Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Mango and Coconut Chicken... Different.

Yesterday I FINALLY had another free evening. I was even home alone for most of the soirée and decided to use this time productively and take full advantage of the situation to try out something I had been musing about all day. It was a rainy day yesterday, just like all other days since last october, so I decided to make something that would remind me of the sun, and would keep me warm at the same time. There is nothing more summery or exotic than coconut, mango and the smell of sun-tan lotion. Of course I did not use the latter in my recipe. That's just a silly notion.

But no more sillyness, let's get down to business. What did I make? This might look like a regular curry but it really isn't. I made a coconut and mango sauce, using home-made mango puree. Because I didn't want to make yet another veggie-deficient dish I added some roughly chopped aubergines to the party! Because mango and coconut goes extremely well with chicken in my opinio,n I did exactly that: made chicken to go with it, and served the whole shebang with red rice, just to be different for once. Of course, you can serve it with white rice or brown rice, even black or pink... whatever you prefer ;)

What do you need? (2 people)

- 1 whole chicken breast (no skin)
- one cup of rice, cooked as per the instructions on the packet
- 1 can of coconut milk
- 1 small carton of coconut cream (not necessary, but makes the sauce somewhat thicker)
- 1 mango
- 1 tsp of curry powder
- 1 tsp of paprika powder
- 1/2 tsp of coriander powder
- a big handful of chopped coriander
- 1 lime
- 1 egg, whisked
- 1 cup of flour
- 300g of grated coconut or coconut shavings
- some olive oil
- oil for frying

What do you need to do?

Start by making your mango puree by halving the mango, removing the pit and placing it skin-side up in a baking tray which was slightly greased with coconut oil or olive oil, whatever you have handy. Leave it in the oven at 180°C for about 30-40 minutes until the flesh of the mango has become... yes: mushy!

Once they are mushy, scrape it out of the skin with a fork and a spoon, pureeing it manually and adding the puree to a pan with some olive/coconut oil. Throw in the cubed aubergine, curry, paprika and coriander as well as the coconut milk and cream. Carefully mix it all together with a wooden spoon, bring it to a vigorous bubble and finally leave it to simmer on a low heat. Make sure you season well with salt and pepper.

While the sauce is simmering away, becoming delicious, start on your chicken! Cut your chicken breast in chicken-finger sized parts. Each of these parts should be dipped in three things: the flour, the egg which has been whisked beforehand, and the grated coconut. The best way to do this is to set up your three plates or bowls and to one strip of chicken at a time, pressing the grated coconut well into the meat and laying it into a large dish or plate until you finish.

Next, you need to fry these coconut chicken fingers. Place a good layer of frying oil in the pan and allow it to heat. When the oil sizzles when you place a piece of chicken in it, you are ready to fry the rest. If you have to, you can fry the chicken in several batches to make sure the pieces don't stick to each other. You will know when to turn over your coconut chicken fingers when they start to become golden brown, let's say about 1-2 mintes per side.

When the chicken is ready, place in a dish which has been layered with kitchen roll, so the grease is removed. Season with some salt before serving.

I used red rice to go with my dish, because this type of rice has a nice bite to it. The texture went well with the dish overall and I recommend trying it out. Of course, if you are unable to find red rice, do not hesitate to use white rice.

Finally, serve with the rice, the sauce and some fresh coriander, drizzled with some lime juice.

I promise, this is really quite nice; warming and refreshing at the same time. The sauce is slightly sour and sweet which goes well with the saltiness of the coconut chicken, the sweetness of the coriander and the sweet but different acidity of the lime ;)

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