A little chicken goes a long, long way. Two well-seasoned chicken thigh fillets were cut into bite-size pieces, stir fried with garlic and ginger, tossed with silken tofu and blanched spinach. A drizzle of fish sauce, light soy sauce and lemon juice were added and my chicken, tofu and spinach stir fry was ready.
Sounds simple, right? And it is. The key is building the flavors in layers. The chicken is seasoned before it goes into the frying pan. When the tofu cubes are tossed in, soy sauce and sugar are added to give the neutral tofu a balanced flavor. When the spinach is added, fish sauce is poured in to season the veggies. And, finally, lemon juice is drizzled over everything to create the perfect balance.
Why soy sauce and fish sauce? Can’t it be just one? Too much soy sauce will make the dish look too dark. Too much fish sauce will give a too pungent aroma. So, it’s soy sauce AND fish sauce.
Chicken, Tofu and Spinach Stir Fry
- 2 chicken thigh fillets (I kept the skin on)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 pinches cayenne
- 2 pinches chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
- 1/4 teaspoon dried chives
- 1 cake silken tofu cut into one-inch cubes and lightly fried
- 1 teaspoon vegetable cooking oil
- bunch spinach blanched and squeezed
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger minced
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic minced
- 1 onion diced
- 1 teaspoon patis (fish sauce)
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- juice of half a lemon
Cut the chicken into one-inch cubes. Season with the salt, pepper, cayenne, chili powder, thyme, tarragon and chives. Mix well.
Tip: If you can plan this dish ahead, you can season the chicken and leave to marinate in the fridge overnight. You can cut them later or cut them before seasoning.
Heat the cooking oil in a wok or frying pan.
Add the chicken cubes and stir fry until no longer pink. Add the onion, ginger and garlic. Continue stir frying for another two to three minutes.
Add the tofu cubes. Season with soy sauce sauce and sugar. Stir fry until the tofu cubes are heated through.
Add the spinach. Season with fish sauce. Stir fry for another minute until the spinach is heated through.
Turn off the heat. Pour in the lemon juice. Toss a few times. Serve the chicken, tofu and spinach stir fry at once.