The trials and tribulations of a scatter-brained kitchen junkie.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Week 4 (Cooking) - Pan Frying Coconut Chicken & Mango Avocado Salsa

For the theme of pan frying I chose to make one of my favorite dishes of all time, coconut chicken. And because coconut chicken in incomplete without fantasimic sides to compliment it I made a big batch of mango salsa, and a side of cilantro & lime rice steamed white rice from the Chinese restaurant down the road. Can you say yum?

It looks a little dark, but it was perfectly crispy and moist. 

Mango Salsa

  • 3 mangos, peeled and sliced
  • 3-4 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 3 roma tomatoes, seeded & chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1-2 jalanpenos (according to your tastes) seeded if you prefer, diced
  • 2 avocados, peeled, chopped
    A handy trick for peeling avocados if you're lazy or not skilled with a knife (I am both) - remove the seed but leave on the skin. Create long slits lengthwise down the avocado avoiding piercing all the way through  peel. Flip it over onto the counter and pull. back the peel. It should release easily, leaving behind the strips of avocado.

    I felt like Macgyver when I figured this one out.
  • The juice from 2 limes
  • Pinch or two of salt

  1. Mix together the mangoes, cilantro, tomatoes, onion, and jalapenos.

  2. Pour the lime juice over the mixture.
  3. Sprinkle with salt.
  4. Stir.
  5. Taste, adjust jalapenos, salt, lime juice as needed.
  6. Add the avocados and toss gently. I add these last so that the rest of the mixing doesn't mash down the delicate avocado chunks.
  7. Chill for 2-3 hours if possible to allow time for the flavors to mingle.

    Mmmm, so delicious.

  8. Serve with chips, coconut chicken, ... just about anything works with this salsa.
The dicing/chopping aftermath.

Coconut Chicken

This recipe is obscenely easy, the term recipe is used very loosely.

  • Approx. 1/2 c flour, seasoned with garlic, black pepper, and salt; to taste
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Approx. 2 cups, sweetened flake coconut
  • 1 1/2 - 2 lbs chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • 1/2c vegetable oil - or any other preferred oil - for cooking

    The battering station.

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Put a large skillet over medium heat with cooking oil.
  3. Roll each piece of chicken in the seasoned flour mixture.
  4. Dip into the beaten eggs, coating fully. Allow excess to drip off.
  5. Roll the chicken in coconut, assuring a thick, even coating.

    Working down the assembly line.

  6. Set on a plate while you prepare the rest of the chicken pieces.
  7. When oil is sufficiently hot carefully place chicken pieces in oil, allowing room on each side of the strips of chicken.
  8. Cook for 1 - 1/2 - 2 minutes until coconut is browned evenly.
  9. Flip.
  10. Cooking the other side for roughly the same amount of time, removing when browned.

    This batch got a little dark for  pretty picture making, but I like it crispy.

  11. Remove pieces from oil, pat off excess oil using a paper towel and place a baking sheet  in an even layer with a small amount of room around each piece.
  12. Repeat with all remaining chicken.
  13. Bake for 10-12 minutes until centers are no longer pink and juices run clear.
  14. Move to a serving platter.
  15. Dig In.

As mentioned above, I had attempted to make a fun cilantro lime rice to go with this dish but two very awful things happened to prevent this from moving forward.

  1. I added add a 1/2 c lime juice as part of the liquid when making rice.  Never ever ever repeat this mistake. I thought I was doing something amazing to make super limey rice. It was absolutely terrible.
  2. My rice cooker decided it was cool to super overcook the rice into a giant vat o'mush. Way to go rice cooker, you saved me from having to admit to my family that I'd ruined the rice by adding a ton of lime juice to the mix. Instead I just got to say that the texture was the reason we weren't eating it. To be honest though, I'm not sure what was worse, the texture or the taste. It was bad. Really, really, exceptionally bad. 
This contains lime juice & fresh cilantro.
Do not ever do this to your poor rice, it didn't do anything to you.

My mom saved the day, and family dinner which I had haphazardly agreed to host, by running down the street to a local Chinese restaurant and picking up a few containers of white rice. They know how to make rice not suck, I apparently should be taking notes.


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