’s easy. The process takes about 15 minutes, the pan has to be uncovered, and as soon as the mixture starts to thicken, add chopped chilis. Then, continue boiling until the desired consistency is achieved. One note though. The sauce thickens some more as it cools so don’t overdo the boiling.

And just what can you do with this sweet chili sauce? Pour over crisp fried chicken and voila! A meal that everyone in the family will love. Put the chicken strips in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well. Add the flour (or starch) and toss to coat each piece thoroughly.

Heat the cooking oil to a smoking point in a frying pan or work. Fry the chicken strips IN BATCHES until a crisp crust forms around each one. Each batch should cook in less than three minutes if the chicken strips are thin enough and the temperature of the oil is correct. Scoop them out and drain on a stack of paper towels. Reheat the oil to a smoking point before frying the next batch. To serve, transfer the cooked chicken to a platter. Top with thinly sliced onions. Pour the sweet chili sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle with fresh parsley.