The first time I had this dish was at a fusion Thai restaurant almost a year ago, but somehow the taste of the sauce still lingers. It’s flavors had been compartmentalized in my memory but recently had surfaced to the forefront of my mind. Thai cuisine is known for its spicy flavors with heavy usage of coconut, this dish however was different and maybe that why it stood out and remained with me ever since. Its flavors predominantly lie in the sweet yet piquant taste of tamarind with a hint of salty oyster sauce and finally the kick of fiery chillies. The original dish was breaded chicken laden with Spicy Tamarind-Oyster Sauce but trying to be more healthy, I opted to lightly stir fry the chicken.
Tamarind sauce has always been on my list of favorites, hence I make a jar to be used in different recipes. Its sweet and sour taste makes it ideal to be used for savory as well as sweet dishes. Simply boil tamarind pulp in water with some sugar, discard the seeds and store in a bottle once the pulp has completely dissolved in water. Tamarind is as popular in Mexican cuisine as is in Thai food even though its roots lies in far off lands of Sudan and Oman. Mixed with salty oyster sauce, tamarind adds a whole new dimension to Thai fusion cooking. Similarly, instead of serving it with plain noodles, I decided to add a nutty flavor to them by cooking them in sesame oil. It gives a normal weekday supper a kind of gourmet feel.
- 3-4 chicken fillets
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1/2 cup tamarind juice
- 3 tbsp oyster sauce
- 2 tbsp chilli-garlic sauce
- 1 tsp white pepper
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
- 75g egg noodles
- Sesame oil
- Toasted sesame seeds
- Slice the chicken fillets into thin strips
- Heat oil in a pan and add the minced garlic. Once the garlic starts to brown, add the chicken strips
- Sprinkle with salt and stir fry over low heat till chicken is cooked through. It should be slightly golden brown
- Cover with a lid till ready to serve
- Meanwhile, add the tamarind juice, oyster sauce, chilli garlic sauce, white pepper and red chilli powder in a saucepan. Mix over low heat till it starts to boil
- Simmer for 2-3 minutes and switch off the heat. Taste for any flavor adjustments
- Boil the egg noodles in salted water for 5 minutes. Drain the excess liquid once the noodles are cooked
- Heat the sesame oil in a wok and add the noodles to cook. Stir the noodles to make sure all of them are coated in sesame oil
- Cook for 3-4 minutes
- Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds and switch off the heat
- To serve, place the chicken strips atop the noodles and pour the Spicy Tamarind-Oyster Sauce
Aside from its bursting flavors, the best part about this dish is that it gets prepared in no time. It is ideal for a quick supper or a late night hunger pang. Furthermore, make the sauce in abundance to be stored and used later. It can be poured over breaded chicken or fish, or used for stir frying any meats. It is a beautiful dish that is sweet, tangy, spicy and nutty all at once.