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Thai-Inspired Chicken and Rice with Quick Pickled Vegetables

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Rice bowls are basically my favorite thing in the world especially when there's little to no prep and they just seem to come together on their own. With quick pickled veggies, this bowl is pretty much the cure for any mid-week blues.

With ground chicken, I dislike how colorless and textureless it usually is. So, right as soon as the chicken is cooked through and seasoned to my taste, I use the back of a spoon to push the chicken into a tight even layer on the bottom of the pan, almost like a pie crust. I then crank the heat to high and watch it carefully for 2-3 minutes. This creates a bit of a browned crust on the bottom of the chicken and creates some nice crunchy bits.

Ingredients (Serves 3-4)

For the Pickled Veggies:

1 small bunch of baby carrots
3 radishes
Half of a red onion
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 tablespoons warm water

For the Rice Bowl:

1 cup uncooked jasmine rice
1 lb ground chicken
Vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste
3 scallions, trimmed
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
2 Thai chilis (jalapeño or serrano work well too)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 small handful of arugula (or lettuce)
Cilantro for garnish

Instructions:

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Prep Your Ingredients: Cook the rice according to the package instructions. While the rice is cooking, halve the carrots (or shred or julienne, your choice!), slice the radishes, and thinly slice the red onion. Thinly slice the scallions and the Thai chilis. Roughly chop the cilantro and set aside.

Make the Pickled Veggies: In a medium bowl, combine the rice vinegar, water, and sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the vegetables and stir to coat with the vinegar. Store in the fridge until ready to use.

Prepare the Chicken: Thinly coat the bottom of a skillet with vegetable and heat over medium heat. Add the ground chicken and break up with a spoon as it cooks. Season with salt and pepper. Once it's mostly cooked through, add the sliced scallions, the chili peppers, ginger, and garlic. Add the soy sauce, fish sauce, and brown sugar and stir to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Once the chicken is seasoned to your preference, use the back of a spoon to push the chicken into a tight, even layer in the pan. Turn up the heat to high and let it brown on the bottom for about 2 minutes (watch it carefully and adjust the heat as necessary to avoid burning.) You want the bottom of the chicken to get a nice crust.

Assemble the Rice Bowls: Divide the arugula between plates and top with rice. Spoon the chicken on and around the rice and serve with pickled veggies on the side. Sprinkle with cilantro. Enjoy!

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