IMG_5779.JPGWe tried a new dish yesterday in the greedy house. I chose to cook this particular recipe because it contains a lot of vegetables…coriander (a herb that I can’t get enough of at the moment) and pineapple – very underused in this kitchen in my opinion, and a favourite fruit of mine. However, I knew the other half would be expecting some sort of meaty replenishment after a hard day, and luckily it has that too.

With the kids on half term holiday and constantly around my feet for twelve hours plus a day (exhausted isn’t the word), it needed to be something fairly straightforward. This little gem was nestling in our trusty ‘Save with Jamie’ book (how it’s still in tact, I don’t know) where you can find the full ingredients list and cooking method.

To make our version of this meal (serves two/three generously) you will need:
– Six chicken thighs (skinless/boneless)
– Olive/sunflower oil
– Two garlic cloves (finely sliced)
– One onion (finely sliced)
– One carrot (finely sliced)
– Half a Chinese cabbage (finely sliced)
– Two fresh red chillies (finely chopped/deseeded if desired)
– Two heaped teaspoons of Chinese five-spice
– One tablespoon of runny honey
– One 227g tin of pineapple rings (in natural juice – chopped into half a centimetre cubes)
– One tablespoon of soy sauce
– One tablespoon of white wine vinegar
– One heaped tablespoon of cornflour
– Five nests of dried fine egg noodles
– One 400g tin of black beans (rinsed/drained)
– Optional but recommended – half a bunch of fresh coriander (to garnish) and a lime.
– Salt and black pepper

Method:
– Firstly toss the chicken thighs with half of the five-spice powder and a good pinch of seasoning. Flatten with your fist and put in the fridge to marinate for at least fifteen minutes.
– Place the chicken in a large pan and fry using a little oil for around ten minutes or until cooked through. Turn regularly and drizzle with the honey for the last minute.
– Plate the chicken and put to one side, keeping warm. Return the pan to the heat.
– Put the pineapple into a bowl with their juice, the soy sauce, vinegar and cornflour. Mix well and put to one side.
– Next, cook the noodles according to the packet instructions (usually 2-3 minutes), drain (reserving some of the cooking water) rinse with cold water and set to one side (I find that a little oil tossed through helps it to stop sticking).
– Add a little oil to the drained black beans, along with the rest of the five-spice. Mix well in a bowl.
– Wipe around the pan with some kitchen paper and throw in the beans. Cook on a high heat for approximately five minutes. They should be crispy and also burst. Remove from the pan and keep warm in a very low oven until needed.
– Add the garlic, onion, carrot, cabbage and chilli into the pan. Toss for around two minutes on a high heat, before adding the pineapple. At this point, add in the noodles and a little of the reserved cooking water to loosen too.
– Season to taste with soy sauce.
– Slice the chicken on a board, divide equally and serve on a bed of the noodles with a generous scattering of the black beans and a handful of coriander leaves.
– Finish with a good squeeze of lime, and serve.

This really does meet your ‘five a day’ requirements – the vegetables make it a very filling but also revitalising dinner. I particularly liked the sweetness on the chicken from the honey, against the kick of the sliced chilli. Then, you also get a subtle sweetness from the pineapple running through the noodles…with a salty crunch of a black bean in every other mouthful.

I would certainly opt in for the coriander and the lime juice to freshen and lift it all at the end. A very diverse dish in terms of colours, textures and flavours.

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