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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Coconut Chicken and Curried Coconut Wild Rice with Peppers and Dried Fruit

Finals are done.  Thank goodness.  I honestly don't know how I made it through this semester.  I know that my grades are going to reflect how I was personally feeling over the past few months, but I've decided just to accept this.  A person can't force themselves to feel better or to snap out of it.  Nor can a person force their brain to  learn/comprehend anything that it doesn't want to comprehend.  I just hope that I don't get penalized too badly for my efforts this semester.  I tried; I really did.  Not only that, but I've realized that I struggle during the spring semester.  I struggled last year, I struggled this year.  Hopefully, I can adjust next year's spring term to be a bit more exciting so I don't feel like I am constantly trudging through mud piles.

Enough of that.  Let's talk about this meal!  Wow!  It was amazing.  I made this last week when Ron was in Seattle.  It began as a simple rice meal.  I initially began by mixing up the rice and eating it separately for lunch, then dinner, then lunch again.  (The recipe said it yielded 2 servings, but I think they may have been referring to elephant servings.)  Then I realized that I had leftover coconut milk to use, was sick of eating just rice, and I decided it might be worth it to add some type of protein with the rice.  So, I looked on the Thai Kitchen website and found a recipe for some coconut chicken.  I omitted the peppers from the original chicken recipe because there was so much in the rice.

This was delicious.  It also tasted very ethnic so I felt like I was branching out from my comfortable zone.  I'm starting to like the taste of thai food!  I may have to start searching for a decent Thai restaurant in the Twin Cities to see how my cooking is living up to the hype.  I definitely suggest checking this recipe out.  It takes a bit to prepare and there might be more hands-on time than that involved with a quick week-day meal, but it is very much worth it.
Coconut Chicken and Curried Coconut Wild Rice
adapted from Anja's Food for Thought and Thai Kitchen
Yield:  Rice (about 4-5 large servings) & Chicken (4)
For Rice:

  • 1 c brown rice (uncooked)
  • 1 c water
  • 1 c coconut milk (I used RF)
  • 1/2 c dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/2 c dried cranberries (or raisins, currants or cherries)
  • 1/2 c slivered almonds
  • 1/4 c coconut flakes (unsweetened)
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • Bell peppers:  1 each of red, green, yellow / chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp grated orange peel
  • 1 tsp grated lime peel
  • salt and pepper

For Chicken:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • bell peppers:  1 each of red and green / chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (14 fl. oz) coconut milk
    • I only used about 1/2 can (whatever was leftover from my coconut rice)
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (more or less depending on spice preference)

For Rice:

  1. Place brown rice, water and coconut milk in a pan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer until all liquid is absorbed and rice in tender.  (This will depend on the rice you are using, anywhere from 30-45 minutes.)  Set aside.
  2. In the meantime, combine the chopped dried fruit in a bowl.  Pour bowling water over the fruit and let it stand for 15 minutes or until the fruit is plump.  Drain and set aside.
  3. Toast the slivered almonds in a dry pan over medium heat for 5-10 minutes or until slightly browned.  Set aside.
  4. In a deep, heavy bottomed bowl, heat the oil and cook the onions and bell peppers.  Keep stirring.  When onions are softened (about 5 minutes), reduce the heat to medium.  Add the ginger, garlic, spices, orange and lime peel and cook for about 1 minute.  Stir in the cooked rice, dried fruit, almonds and coconut flakes.  Cook for another 5 minutes.

For Chicken:

  1. Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet.  Lightly brown the chicken on both sides in hot oil, about 3-5 minutes per side.
  3. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.
  4. In same skillet, saute onions, peppers and garlic until onions are translucent, 5-8 minutes.
  5. Stir in coconut milk and red pepper flakes.  Simmer for 5 minutes over medium heat.
  6. Return chicken to pan, spoon sauce and veggies over chicken and continue to cook, uncovered over medium heat for 20-30 minutes longer or until chicken is cooked through and veggies are tender.
  7. Serve with curried rice (or you can use just regular Thai rice).

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