Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Thai Chicken Thighs with Hot and Sour Tomato Jam

Thai flavors are a combination of sweet, spicy, sour, and salty—oh, and lets not forget that umami thing: savory. Bottom line: Thai flavors are ridiculously delicious.

Marinating simple chicken thighs for a few hours means they’re already kicked up a notch before hitting the pan. But the real kick here: tomato jam topping. 

Start with fresh tomatoes, crush them with your fingers into a pan (I swear this makes them taste better), add the hot and sour ingredients, and let time do the magic. The deepest, richest flavors of the jam result from concentration—allow 45 minutes for the runny tomato juices and other liquids to reduce and meld into a delectable rich, spicy, sour, slightly thickened, chunky sauce. Mmmmm.

Tip: Make the jam several hours or a day ahead and refrigerate it in a sealed container. Re-warm gently over low heat before serving.

And a couple tips on the chicken: When you unfold boneless thighs, you’ll see that one end is thicker than the other. For this recipe, I cut the thighs in half and gently pounded the thicker pieces with a meat mallet to get a more even thickness throughout.

Cut Whole Thighs in Half
Pound to Even Thickness
Also, marinating meat in a liquid marinade helps the meat soak up all those tasty flavors, but it also means it will soak up moisture. Some of those juices will be released when you first start cooking the thighs, which means they will take longer to actually sear. That’s why the cooking time for the first side is twice as long as the cooking time for the second side. Just make sure your pan is hot and heavy (cast-iron is king), and your chicken will turn out wonderfully browned on the outside and juicy tender inside.

Serves 4 


For the Chicken
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 4 large boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed, halved, and pounded to even thickness
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil
  • 2-1/2 cups cooked white rice
  • coarsely chopped mint and cilantro leaves, for serving
For the Tomato Jam
  • 1-1/4 lbs beefsteak tomatoes (2 large or 3 medium), peeled
  • 2 Thai chiles, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger
  • sea salt
Jam Ingredients

For the Chicken
  1. Combine the garlic, fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, and ginger in a sturdy, sealable plastic bag. Add the chicken and turn several times to coat. Seal and refrigerate at least 4 hours (or overnight).
Marinated Chicken
  1. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and add the peanut oil, swirling to coat. Remove the chicken from the marinade, letting excess drip off, and sear until charred on the bottom, 10 minutes.
  2. Turn and sear until charred on the other side and just cooked through, 5 minutes. (Note: Work in 2 batches if necessary to keep from crowding the pan.) Transfer to a board or plate and let rest 3 minutes.
Chicken Beginning to Cook
After Turning
Pan-Seared Chicken Thighs
Divide the rice among 4 plates. Top each with chicken pieces and spoon tomato jam (recipe follows) over all. Scatter chopped mint and cilantro on top and serve right away.

Thai Chicken Thighs with Hot and Sour Tomato Jam
For the Tomato Jam
  1. Cut the tomatoes in half through the stem end and remove any tough core. Over a saucepan, crush the pieces in your fingers and place in the pan. (Crush any larger chunks until you have a fairly even consistency.)
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce to medium-low and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down and reduce by at least half, 45 minutes.
  3. Place any leftover jam in an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days.
Crushed Tomatoes 
Jam Beginning to Cook
Reduced, Thickened Jam 
Hot and Sour Tomato Jam

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