Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Thai Style Coconut Chicken

Today started out rough.  My tablet kept closing apps on me, my hair wouldn't do anything, and I was frustrated.  I had been trying to do something with my hair for a couple hours, only to end up braiding the hair on both sides of my head into a ponytail.  I had originally planned on only doing my hair for a half hour, tops.  This was just before I was going to have lunch, so by the time I got done, I was pretty hungry.

I don't know about you, but when I'm frustrated, I don't want to be around people, and food I'd normally eat looks about as appetizing as moldy bread.  I saw my box of Panko crumbs in the cupboard, and remembered the coconut chicken fingers I made a while back.  That would take too much effort, so I googled for coconut chicken recipes.  I found Betty Crocker's Thai Style Coconut Chicken, and I decided to go for it.  I tweaked the recipe a bit, so I'm going to put it here.

Thai Style Coconut Chicken

1 T canola oil
1 lb. chicken breasts or tenderloins
1 T lime juice
1 clove garlic
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed
5 sprigs cilantro
4 basil leaves
1 can coconut milk
1 T packed brown sugar
1/2 t salt
2 T soy sauce
2 bell peppers
1/4 c shredded coconut

On a cutting board, cut bell peppers into about 1-inch squares, and set aside in a bowl.  Using the same cutting board, mince together the garlic, cilantro, jalapeno, and basil.  Set aside in a small bowl.  Using the same cutting board, cut your chicken into cube-size pieces.

HELPFUL HINT: If you use tenderloins, use a sharp filet knife to remove the connective tissue from the chicken (the thick pearly white stuff that looks like it goes straight down the tenderloin).  Tightly grasp the tissue in your non-dominant hand, and hold the knife at about a 45-degree angle, blade facing away from your non-dominant hand.  Using a firm hand, push down against the tissue with your knife, sliding it down the tissue.  This should remove 95% of the chicken from the tissue.

Preheat a wok or large skillet, and pour in the canola oil.  Add the chicken, and brown long enough that the chicken is no longer pink inside.  Add the minced herbs and garlic, and stir fry 1 minute.  Pour in the coconut milk, and stir in the brown sugar, salt, and soy sauce.  Add the peppers and coconut.  Lower the heat to medium, and cook 5-10 minutes, until peppers are slightly tender.  The longer you simmer, the more the flavor gets into the chicken.

You can serve this over rice.  I only had quick rice on hand.  This would be fantastic over jasmine rice, which has a slightly sweeter flavor.

The produce I used was from the garden in my back yard.  My bell peppers were slightly smaller than what you see in a grocery store, so take that as you will.  Also, the jalapeno was about 4 times bigger than what you see in the grocery store, so I just used about an inch and a half of it, since I don't care for spicy food.  You could saute some onions, add peas, or other foods to add some variety.


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