Thai Chicken with Cashew Nuts and Dried Chiles

Thai Chicken with Cashew Nuts and Dried Chiles

3 or 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon coriander paste
1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
5 dried red chiles
1/2 cup roasted unsalted cashew nuts
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 tablespoon nampla (fish sauce)
2 tablespoons ground red chili sauce or fiery dipping sauce
Hot white rice (enough for four servings)
Green onions (for garnish)

Slice the chicken breasts into one inch strips, and rub each strip with a small amount of coriander paste. Let stand for about 20 minutes (chop the vegetables while waiting).

Heat oil in a wok or large skillet, over medium-high heat. Fry the chiles until they become crisp. Remove the chilies from the oil, and chop them as finely as possible ? wearing rubber gloves is advised. Add the chicken to the oil, and stir-fry for about 5 minutes, or until no pink color can be seen. Add the onion and celery and stir fry for another 2 to 3 minutes. Stir together the nampla and hot sauce, pour over the chicken, and stir fry for an additional 2 minutes. Arrange white rice on a serving platter, and serve chicken over the rice. Sprinkle the cashews and chopped chilies over the chicken, and garnish with green onions (chopped or curled). Serves 4.

Coriander Paste
1/2 cup finely chopped coriander root
1/2 cup finely chopped garlic
1/2 tablespoon white pepper
1 teaspoon salt

Grind all ingredients with a mortar until you have a smooth paste. Store in refrigerator, well covered.

A few tips
This dish is HOT!!! You may want to omit the chiles and allow each person to add them to their own taste.

Gloves are strongly advised when handling the dried chiles. No matter how many times or how vigorously you wash your hands, some of the oil will remain, and if you happen to touch your eyes, they will be red for hours.

Any ingredients that you cannot find in your regular grocery store (nampla, Thai hot sauce, dried red chiles) are readily available at any Oriental grocery.