This Indonesian-inspired dish relies on kejap manis, which is a thick soy sauce sweetened with palm sugar. The sauce is very thick (like molasses) and dark in color and is used in a variety of Indonesian dishes, as a condiment or a marinade. It’s available online and in Asian and specialty food stores.
|1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes||2 large carrots, peeled and chopped|
|5 tablespoons kejap manis (see Note)||coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste|
|3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil||1 (12-ounce) package linguine (or dried udon noodles)|
|3 tablespoons minced shallot||1 tablespoon sambal oelek (see Note)|
|1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger||chopped fresh parsley or cilantro to serve (optional)|
Place the chicken cubes in a large zip-top bag, or a container with a lid, and add in 4 tablespoons of the kejap manis. Toss to combine and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray a 2-quart baking casserole with nonstick spray.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat (see cooking tip), add one tablespoon of the oil, and add the shallots, ginger, and chopped carrots. Season lightly with salt and pepper, and sauté the vegetables until slightly tender, about 5 minutes. Turn them onto a plate and set aside.
Return the skillet to medium heat, add another tablespoon of the oil, and when it’s hot add half the chicken (discarding the marinade). Saute until the chicken is nicely browned on all sides and almost cooked throughout, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken to the reserved vegetables. Repeat with the remaining tablespoon of oil, and the remaining chicken, then add that to the rest of the cooked chicken.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Generously salt the water and cook the noodles according to package directions, stopping just before they’re fully tender (this happens quickly, so play close attention). Before you drain the noodles, remove ½ cup of the cooking water.
Drain the noodles and return them to the pot.Turn the vegetable mixture into the pot along with the cooking water, cooked chicken, sambal olek, and remaining tablespoon of kejap manis, and stir to combine. When everything is well blended, turn it into the prepared baking pan.
Bake for 15 minutes until slightly browned on top. Serve hot, sprinkled with parsley or cilantro if desired.
Sambal Olek is an Indonesian red chili paste. Like kejap manis, it's available online and in Asian and specialty food stores.Cooking tip: A cast-iron or nonstick pan is great here, as the sugar in the kejap manis caramelizes fast and can stick to the pan.
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