Saturday, January 30, 2010

Coconut Chicken with Toasted Coconut Rice

This dinner was a tropical escape during a cold January work week! We felt like we were reliving a bit of our Hawaiian honeymoon. As soon as I saw the toasted coconut rice in Martha Stewart Living, I knew I wanted to try it. Rachael Ray has many recipes we have enjoyed, and these coconut chicken cutlets were no exception. The two recipes paired, are a perfect blend of flavor. If you like coconut, I think you will love this dinner.

Since I started cooking the rice first, here's what you need for that:
*1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
*1/2 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut (I used sweetened since I had it on hand)
*1 cup basmati rice (I used brown basmati)
*2 cups water
*3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
*2 scallions, thinly sliced on the bias

1. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
2. Cook coconut, stirring, until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
3. Set aside 2 tablespoons coconut. Stir rice into pan with remaining coconut. Add water and salt, and bring to a boil.
4. Reduce heat, and simmer, covered, until water is absorbed and rice is tender, about 20 minutes.Garnish with reserved coconut and the scallions.

For the chicken you need:
* 8 chicken cutlets, slightly pounded
* Salt and pepper
* 1 cup flour
* 2 eggs
* 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
* 1 cup grated unsweetened coconut (again, I used sweetened)
* 1 to 2 tablespoons EVOO-Extra Virgin Olive Oil
For chicken sauce topping:
* 1/2 cup pineapple preserves
* 1/2 jalapeño, seeded and sliced into rings
* 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar or tamari
* 1 to 2 tablespoons chicken stock
* 2 scallions, whites and greens sliced

1. Preheat oven to 250˚F. Place a cooling rack over a baking sheet and place in oven.

2. Arrange 3 shallow dishes: Put the flour on one plate, beat eggs with a splash of water in second dish, and combine the panko and coconut in the third dish.

3. Heat a thin layer of EVOO in a large skillet over medium heat. Season the chicken cutlets with salt and pepper, then coat them in the flour, then egg, then breadcrumb-coconut mixture. Fry in 2 batches until deep golden in color, 3-4 minutes on each side. Keep chicken crisp in warm oven and repeat with remaining chicken.

4. Prepare the sauce-In a small skillet over medium-high heat, stir together pineapple preserves, jalapeño slices, rice wine vinegar or tamari, and chicken stock. Reduce until thickened, about 2 minutes. (Mine took longer) Stir in scallions.

5. Serve the chicken with the sauce over it.

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