I dunno, guys. I try. I really do. I so badly want to be one of those people who “eats clean”, who can lay off the carbs for one goddamn moment just to give my digestive tract a break and feel all grand and springy in my step. But I just can’t. And you know what? Croissants make me springy. Heaping bowls of penne doused in shavings of parmigiano reggiano make me springy. Buttered toast and warm cookies and bagels smothered in cream cheese make me so springy, I’m like a human daffodil up in here. Simply put, carbs are the friggin’ best.
After a few sheepishly indulgent nights, I decided to head to the grocery store and buy a big old head of lettuce and make myself some Thai chicken lettuce wraps. All the flavor, half the guilt! or whatever. But then it started to rain outside, and it could have been the fact I’d worn them all day but I dare say my jeans were feeling rather agreeable, so I nixed that whole rabbit food idea and decided to supe up this dinner I had in mind. And man, am I full of good ideas.
I figured I wasn’t going to go all crazy and turn this into a Thai-style chicken cheeseburger moment (although that’s, like, Einstein-level brilliance right there and oh my god I want that right NOW), but this Thai chicken was practically crying for some really good fried rice. The best fried rice is made from leftover rice that’s been chilling in the fridge and getting all sticky, so make sure you put aside enough time for that business. But it’s worth it. And just because you’re eating carbs doesn’t mean it has to be bad for you– brown rice tastes just as grand as white rice, and it isn’t all bleached to hell, either. This tastes like great guilty take-out, but it’s actually good for you. And it isn’t lettuce.
Thai Chicken Stirfry and Fried Rice, Hold the Lettuce
2 cups of water
1 cup of brown long grain rice
4 tbsp coconut oil (you can use extra virgin olive oil here, but coconut oil is better for you, can be bought at most grocery stores now, and doesn’t taste like a pina colada, I swear)
half a yellow pepper, diced
2 eggs, beaten with about a tbsp of water
1/3 cup frozen green peas
half an onion, diced
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 to 3 tbsp soy sauce
2 scallions, thinly sliced and ends discarded
salt and pepper
3 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (although I love me some carbs, I am a psycho about good-quality meat. Try to buy at least grain-fed, if not free-range or organic. It’s going to cost a couple of bucks more, but it’s worth it)
2 tbsp coconut oil (again, sub extra virgin olive oil here if you want)
the other half of that yellow pepper, seeded and sliced thin
the other half of that onion, sliced thin
5 or 6 shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce (don’t be scared, it’s amazing in stirfrys, and I promise you’ve eaten it before if you’ve ever ordered take-out)
the juice of a lime
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp sweet chili sauce (I throw this in almost every stirfry I make)
1 tbsp unsalted peanut butter whisked with a little hot water to thin it out (I’m loco, esse! If you’re allergic to peanuts, you can sub cashew or almond butter here)
a handful of chopped basil
Start your rice. Bring the water and the rice to boil in a pot with a lid. Season with a little salt, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Transfer to a bowl and stick it in the fridge for a couple of hours. You can use leftover rice, too, if you have any hanging around.
Heat a large pan over medium-high with 1 tbsp of coconut oil. Scramble the eggs with a little salt and pepper until done, about three minutes. Set aside in a bowl. Heat another tbsp of coconut oil in the pan. Season the yellow pepper, onion, and garlic with salt and pepper and sautee for about 7 minutes until all the veggies are tender. Add the last tbsp of coconut oil and the rice and stir to combine. Add the peas and the eggs back into the pan, then the sesame oil and soy sauce. Adjust the seasoning and let it all hang out on low heat while you make the chicken.
Heat another large pan over medium-high heat with the coconut oil. Cut the chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces and sautee in the pan with salt and pepper. Once the chicken is just browned, about 2 minutes each side, add in the garlic, yellow pepper, onion, and mushrooms. Sautee for another five minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir to combine, and simmer on medium-low for a few minutes to let all the flavors develop. Sprinkle with the basil.
Toss the rice with the scallions. Ladle the chicken over top and serve.
Serves 4 but really who are we kidding it serves 2 around here.