Asian Chicken Thighs

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No, I’m not calling this dish “Asian Chicken Thighs” solely because I’m of Chinese ancestry. (Though come to think of it, I call dibs on putting the prefix “Asian” on every one of my recipes. They sound more exotic that way, don’t you think?) 
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Rather, this simple weeknight chicken dinner hits all the notes that you’ve come to expect from Asian comfort food. It’s savory, sweet, tangy, and packed with umami. And did I also mention that the marinade can be ready in just minutes?
Here’s what to gather to feed 4-6 people:
  • 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and cut into thirds
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 slices of fresh ginger, each approximately the size of a quarter
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons macadamia nut oil or fat of choice
  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
  • 1 tablespoon Red Boat fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey (or if you’re on the Whole30 or avoiding honey, use ½ small apple, peeled, cored, and diced)
  • ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 4 pounds chicken thighs
Here’s how to make the chicken:
Dump everything except for the chicken into a blender or food processor and blitz until smooth. Then, bake the bird parts for 40 minutes at 400°F. The end!
What?!? You want to see step-by-step pictures? Man, you guys sure are demanding. But if you insist…

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Asian Cauliflower Fried Rice

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Asian Cauliflower Fried Rice by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Since the start of Chinese New Year (an occasion marked by the sudden appearance of craploads of “lucky” oranges and tangerines on our kitchen counters), I felt somewhat compelled to make an Asian-style fried cauliflower “rice” dish tonight for dinner. Plus, XFit Mama just made a bunch the other night, and reading her her post made me crave Chinese faux fried rice. (BTW, XFit Mama is one badass mother — despite being pregnant with her second peanut, she manages to do just about all of her WODs at CrossFit Palo Alto as RX’d and FAST.)

Traditional Chinese fried rice is basically a dish made from leftovers you have rotting in your fridge, which makes dinner prep a breeze. Dice or chop everything small and uniform and your actual cooking time will only be 10-15 minutes. To make my cauliflower fried rice more “Asian,” I added bacon, scrambled eggs, minced ginger, sliced green onions, chopped cilantro, fish sauce, and coconut aminos. Okay, the bacon part isn’t Chinese but it’s intrinsic for the dish. Feel free to change up this recipe by substituting whatever you have lying around. Try adding some leftover meat to make a complete, one-bowl meal.

Asian Cauliflower Fried Rice by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Here’s what I assembled to serve 4-6 people:

  • 1 small head of cauliflower, separated in florets
  • 3 slices of uncured bacon, cut into small dice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1-inch knob of ginger, grated with a microplane
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 4 ounces of sliced mushrooms
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped basil
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped mint
  • 1-2 tablespoons of coconut aminos
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Splash of coconut vinegar (optional)
  • Splash of Red Boat Fish Sauce (not optional)

Here’s how I made it:

First, I pulsed the cauliflower in a food processor until the pieces were the size of rice and chopped the rest of the ingredients. 

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I tossed the diced bacon into a large cast iron skillet over medium heat and fried until the bits were crispy.

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While the bacon was cooking, I whisked the two eggs in a small bowl with some salt and pepper to taste.  When the bacon was done, I removed the crunchy swine to a separate plate.

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I poured the whisked eggs into the hot bacon grease and fried a thin egg omelet. I took the egg out of the pan, sliced it thinly, and set it aside.

I always keep a large knob of ginger on hand in my freezer. It keeps really well. When I need to use it, I take it out of the freezer, peel off the skin with my vegetable peeler, and microplane it. It’s almost like making ginger-flavored shaved ice.

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The microplane is the best tool for grating ginger — no stringiness and the ginger blends in really well into your dish. (The microplane is one of my all-time favorite kitchen tools. If you don’t have one, stop reading this post and get one immediately.)

I cranked up the heat for my cast iron skillet to medium-high heat and added the chopped onions (along with a dash of salt and pepper). Once the onion softened, I tossed in the sliced mushrooms (along with yet another sprinkle of S&P) and stir-fried everything until the mushrooms were browned. 

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After adding the ginger and stirring it around for 30 seconds, I threw in the cauliflower and even more salt and pepper.

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I put a lid on the skillet and lowered the heat to low and cooked it covered for about 5 minutes. When the cauliflower was tender (but not too mushy), I added the coconut aminos, the herbs, and the sliced egg omelet. You can also add a little coconut vinegar to add a tiny bit of tang to the dish. And splash on some fish sauce for good measure!

Before serving, I tossed on the reserved crispy bacon bits. Voila!

Asian Cauliflower Fried Rice by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

This dish was velly tasty. (That’s terrible of me to type. I really shouldn’t make fun of my mom’s accent like that. AND you can only laugh at that line if you’re Asian…)