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

water

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. 

Simply Spinach

Simple Spinach

There was a time when I did not like spinach even with Popeye singing to me how good it was for me.  I didn’t care for it.  As I got older and started cooking for my parents and siblings, I started experimenting with it.  Spinach has been my friend now for many years.  All that potassium, iron, Vitamins A, K, E, C, B2, B6, folate, zinc, magnesium, calcium, folic acid, protein, copper, phosphorus, niacin, manganese, selenium, and omega-3 fatty acids.  No wonder why it’s my go-to green for my smoothies. I use other greens like kale, mustard greens, chard, and dandelion greens, too.  Spinach just happens to be the one I use most often.  I can use it fresh or frozen.

I decided to make gluten-free kal-bi for Memorial Day (since I had the day off) while making my menu for the week.  I started thinking up sides for the kal-bi and decided on Korean style cabbage & watercress, and my take on the Japanese-style spinach that Chaz used to make but a more toned down version.  Not to mention gluten-free version.

This is fairly easy to make and while I was using some frozen spinach for another dish tonight, I realized that if you really wanted to, you could use frozen spinach at room temperature for this.  You can even prep the spinach ahead of time and keep it in the fridge until you are ready to put it all together.

Simple Spinach (serves 6)

1 bag fresh spinach leaves (about 5-6 ounces)

Water

Wheat-free tamari

Sesame seeds

Bonito flakes

Boil water in a large pot and add spinach for about 2 minutes, until all the leaves are wilted and bright green in color.  Drain in a colander and let cool.  Wring out the rest of the water once it is cool.  Take the spinach to a cutting board and shape into a long roll.  Cut into 6 pieces.  Place pieces on one of the cut ends.  Add (in order) a few drops of wheat-free tamari (you can add more depending on how salty you want it), 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon sesame seeds, and 1 teaspoon of bonito flakes (I had to crush mine up some since ours are large flakes) to the tops of each piece of spinach.  Serve cold or at room temperature.

This post is linked to The GFE Virtual Gluten-free Support Group for April at gluten-free easily.