Fiery hot sauce and Irish mythology provide the inspiration for this Cu Chulainn chicken recipe, a version of which came into my life at Nana's Pub in Nye Beach, leaving me craving for more.
Ready-made hot sauces can be easily incorporated into recipes. But, I wanted to come up with something I can throw together with some staples in my kitchen, to create that unique "secret house sauce". Well, not a secret anymore as I am sharing it here...
Although I like hot foods and have developed a fairly good tolerance, I do not like extremely hot sauces - like, full strength habañero sauce is quite unpalatable for me. So, this sauce here is as fiery as I can get to enjoying the food while still being able to taste the flavors. Can easily adjust the chilies/heat to suit your taste.
The chicken breast are marinated in red wine vinegar and a hint of soy sauce for about 15 minutes. Then, can be breaded and pan-cooked; or breaded and baked; or pan-seared, or baked plain; or simply boiled in water or stock till done. Then, cut the cooked chicken breasts into strips or long chunks. Or, chicken breasts can be cut into strips and then cooked in any preferred manner as well - it cooks faster. The version here uses no breading.
While the chicken is cooking, the sauce can be prepared. Finally, toss the sauce and chicken together and serve warm with brown rice and vegetables; or serve in a toasted multigrain bun with fixings like green leaf lettuce, tomatoes, and onions. Or, in pita pockets or wraps.
Of course, but for the inspiration for the name, there isn't much of Irish in the ingredients. But for the pequin and chipotle, the other chilies were quite mild varieties that I used, so, even though it looks like a recipe for chili sauce, it was quite flavorful thanks to poblano and the tomatoes.
2 medium chicken breasts, thawed, marinated, sliced and pan-cooked
1 Tbsp oil
Spring onions for garnish
salt to taste
For the Cu Chulainn Fiery Hot sauce:
4 whole chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
4 dried poblano chilies, reconstituted in water (mild and flavorful)
2 to 4 dried pequin or arbol chilies (tiny pequins are super hot)
4 to 6 dried mild yogurt-chilies* (mild variety)
1 Tbsp smoked paprika powder
½ cup canned stewed Mexican-style tomatoes
2 Tbsp plain white vinegar
*aka "Thayir Milagai", this is a staple in my mom's kitchen and is readily available in Indian stores; or, is easy to make in summer: simply slit any favorite fresh green chili and soak it overnight in a mixture of sour yogurt and sea salt; fish them out the next day, saving the yogurt-sea salt mixture, and dry the chilies out in the sun; repeat this process 3 or 4 more times by soaking overnight and drying out under the sun; when completely dry, store in an air tight container. Fried Thayir Milagai with yogurt rice was much-relished when I was young.
- Combine the hot sauce ingredients in a blender and blend to a smooth paste.
- Heat the oil in a pan, pour the sauce in (plus a little water if needed), stir well, cover and simmer on medium low till the sauce is flavorful, for about 6 to 8 minutes on medium heat.
- Add the cooked chicken pieces, stir well, garnish and serve warm.