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Home Cooking & Takeout in Roslindale, West Roxbury and Beyond

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Chilies Garlic and Basil Stir Fry


carrots and jalapenos
Originally uploaded by Candlemaker
I’m always looking for something easy to make and if there’s some heat involved so much the better. So when I saw the Halloween version of Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods and the chef combined garlic, chilies and basil leaves to make a quick and easy stir fry, I started paying attention. Just what I wanted, with one exception. The main ingredient, the protein so to speak, was crickets. I’m not necessarily against eating crickets, I think I had some when I was a kid and I don’t remember them being awful, but they’re not readily available and since I was looking for easy I wasn’t about to start hunting for them. Enter the protein substitute, Roche Brothers had a sale on frozen shrimp so I used those.
Success, the jalapenos provided a nice heat to the dish, the sliced garlic became flavorful golden chips and the basil leaves gave a delicious perfume to the shrimp and the kitchen. J and I just about inhaled the finished product and we liked it so much that two nights later I made a version with chicken.
Here are both versions of the recipe but first a little bit on what to serve it with. In the original recipe the chef served his stir fry crickets on a pile of crispy fried potato strings. Not having those I used leftover rice with the shrimp dish. It wasn’t bad but when I made the chicken I served that on a bed of shoestring fries. It was a great combination and that’s what I’ll use in the future, for shrimp or chicken.

Chilies Garlic and Basil Stir Fry

Version One:
½ Lb. shrimp
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
two jalapeno peppers, sliced on the diagonal, seeds and all
7 or 8 fresh basil leaves
2 or 3 Tbs. peanut oil
salt and pepper

To a hot dry pan or wok, add the oil then the jalapenos, garlic and basil leaves, stir fry for 30 seconds then add the shrimp. Season with a little salt and pepper and stir fry for two or three minutes at the most. The shrimp should be tender and just cooked through. Serve immediately.

Version Two:
½ Lb. chicken, cut in thin strips
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
two jalapeno peppers, sliced on the diagonal, seeds and all
a carrot or two, thinly sliced on the diagonal
7 or 8 fresh basil leaves
3 or 4 Tbs. peanut oil
salt and pepper
3 Tbs. corn starch

Toss the chicken in the corn starch. To a hot dry pan or wok, add the oil and stir fry the chicken seasoned with salt and pepper for three or four minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan, add a little more oil if necessary. Add the carrots for a minute and then the jalapenos, garlic and basil leaves for about thirty seconds. Return the chicken to the pan, stir fry for another minute or so and it’s ready. Serve it on top of hot shoestring fries and enjoy.

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