Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Lychee Chicken

Here's today's Jeopardy question: What can you do with chicken and lychees?
I was cleaning out my fridge and had to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs, leftover roasted eggplant and two wrinkled red peppers. I also had a can of lychees.

For the uninitiated, fresh lychees resemble a rough, prickly nut, about the size of a walnut.  The shell is thin and easily cracked open with your fingers. The inside is a white, fleshy fruit with a black pit. The texture reminds me of a peeled extra large grape.

The tropical fruit is native to China, the Philippines, Malasia and India. Outside of Chinatown and Asian grocery stores, fresh lychees are hard to find in my part of the world, which is more arctic than tropical.
When I get a craving, I open a can and pour it into a bowl with ice. The ice dilutes the sugary syrup.

Back to the Jeopardy question. I've mentioned before that Thai curry paste is one of my go-to condiments. Once again, it was my supper saver.  I did a variation of my Thai Curry chicken (see Curry in a Hurry from October 22) using red curry paste. I substituted coconut milk with chicken broth plus the juice from the canned lychee. The result was a light sauce with a hint of sweetness and the plump surprise of lychees. Since it was clean-out-the-fridge night, I threw in the leftover roasted eggplant and the wrinkled red peppers. I added the lychees last so they didn't break apart as I stir fried the other ingredients. And voilĂ , Lychee Chicken.

Lychee chicken on rice noodles
The yellowish cubes in the picture are tofu cubes, in case you're wondering. This dish is also fantastic with shrimp or BBQ beef strips. It is also perfect for dairy and gluten free eaters.

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