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Mark Bittman’s Chicken with Coconut and Lime

0 Comments 01 March 2011

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By Lucy Cohen Blatter

I have a confession to make: I’m not crazy about chicken breasts. Okay, I realize this isn’t a major revelation, but for a cook/blogger who’s trying to stay healthy, it’s a bit of a challenge. Sure, I love breaded and fried chicken schnitzels — who doesn’t? But I much prefer dark meat, and often find skinless, boneless chicken breast recipes to be dry and boring.

That said, I have a lot of faith in Mark Bittman . The former author of the Minimalist column for The New York Times (and current op-ed writer) is all about simplicity. Like me, he often embraces substitutions, too.

And his recipe for Chicken with Coconut and Lime does not disappoint.

The recipe includes an optional addition of nam pla, or fish sauce. To keep this recipe strictly kosher, I omitted that. To up the healthiness of the dish I went with light coconut milk (canned, of course :)).

As an added plus, if your are looking for some new kosher recipes for your Purim Seuda, then this one is a great choice as a main dish!

You’ll see in the recipe below how I changed things up a bit (I discovered I was out of cayenne pepper right before I started cooking). Next time I might sprinkle some peanuts on top to add a little bit of crunch.

All in all, it was a great dish. Served with coconut rice (made with leftover coconut milk and water), and steamed broccoli, I felt transported to Thailand. And that’s a good thing.

This recipe had seven ingredients including salt. That’s my kind of dish.

The coconut milk, lime zest and salt just kinda hang out on the stove for a while.

Bittman advises against flipping the chicken breasts over in the broiler. The tip must have worked because the chicken was moist, but brown and crispy on top.

Pouring the creamy sauce on the chicken. YUM!

The final product. Paired with coconut rice and broccoli, it was perfect.

Mark Bittman‘s Broiled or Grilled Chicken with Coconut and Lime* (with Lucy’s edits)

Time: 20 minutes (I’d say it’s more like 25-30 minutes when you take into account reading along with the recipe)

  • 2 limes
  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts in 4 pieces
  • 1/2 cup canned or fresh coconut milk (I went with canned because on weeknights I’m looking for time savers)
  • Salt and ground cayenne pepper (I didn’t have any ground cayenne, so I substituted red pepper flakes. Totally  fine.)
  • 1 teaspoon nam pla, fish sauce (optional) (It’s difficult to find kosher fish sauce, and if you’re making chicken, forget about it. If you substitute fish for the chicken, though, and decide to use fish sauce, I’d hold off on adding salt. Nam pla is very salty)
  • 4 minced scallions
  • 1/4 cup minced cilantro.

1. Remove the zest from the limes, with either a zester or a vegetable peeler (if you use a peeler, scrape off the white inside of the zest with a paring knife). Mince the zest, and juice the limes. Marinate chicken in half the lime juice while heating broiler; adjust rack to about 4 inches from heat source. (Or grill the chicken if you prefer.)

2. Warm the coconut milk over low heat; season it with salt (hold off on this if you are using nam pla) and a pinch of cayenne. Add the lime zest.

3. Put chicken, smooth side up, on ungreased baking sheet lined with foil, and place the sheet in broiler. Add about half the remaining lime juice to coconut milk mixture.

4. When the chicken is nicely browned on top, in about 6 minutes more, it is done (if you want to be sure, make a small cut in the thickest part and peek inside). Transfer chicken to a warm platter. Add the nam pla, if you are using it, to the coconut milk; taste, and adjust seasoning as necessary. Spoon a little of the sauce over and around the breasts; then, garnish with the scallions and cilantro, and sprinkle with the remaining lime juice. Serve with white rice, passing the remaining sauce.

Yield: 4 servings

*Recipe from the New York Times

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