Vietnamese Caramel Chicken Po Boy

As you probably are already aware, I have a few different ethnic cuisines that are my all-time favorites. Mexican, Thai, Indian, and well pretty much anything Asian. That includes Thai, Vietnamese, Malaysian, and Filipino. With hope, I pray that my kids who I cook for everyday grown up to realize that when they grow older. I’m not that guy who is serving up the same jive every week, rather I’m the dude who is serving them dishes, family style, from all over the world. I typically always do a take on this particular recipe as my entire family totally loves it, however it goes so fast that you wish you would have quadrupled the recipe or simply told the kids to slow down a bit. It’s that good. It’s Vietnamese caramel chicken, but instead of serving with a side of rice and some thinly sliced cucumbers, I made this into a po boy. I mean it’s the best of both worlds, right?

Vietnamese Caramel Chicken Po Boy Recipe
Vietnamese Caramel Chicken Po Boy Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients for the chicken and marinade:

  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cubed
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp canola oil

Ingredients for the sauce:

  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • pinch of salt, to taste
  • 1/4 cup of water

Ingredients for the sandwich:

  • Your favorite baguette
  • mayonnaise, optional
  • cherry or roma tomatoes, optional
  • head lettuce, thinly chopped
  • fresh cilantro, chopped, optional
  • 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced, optional

Sounds like a lot, but it’s really not as the ingredients for the marinade and sauce are essentially the same.

Start by combining all of your chicken and marinade ingredients into a mixing bowl or sealable plastic bag, and let this marinade for a at least a couple of hours in the refrigerator. Take the chicken out and have it come close to room temperature before you are ready to cook.

During this time, mix the sauce ingredients, and if you want, go ahead and prepare your sandwich ingredients. NOTE: The chicken cooks quickly, very quickly.

Vietnamese Caramel Chicken Po Boy Recipe
Vietnamese Caramel Chicken Po Boy Recipe

Get a large skillet out and heat it to medium-high heat. Let it heat up for a minute or two then add in the chicken. Don’t mess with the chicken. Let it do its thing for a couple of minutes, then start stirring it around. Cook the chicken for about 7 minutes, then turn on your kitchen vent and add in the sauce. Stir, coating the chicken and cook quickly. The sauce will thicken and get nice and sticky. Once that happens, remove the skillet from the heat.

Whatever you do, don’t start eating the chicken yet. It’s so darn addictive that you may end up not having enough to make a sandwich!

Now it’s time to make the sandwich. Lather both sides of your sandwich with mayonnaise. to the bottom, add the shredded lettuce and tomatoes. Top with a bunch of the caramelized chicken, then top with cilantro and jalapenos. Almost a banh mi style without the pickled elements. Fold, push down on the sandwich, and open wide.

This sandwich is awesome. Sticky chicken packed with great Asian flavors really knocks this one out of the park. Hope you enjoy!

Thai Peanut Butter Toast

I have no idea why I don’t eat peanut butter more often because every time I do I totally love it. My kids probably eat peanut butter once a day. I don’t know if that is due to convenience or the fact that they love it as well. So one early afternoon I decided I wanted to have lunch. I wanted something Thai, but nothing that would take too long, plus my appetite was not all that fierce due to the cancer treatment I have been going through. Looking through the pantry, I noticed some really good and hearty bread that I had bought for my wife, that delicious creamy peanut butter, some Thai infused honey, and then some Thai bird chilies. I knew that I would get the best of everything by creating what I call Thai Peanut Butter Toast. Whoa is this every good.

Thai Peanut Butter Toast Recipe
Thai Peanut Butter Toast Recipe

I could have stopped at just peanut butter toast with a drizzle of that honey but I wanted to go further, and boy was I glad I did.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 slice of your favorite bread, toasted
  • 2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp Thai infused honey
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 whole Thai bird chilies, chopped (seeds removed is optional)
  • 1 tbsp roasted peanuts
  • 1/2 lime, squeezed

It doesn’t get any easier to make. Take your peanut butter and lather it onto your slice of toast. Sprinkle on the peanuts, Thai chilies, cilantro, and honey, and squeeze the lime juice over the top.

Thai Peanut Butter Toast Ingredients
Thai Peanut Butter Toast Ingredients

Plate and serve.

The result is everything I love about warm toast and creamy peanut butter. You know… when it drips down your hand? Then you get these pops of awesome spice from the chilies, freshness from the lime and cilantro, and that texture from the roasted peanuts.

Thai Peanut Butter Toast Recipe
Thai Peanut Butter Toast Recipe

This is a real winner, especially if you like a bit of spice. Feel free to reduce the chilies to one if you desire, or remove the seeds from them, but the balance of flavor is a tough one to compete with on this awesome snack.

Thai Style Honey

Thai honey… I know, big deal right? It is what you do with it that gets really, really good. We were running out of honey so I decided I pick some up at our local farmers market. The vendor had plenty to chose from but we decided to pick up a ‘standard’ batch of local honey. My wife typically uses honey in her teas but I typically use it in my cooking. That’s when I thought I would take some of that honey and infuse it with some Thai flavors.

Thai Style Honey Recipe
Thai Style Honey Recipe

This is so easy to make, stores well in the refrigerator, and is perfect drizzled on salads, pizza, or sandwiches.

Let’s get started.

  • 1 cup of honey
  • 3 Thai bird chilies (less for less heat)
  • 1 inch of lemongrass

Add the ingredients to a small pot, and cook on low for about 30 minutes. This will allow for those flavors to infuse the honey.

Thai Style Honey Recipe
Thai Style Honey Recipe

Pour into a sealable container, and place in the refrigerator until it is ready to be used.

The result is a great, sweet honey with just the right amount of spice. Your guest will be questioning what the heck it is, especially with that note of lemongrass. Hope you enjoy!

Spam and Avocado Toast

You know the buzz… Avocado toast. It’s all the rage, and to be honest, I can’t blame the rage. Avocado toast in itself is delicious, and avocados are typically on our counter during the week. So as I was sitting around one late morning, I noticed an avocado, a ripe one that was ready for the taking, and as I got up to look around to see what I could make with this lonely avocado, I decided I would do my spin on an avocado toast. Let me introduce to you the Spam and Avocado Toast recipe.

Spam and Avocado Toast Recipe
Spam and Avocado Toast Recipe

Now I know what you are probably thinking right now. Spam? Yes, spam. I’ve dabbled with spam over the years, and as some may frown on the idea of spam, I actually have grown to like it, especially when cooked properly. Properly, meaning nice and crispy. There are two reasons I decided to use spam in this recipe. One is that I did not have bacon (I know, I know…) and two, I had spam! This combination was actually really delicious, and if you did not know that it was spam, I think you would probably agree.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 piece of sturdy bread such as a whole wheat or 12 grain, toasted
  • 1 whole avocado, lightly mashed, or to your liking
  • 1/2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 cup, spam, cubed and cooked until crispy
  • 1/2 cup of cucumber, seeds removed, chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper, to taste

Start by marinating your cucumber. To a bowl, add the sesame oil, chili flakes, soy sauce, and give a good mix.  Add the cucumbers, give a gentle stir, and set them to the side.

Now the spam. To a small skillet add the oil on medium to high heat. Let that oil come to temp for a minute then add in the cubed spam. Stir and cook the spam until it is nice and crispy.

Avocado Toast Recipe
Avocado Toast Recipe

During this time, get your avocado ready. To a small bowl, open that avocado, being careful not to slice open your palm (yep, people are doing it based on this whole avocado toast thing), and scoop it into the bowl. Use a fork and lightly mash it adding some salt and pepper to your taste.

Check that spam. Crisp? Cool. Remove it from from the heat and lets toast the bread.

Pop the slice of bread into the toaster and get it nice and golden brown. Toast it so it holds up to everything when you build the spam and avocado toast.

OK, lets build this baby. Take the slice of toast, spread on that avocado, layer on the on the cucumber (and only the cucumber) and crispy spam, and get ready to eat.

You tell me, but when you take a bite of this avocado toast, you will be blown away. That crunch and softness from the spam, the crispness and spice from the cucumber, and the creaminess from the avocado, all in a handheld bite sized form. Yep, I’m sold. It’s good, and good enough to have you questioning (possibly) why you haven’t been eating spam all of this time. Enjoy!