Sunday, January 30, 2011

Coconut Chicken

Who randomly has coconut milk, tamarind and macadamia nuts in their kitchen? Apparently we do. This dish is definitely worth the extra trip to find the tamarind (it took us a few weeks of us to locate it when I wanted to try out another Thai dish some time back).

The recipe I used claims Balinese origin; however, the flavors are reminiscent of a Thai yellow curry.

Adapted from The South Beach Diet Cookbook by Arther Agatston, M.D.

serves 4

The Ingredients
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 lb chicken breast tenders
1 Tbsp chicken broth
1 med onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3/4 tsp dried cilantro
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp freshly grated lemon peel
1/8 tsp ground cumin
pinch of ground turmeric
1 cup light coconut milk (no sugar added)
2 Tbsp macadamia nuts, finely chopped
1 tsp sugar substitute
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
1 Tbsp tamarind paste
2 tsp water

The Process
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 5 minutes per side or until browned and no longer pink. Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside.

Heat the broth in the same skillet. Add the onion, garlic, cilantro, ginger, lemon peel, cumin, and turmeric and cook for 5 minutes or until the onion is tender but not browned.

Stir in the coconut milk, nuts, sugar substitute and red pepper. Return the chicken to the skillet, cover and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

Remove the chicken to a plate. Do not discard the sauce. In a small bowl combine the tamarind paste and water. Stir into the sauce in the skillet and gently boil to thicken.

Divide the chicken among four plates. Top with sauce.

My Modifications:
I opted for fresh cilantro over the dried stuff as I still had a plethora on hand.

The tenders I used too far less time to cook than the recipe called for.

I'm uncertain of the tamarind paste the test cooks used, but the paste I found was more of a compressed block of the pods...seeds, shell, pulp and all. In previous recipes I've cut off about a 1 oz/1Tbsp chunk and set it aside in1/4 cup of hot water for about 15 minutes. After a bit of mashing with a fork, I removed the obvious shell and seed bits. What remained was about 2 Tbsp of a thick tamarind sauce...about the consistency of steak or Worcester sauce. This is water I ended up adding to the sauce at the end.

I also felt no need to remove the chicken at the end, instead opting to add the tamarind right into the entire dish and letting all of the flavors meld.

The review:
The curry was very bright, and I don't mean the color...if that makes any sense. The tamarind, ginger and lemon peel all contributed to a crisp, clean flavor, without being overly sour. Ross and I were both whisked away to memories of curries we had shared in Hawaii...whether it was from a whole in the wall vendor, or cloth napkin establishment. It was comforting and nostalgic food. And I'd imagine the recipe is fairly adaptable (as most curries are) to any number of meat or veggie substitutions.

No comments:

Post a Comment