Friday, February 26, 2010

Chili-Coconut-Chicken



I am so sorry that this is the only photo of this recipe, that the lighting is harsh, the colors are less than appealing and my styling abilities were all but present last night.  Aside from all that, and aside from the fact that you can see the uninspired gold and white mottled Aborite counter-top beneath the bowl, I had to post this photo, and subsequently, the recipe.  Even now, just the memory of the flavor of the dish is enough to elicit unrelenting hunger pangs and copious amounts of drool, (and I only just made it last night!)  The cherry on the cake of this recipe lies in the fact that aside from having to collect a handful of ingredients you may not readily have in your kitchen, this dish is so simple, so lush with exotic flavor and so hearty, you may just want to make it every night of the week!  Seriously, you'll want to make it for your friends, definitely for your family, share it with your neighbors and especially with your mother-in-law.  

Here's what you will need:

(I adapted several bits of this recipe from Rice, Spice and all Things Nice to account for some ingredients I couldn't find and to accommodate the ingredients I already had at home.)

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 cloves of garlic, grated
a 2 - 3cm piece of fresh ginger, grated
good pinch of ground cardamom
a couple tablespoons of butter
*3 teaspoons of sour cream
splash of cream
1/2 cup of dehydrated skim milk (just trust me)
*5-6 green chilies (seeded and chopped) 
1 can of coconut milk
salt and pepper to taste


*I used Jalepenos, they are so abundant at the grocery store right now for some reason and honestly, I never know what 'green chili' means anyway.  Jalepenos fit the bill, they're green, and they're a chili, perfect!

*Again, adapt this recipe for what you already have at home, plain yogurt works wonders in place of sour cream, and the splash of cream mentioned can easily be replaced with milk or even chicken broth.  Play around with what you have and what you like, the more you use ingredients you already have in the fridge and cupboard the more money you save on groceries and the more creative you get to be with the recipes!

Here's what you need to do:

About an hour or so before you would like to start cooking, place 4 chicken breasts in a medium bowl or baking dish.  To the bowl, add the grated garlic, the grated ginger, a pinch of ground cardamom and the pepper.  Mix thoroughly until all the chicken pieces are coated.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for 30 minutes or up to one hour.  I had to tackle the mound of dishes in the sink so I left the chicken to absorb the garlic, ginger and cardamom flavors for about an hour and twenty. 

Once you think the chicken has absorbed enough flavor, take the bowl out of the fridge and let the chicken start to come up to room temperature while you melt the butter in a large, deep-sided dutch oven or sauce pan.  

Once the butter has melted and is hissing at you, add the chicken and brown each piece on all sides.  When the chicken hits the sizzling butter, the most wonderful aroma will rise up from the pan, teasing your senses... with such a simple marinade, it is amazing how delicious the chicken will smell at this point!

Once the chicken has been browned on all sides, turn the heat down to medium low and add the sour cream, a splash or two of cream and the dehydrated milk.  Stir everything together to mix the milk powder into the liquid and once a sauce begins to form, allow everything to simmer for a few moments. 

At this point, add the can of coconut milk and the chilies and stir to combine.  Simmer the chicken and coconut broth on medium-low heat for about 10 - 15 minutes until the coconut milk has become hot, the chicken is fully cooked and the broth has absorbed all the flavors in the pan.  Test the broth at this point for seasoning and adjust as needed.  

Serve the finished chicken and sauce over plain rice with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro for a fresh garnish.

Alternatively, coconut rice would be equally delicious and would take the depth of flavors in the sauce right over the top.  Instead of or in addition to cilantro, a garnish of crisp toasted coconut shards would make for a distinct and contrasting topping!  Oh the possibilities... 

I cannot say enough about how easy or how fabulously delicious this dish is, only that I am typing as fast as I can to finish this post before I heat up and devour the left-overs!  

Happy eating!

2 comments:

tasteofbeirut said...

Nikki

I just discovered your blog and I love the recipe because it is simple yet flavorful! I get easily discouraged with curries and such due to the sheer enormity of spices so this one is perfect! I can whip it in no time, thank you!

Nikki said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog! I am glad that this recipe suits your fancy! Hopefully you will like it, and i hope to have a new post up sooner rather than later... lately, I have had my hands so full... now, what's for dinner...?