Chicken Papaya Long Rice

Grandma's kitchen

Grandma’s kitchen

When I am truly sick I don’t want just chicken noodle soup. I want one of the gingery chicken dishes I grew up eating when I was with the Filipino side of my family. Jonathan (The Canary Files) has a wonderful Tinola-Style Cabbage Stew that really takes me back. Even though Jonathan’s stew is vegan, it’s the ginger that does it for me.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you already know how much I love ginger and I try to keep my use of it toned down in recipes because not everyone likes the fire-y heat of a lot of ginger. However, ginger in a soup or stew sings comfort and my many grandmothers to me. I feel like I’m wrapped up in one of Grandma’s or Lelang’s (my great-grandmother) quilts.

Perhaps it’s fitting that I share this recipe now. It was a year ago I took the picture of Grandma’s kitchen. A year ago I flew home to be with my family as we buried her and said goodbye.

I can’t count how many times I ate at that little table or how many times I washed dishes at the sink. I can tell you I only burned my hand on the old stove (not the one in the picture) once. The coil was bright red and calling my name. My hand was on it before my aunties and uncles could stop me. Some lessons only need to be taught once. Right?

Okay, back to the food.

Chicken Papaya and Chicken Long Rice are two dishes I crave. I had the idea to combine the two because I wanted the green papaya and the “long rice.” It seemed silly to make both dishes when I could make it all in one dish and have a nice hot bowl of soupy goodness.

I’m rambling. My head is silently editing my next piece for Chocolate Wasteland while it is crafting this post. I’m talented like that. Sometimes.

A few notes before I get to the recipe. If you can’t find green papaya, use chayote squash. If you live anywhere near a Jungle Jim’s, that’s where I get mine. It is so green the flesh and seeds inside are white. They didn’t have any when I made this version of it so I went with the unripest papaya they had. Also I used rice threads in this, but I normally use mung bean threads for a nice translucent noodle. It is important that you use bone-in chicken thighs. The bones help develop a clean hearty broth.

Chicken Papaya Long Rice

Chicken Papaya Long Rice

Chicken Papaya Long Rice – serves 4

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil

1 pound bone-in chicken thighs

salt & pepper to taste

1 large green papaya, peeled, de-seeded, and diced

1/2 cup ginger, peeled & sliced

2 tablespoons patis (fish sauce)

2 tablespoons wheat-free tamari, or coconut aminos for soy-free option


5 – 6 ounces mung bean or rice threads (aka vermicelli)

Heat a large pot on medium high heat. Add the oil and coat the bottom. Season chicken with salt and pepper then add to the pot. Brown the chicken on both sides. Add the ginger in between the chicken thighs when you turn them. Add the green papaya, patis, tamari (or aminos), and enough water to just cover the chicken and papaya. Turn the heat down to medium low and simmer for 20 – 30 minutes. The chicken should be starting to fall off the bone. While the chicken and papaya is simmering, soak the bean/rice threads in boiling water for 7 minutes and drain. Add the noodles to the pot the last few minutes of simmering and stir in well.

This post is linked to 5-Ingredient Mondays at The Daily Dietribe. 


Ginger Spread

Homemade Ginger Spread

I had last weekend off.  This is a rare occurrence.  I was not scheduled for Saturday and for some reason I asked for Sunday off.  I have no clue why I asked for it off or if I was supposed to go somewhere.  If I was, oh well.

Chaz decided he wanted to go Jungle Jim’s on Saturday.  It is well established that we should never go to Jungle Jim’s together.  I end up stocking up on Tinkyada brown rice pastas.  Since we only use pasta every other week and we only go to Jungle Jim’s every few months, it’s usually necessary.   I found some good French wines I wanted to try along with some green mango (to soak in gluten-free shoyu – soy sauce for you Mainlanders) and green papaya (Chicken Papaya anyone?), and I looked for So Delicious dairy-free Greek yogurts.  I can’t even remember what Chaz got.  Bad wife?  No, I was on a mission after he told me where we were going.

Chaz found a jar of Ginger Spread while I was contemplating nut butters and deciding I just need to make my own.  If you’ve been following me on Instagram, I posted a picture of it and sent it to Twitter and my personal Facebook.  The spread is “for serious ginger lovers.”  I’m a serious ginger lover.  The majority of the Filipino dishes/soups I grew up loving contain ginger.  Just one slice of ginger can put something over the top.  Then there is the use of mostly just ginger when I get sick.  I boil it in water and let it steep.  I’ll then use that to make green tea or just drink it like that.  Ginger is my best friend in the kitchen some days.  I like to add it to juices and smoothies.  One of our fellow Aikidoka and friends opened up a restaurant (Yang-Kee Noodle) with some partners when we were in Louisville and still active in Aikido (and I was still pre-diagnosis).  They ran some tastings before opening to refine the recipes and we were lucky enough to be invited to one.  My favorite was the Ginger Chicken.  It was so full of ginger my mouth was on fire and I loved it.  I may not like the heat of hot peppers a lot, but I do love the fire of ginger, Chinese hot mustard, and wasabi.   They wound up reducing the amount of ginger in the final recipe because most of their customers would not be accustomed to that much ginger.  It was still good, just not as good as that first time to me.  I stopped eating there once I was gluten-free, but we always try to stop by when we are in town to see if our friend is working to say hi.

We looked all over that jar of Ginger Spread three to four times before we found the ingredient list.  Small print on the lid.  Seriously.  Ingredient lists should be more prominent.  I thought I was going crazy while I was looking for it.  I decided I could make it easily (and for cheaper) once I saw the ingredients.

My first attempt at making this involved grating the ginger on my ginger grater.  The result was good, but stringy.  The second attempt is my favorite.

Ginger Spread

5/8 cup ginger juice (I ran one entire giant root through my juicer)

1/4 cup raw local honey (or sweetener of your choice)

Place juice and honey in a small saucepan over low heat.  Vent a cover over the saucepan and allow to come to a boil.  Do not stir until the spread starts to thicken.  If you stir too soon, you will end up with clumps.  Take the pan off the heat once the spread is thick and reduced slightly.  Allow it to cool.

Now that you have Ginger Spread, what do you use it on or in?  I’ve been using it in my whole juices and just throwing some into the Vitamix along with the fruits and vegetables.  I also forgot to add ginger to something I made the other night.  How could I forget, right?  I know, I was kicking myself, too.  So, I used some of the spread.  It wasn’t the same, but it was a good sub in a pinch.  After taking the above picture and then pouring the spread into a container I was tempted to just pour some vodka or spiced rum in that martini glass.  I refrained, but I have no doubt that just a little of the spread would make a great addition to a cocktail.  I think it would make a great sauce for cocktail shrimp or Raw Veggie Spring Rolls.

Chocolate Ginger Chia Pudding

I decided it would also make a great addition to chia pudding.  I was inspired by my friend Johnna and her Chia Pudding in a Jar.  I’ve only made my chia pudding in a jar since she posted that recipe.  It’s just so flipping easy to do.  You could make this in a bowl or something and just make sure you stir it up every once in a while as it sets.  It’s not as fun as shaking the bejeebers out of a mason jar though.

Chocolate Ginger Chia Pudding

1 1/2 cups dairy-free milk

6 tablespoons chia seeds

1 tablespoon raw cacao powder

2 – 4 teaspoons Ginger Spread

sweetener of choice (optional)

Add all ingredients to a mason jar and shake vigorously.  Give the jar a shake every time you open the fridge for something.  It will be set in about 4 hours.

Grapple Juice

I had a little more than 16 ounces. So the rest went into one of my cute little liqueur glasses for this shot.

I had planned on sharing my Breakfast Tacos today.  However, the subject of smoothies kept coming up the last couple of days and I decided I need to share my whole foods juice with you and the reason why you’ve been seeing maca root powder in my smoothie recipes.

I learned Mom (Stick’s mom, not mine) loves when I share smoothie recipes.  That made my heart sing.  You see, I felt bad for only doing smoothie recipes for a while.  But that was what I was doing and it was easy to tweak my recipes before sharing since I make them almost daily.  Plus, my experiments with my cake and Meyer Lemon Bars haven’t quite hit home yet.  When all else fails, make a smoothie and pretend it’s ice cream!

Then, one of the guys at work joked with me about gluten-free being a fad (he had read my rant).  I promptly gave him the one finger salute.  So, that got us talking about fads and how smoothies are a fad for those that go and get the sugar loaded ones at fast food restaurants or smoothie joints.  I admit that I do like Jamba Juice when I’m on the left coast.  Stick will take me at least once when I’m visiting.  One sugar laden smoothie every few years won’t kill me.   Then what do you know, I walk into the break room before leaving work and one of my co-workers was in there sucking down one from Burger King and telling me how much she loves them.  I rolled my eyes after leaving.

See, this post was meant to be.

You may have noticed maca root powder in my smoothie recipes the last few months.  My dysmenorrhea drove me to it.  It reared its ugly head the second month after stopping The Pill over 3 years ago.  It’s the bane of my existence once a month.  Every month.  It was bad before I went on The Pill, too.  It was pretty much a guarantee back in high school that if it hit hard while I was at school, I was calling my mother to pick me up.  By hit hard I mean running to the bathroom with the feeling that I was on the verge of vomiting.  Sweating, clammy, nauseous, pain like you wouldn’t believe in my lower back and my abdomen.   I would spend the rest of the day in the fetal position.  One time the only time I could get any rest was to curl up on my parent’s waterbed.  So you can imagine how the return of all that was NOT fun after being on The Pill for almost a decade.  It’s been so bad that I had to call off for work 2 months in a row.  One of those months I was actually vomiting about every 10 minutes, even with nothing in my system.  It seemed to find something somewhere for me to bring back up.  I have seriously considered going back on it even though I don’t want to.  I hate calling off and only do it when I know I will not be able to function and be productive.

My doctor wanted me on Cramplex, but she didn’t know it was processed in the same facility as wheat (I found this out the hard way).  It helped the dysmenorrhea symptoms and I felt better like I was back on The Pill, but the gluten didn’t help.  She was mortified that she didn’t know about the gluten and apologized profusely.  She suggested finding something gluten-free with cramp bark extract in it.  And I did.  Several things.  None of them really worked.  It was while I was ordering some raw cacao powder from Navitas Naturals that I came across maca root powder.  I ordered some to try and started using it in my smoothies daily.

I have to make sure to use the right amount in order to get the results I want, and they are favorable.  I don’t always get it right and then I suffer for it.  I get up and get back on track and do well, until I slip again.  Hey, it happens.  It’s called life.

Maca is in the turnip family.  It is full of calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, manganese, iodine, copper, amino acids, plant sterols, saponins, terpinoids, fatty acids, and Vitamins B1, B2, B12, and C.  It is an adaptogen, which means it helps your body resist stressors going on within your body and environmentally.  It helps regulate your endocrine system – thyroid, hypothalamus, pituitary gland, pancreas, adrenal glands, thymus, ovaries, and testes.  It really is a whole body benefit.

Now you know why I’m using maca root powder in my smoothies and what it is when you see it.  I absolutely love it.

Are you ready for a recipe now?  This one does not have maca in it.  Sad?  Don’t be.  I have lots of smoothie recipes already on the blog and I will have many more in the future.

This whole foods juice recipe was developed in a fervor to use up some produce before it went bad and to finally make the foray into whole foods juicing.  Whole food juice is not the juice we grew up on, nor is the fresh juicing we spend oodles on with fancy contraptions.  This is throwing things in the blender and whizzing the heck out of it.  It’s thick and full of the dietary fiber your body can use to help counterbalance the natural sugars from making your blood sugar spike too fast.  Honestly, you make it thinner by adding more water to it if you want, but I haven’t done it because I want as big a nutrient punch as I can get.  I’ve learned that I need more containers for my VitaMix.  Between smoothies, whole foods juices, and dairy-free milks, one just isn’t enough!

Grapple Juice

1 small apple, cored and rough chopped

1 cup red grapes

2 teaspoons chopped ginger, or more or less depending on your tastes – I like more

Filtered water, or tap water if you don’t use a water filter

Place apple, grapes, and ginger in your blender.  Start blending until the fruit stops moving.  Stop the blender or, if you have a lid with a removable center, remove that while it is on and slowly pour in just enough water to get it moving.  If you want your juice a little thinner, add a little more.  Stop the blender once everything is blended well.  Pour in a glass and if you have more than 16 ounces, pour the extra into fun small glasses for your kids or into a popsicle mold for a healthy cold treat later.

If you’d rather have a smoothie:

Banana Papaya Smoothie

Chocolate Cherry Almond Smoothie

Green Chai Smoothie

Make It A Meal Smoothie

Peachy Keen Cinnamon Toast Crunch Smoothie

Super Berry Smoothie