I love how the bright green color of this dish reflects the spring ingredients it’s made with. The chicken’s spicy coating is rich with the perfumes of lemon, onion and ginger, underlaid with various chiles and cilantro, and finished off with a top coat of crunchy coconut. This is adapted from the inspiring work of Elizabeth Schneider Colchie. —LE BEC FIN
1- 1/2 pounds chicken
1- 1/2 pounds
Chicken breast tenders, or breasts- boneless,skinless
Lemon Grass Stalk, edible portion
Fresh Ginger 2x1" piece, peeled and minced
Garlic Cloves, peeled and chopped
medium Jalapeno Peppers, seeded chopped
Spring onion( bulbs only) or shallots- sliced
Cilantro Stems(leaves and stems), 8“long, washed, dried and chopped
dried Red Chili flakes(no seeds)(or 1 dried red chile, seeded, chopped)
½ -1 tablespoons
Thick Coconut milk (Caukoh is excellent- see photo)
sweetened coconut flakes,carefully dry pan- toasted til medium brown
Cut lemon grass bulb and stem in 1 inch pieces. Combine with ginger, garlic, shallots, chili peppers, cilantro and salt in food processor or blender. Puree til fairly smooth; add oil and coconut milk. If storing, seal by covering with more oil .
Pat chicken tender bottoms onto dish of paste. Place chicken in single layer in container with lid. Top tenders with remaining paste.Marinate 8-12 hours in frig(no longer or chicken will get mushy from all the tenderiziing elements that break down the protein fibers.) .
Place chicken on an oiled sheet pan. Broil 4- 5 minutes, just until firm, and light pink juices show when pierced with a skewer. Before serving, coat top side of tenders with toasted coconut, pressing to adhere. Salt as needed.
Note: Makes 3/4 Cup lemongrass paste. This paste freezes very well, so you may wish to multiply this recipe. The lemongrass and ginger are both powerful tenderizers and this paste also works well for tougher cuts of beef.
Note: I keep wrapped lemongrass, ginger root and jalapenos in the freezer. Surprisingly, they last forever without losing their potency.
I am always on the lookout for innovative recipes, which is why I am just ga-ga over my recently- discovered Food52 with its amazingly innovative and talented contributors. My particular eating passions are Japanese, Indian, Mexican; with Italian and French following close behind. Turkish/Arabic/Mediterranean cuisines are my latest culinary fascination. My desert island ABCs are actually 4 Cs: citrus, cumin, cilantro, and cardamom.
I am also finally indulging in learning about food history; it gives me no end of delight to learn how and when globe artichokes came to the U.S., and how and when Jerusalem artichokes went from North America to Europe. And that the Americas enabled other cuisines to become glorious. I mean where would those countries be without: Corn, Tomatoes, Chiles,Peanuts, Dried Beans, Pecans, Jerusalem Artichokes??!
While I am an omnivore, I am, perhaps more than anything, fascinated by the the world of carbohydrates, particularly the innovative diversity of uses for beans, lentils and grains in South Indian and other cuisines.
Baking gives me much pleasure, and of all the things I wish would change in American food, it is that we would develop an appreciation for sweet foods that are not cloyingly sweet, and that contain more multigrains. (Wouldn't it be fantastic to have a country of great bakeries instead of the drek that we have in the U.S.?!)
I am so excited by the level of sophistication that I see on Food52 and hope to contribute recipes that will inspire you like yours do me.
I would like to ask a favor of all who do try a recipe of mine > Would you plse write me and tell me truthfully how it worked for you and/or how you think it would be better? I know many times we feel that we don't want to hurt someone's feelings, but. i really do want your honest feedback because it can only help me improve the recipe.Thanks so much.