Thursday, September 25, 2014

Thai Style Grilled Chicken Sandwiches With Sweet Chili Slaw

I know Summer over, but we enjoy sandwiches as an evening meal almost as often as we do for lunch, all year long. Your basic PB&J or grilled cheese on white bread or a simple ham and cheese on a hard roll are perfectly fine for a quick mid-day meal, but if we're going to be having a sandwich for dinner, I like to try to put something together that's a bit more substantial, yet doesn't require turning on the oven and won't leave me with a big old pile of dirty dishes to contend with at the end of a long day. This is one of those sandwiches. The beauty of this sandwich is that each of the components is pretty good on its own, but together, well.... let's just say that I really believe I have a real winner with this one.

I'm not always so specific about brand names in the recipes that I post, but one of the ingredients in this recipe is significantly different from every other brand that I've ever tried. It might seem like a subtle difference if you're comparing color or consistency... but it's the difference in flavor that's important, so I felt that I should mention it up front before I get on with the ingredient list and directions.

So... just what, exactly, is this important, mysterious ingredient that I'm going on about? Well, it's an Asian Sweet Chili Sauce called Mae Ploy and the reason that I'm going on about it so fervently is because it might not be available in your area or supermarket.  That is important because it's an integral part of the flavor profile of this sandwich and its ingredients. I've seen it on Amazon and a few other sites and also at some larger Walmart stores I've been to, both here in NY and in other states.

But, never fear!!! Since it is so important and I've made such a big deal about it, I've figured out a way that you can still get the kind flavor that it gives to the finished dish, if you can't find the Mae Ploy brand in your area and/or you don't care to purchase goods and services through the interwebs!!

This is how to do it:

Just add 1 level teaspoon of toasted sesame oil and a small clove of (crushed or pressed) garlic to each 1/4 cup of any decent brand of Asian Sweet Chili Sauce that is available to you.

There... Now we can get on with the recipe!

Sweet Chili Slaw
  • 1 Regular Bag Slaw Mix (or 1/2 Family Sized Bag)
  • 1 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 1/4 Cup Mae Ploy Sweet Chilli Sauce (they spell it with 2 l's)
  • 1Tbls Light Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbls Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tsp Sugar
  • 1/2 Tsp Celery Salt
I always make the slaw first, so it's flavors get a little while to really marry well.

Place your slaw mix in a medium-sized mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the rest of the ingredients until well incorporated.

Pour the dressing onto the slaw mix and toss together until all of the slaw is coated well. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or it's perfectly fine to leave it overnight. Wait!!! Don't put the Mae Ploy away just yet. It's in the marinade for the chicken as well!

Before we move on, I just have to say...
It is not my desire, in any way,  to come across as all full of myself... but my hubbs will gladly attest to the fact that this slaw (on its own) is the best I've ever made. Hands down. In all honesty, I didn't start out to showcase the slaw itself. My goal was really just to create something that was both creamy and crunchy to top the Thai inspired chicken sandwich that I'd thought up a day or two before. But, there's something that the Mae Ploy adds to this traditional Summer BBQ side dish that I never expected and I sincerely doubt that I'll ever make coleslaw without it again.

Hubby's exact words: "This coleslaw is so good, our family and friends will be begging you to make it for every single party from now on."

Thai Style Grilled Chicken
(This is almost too easy... It's practically the same ingredients as the slaw dressing.)
  • 4-6 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (or thighs, if you prefer)
  • 1/4 Cup Light Olive Oil (or other light cooking oil)
  • 1/4 Cup Mae Ploy Sweet Chilli Sauce
  • 1 Tbls Light Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbls Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp Celery Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp Black Pepper
Trim the chicken of any leftover fat or other bits, if needed. Using the tip of a sharp paring knife, pierce the chicken pieces several times, going all the way through the meat. (this is my secret to super tender, extra flavorful chicken and just about any other meat)

Whisk the rest of the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and add the chicken, turning it over several times to fully coat it with the marinade. Cover the bowl with cling wrap or place the meat along with all of the marinade in a large zip-top bag, seal it tight and refrigerate for an hour or two. I don't recommend leaving it for longer than two hours, because the acid in the rice vinegar will begin to break down the meat too much and it will start to become a bit mushy. (for lack of a better word. lol)

After the marinating time is up, remove the chicken and grill it on your outdoor grill or a grill pan on your stove top. You can also broil the chicken in your oven, but I can't say that I'd recommend baking it. You could try it, but I'd watch it very closely and check the internal temperature after 20 minutes or so, making sure not to go over 170 degrees F.

Baking is a "dry" method of cooking and therefore, meats can get tough and they can dry out if they are over-baked. (and remember... meats will continue to cook after they're taken out of the oven and this can increase in temperature up to 5 degrees F.)

To Assemble The Sandwich:

The Hubbs likes to slather his with Sriracha before placing the top on, but I'm a card-carrying wimp when it comes to hot, spicy foods. If you're even more adventurous, you can add some thinly sliced Thai chilies or any other type of hot pepper that you like. I think the Hubbs has experimented with pickled jalapeno slices and enjoyed it, but he prefers the Sriracha. I believe it's a continuity thing, because of the Sriracha's Asian flavor profile.

Just split the roll/bun in half lengthwise and if you'd like to, you can toast it or throw it on the grill for a minute before continuing. I've done it both of those ways and I like it equally as well either way.

Slice the grilled chicken on the diagonal and arrange the slices on the bottom half of the roll. Spoon up a generous amount of the Sweet Chili Slaw on top, place the top half of the bun on and serve or eat!

You can slice the sandwich in half diagonally before serving as well, but if you do, I'd strongly suggest securing each half with a toothpick. Once that slaw is on top, it can be a slippery little bugger. LOL

For some reason, I tend to gravitate toward a nice hearty Ciabatta roll when I make a sandwich with grilled meat(s), but if you prefer a Hoagie/Submarine roll or a Hard/Kaiser roll, those will work well too. I think I like the Ciabatta rolls because they have lots of little air pockets to soak up the yummy juices from the meat and/or any condiments or sauces that you put on top.

Make sure to have plenty of napkins on hand, too! :)
As you can see, we like the slaw so much, we usually have a bit more on the side as well. :)
This slaw isn't just for this particular sandwich. Whip up a batch and bring it to or serve it at your next barbecue or potluck dinner. Fair warning, though... It's so different and so much better than a "traditional" coleslaw, be prepared for people to ask for the recipe. (I'm saying this based on personal experience)


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  1. Oh, heavens to Betsy!!! I am SO pinning this!!! I just ate, but looking at this and reading your description of it all just worked up a 2nd round appetite! I like slaw, and I'm willing to try something new and different to kick it up a notch. I wonder how it would taste with broccoli slaw? I have some in the fridge with no particular destination in mind, so I might give it a try along with an actual cabbage slaw. Mmmmmm.....I'm getting excited about it! I'll look at the Asian market about 30 minutes from here to see if they have this Mae Ploy since I'd have to go there for decent rice vinegar anyway.

    I DO like my food spicy! The spicier the better as far as I'm concerned!!! I'll have to try the sandwich without and then with. That may require my eating 2 sandwiches, but it's for research so it's OK! ;-) Actually, this very meal would have been great with the tablescape I did this past week!!! Uh oh...I smell a party comin' on!

    Have a great weekend, and thanks for the awesome recipes!!!

    1. LOL! I think you'd love these Alycia! If you like the spicy stuff, then definitely drizzle a little Sriracha (or your favorite hot sauce) on before popping the top on. Hubbs is the hot sauce connoisseur in our humble abode and he likes the Sriracha for this sandwich because of it's Asian flavors. You're so lucky to have an Asian market nearby! Of course, our local grocery stores have pretty extensive Asian sections, but we have to travel about 30 miles away for the nearest authentic market. I think a broccoli slaw would work very well and I'd even recommend shredded bok choy or kholrabi and some slivered water chestnuts as an addition. I'll have to stop by and check out your recent tablescape. Knowing you, I'm sure it's just gorgeous! Just let me know when that party is, so I can get my plane tickets! LOL Have an awesome rest of the weekend, my friend! :)


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