A Taste of the Sunny Far East: Coconut Lime Chicken with Mango Salsa

Sometimes, it really doesn’t take much to bring home flavours of exotic cuisines… Of course, some specialty meals are so complex it may be a much better idea to go out to a restaurant to enjoy instead of making them at home. I have shied away from making certain dishes because the ingredient list alone is daunting, let alone the techniques used and the equipment required. I don’t think I will ever attempt to make those Asian «pulled» noodles for instance… But there are other dishes, like this Coconut Lime Chicken, that is a reminiscence of fragrant dishes from Thailand or Cambodia yet is extremely simple in its preparation. I created this dish a few years ago wanting to enjoy a «Thai like» meal without leaving my house… I am sure I must have been inspired by a recipe I saw somewhere but honestly, I cannot remember what the source was or how much I deviated from it…  As well, the ingredients are very easily found in any grocery store. This dinner is bright, fresh, easy to make and relatively healthy depending on what your thoughts on good fats are. If you do not cringe at the fat content of coconut milk, then you will enjoy every single bite of this dish; I prefer to use whole coconut milk although I presume it would still taste great if it was swapped for light coconut milk.

Although the chicken would probably benefit spending a bit of time in the marinade, it is also possible to infuse enough good flavour even if it only marinates during the time it takes to pull together the other components of the recipe. The mango salsa is pretty amazing on its own; as a matter of fact, it could be used as a condiment in many preparations. I suggest serving this dish with basmati rice however, you could also use the coconut milk poached chicken in lettuce wraps and instead of making the sauce using the carrots and zucchini, you could top the chicken lettuce wraps with  mango salsa and the grated vegetables.

If you decide to make this recipe, I would be thrilled to hear how it turned out :)!

Coconut Lime Chicken

COCONUT LIME CHICKEN WITH MANGO SALSA

What you need:
Marinade:

  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breast cut in thick strips
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper

Mango Salsa

  • 1 ripe mango cut in small cubes
  • 1/3 large red onion finely chopped
  • ½ red pepper, finely diced
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh cilantro
  • Salt and pepper

Sauce:

  • 1 each grated carrot and zucchini, yields a generous cup of each vegetable
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • fresh cilantro

Cooked basmati rice

How to make it:

  1. In plastic airtight container, toss together chicken with coconut milk, lime zest & juice and salt & pepper. Let marinate in refrigerator while you prep the rest of the recipe or up to 12 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, toss all the ingredients for the salsa together. Adjust seasonings and let sit in refrigerator for a few hours if possible. Adjust seasonings again to taste as flavours will evolve while resting.
  3. Pour chicken and marinade in large skillet or stove top pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and poach gently until chicken is cooked through.
  4. Remove chicken and set aside. Add zucchini, carrots and honey to cooking liquid and simmer until sauce has reduced and thickened. Taste and adjust salt and pepper.
  5. Spoon basmati onto serving platter. Pour half the sauce over the rice. Add chicken strips to rice. Pour remainder of sauce. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro and serve cold salsa on the side.

Variations:

  1. Making wraps: why not marinate and poach a little extra chicken breast to use later in wraps? Grate a little extra carrots and zucchini too. Refrigerate this extra chicken; once cooled, take large lettuce leave, rice wrapper or tortilla. Add chicken, top with some grated carrots & zucchini,  add salsa and voilà! Lunch in a jiffy!
  2. Playing with flavours: why not add green, red or yellow Thai curry paste for a completely different meal? Any curry for that matter will radically change the meal. The base is simple yet so versatile.
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6 thoughts on “A Taste of the Sunny Far East: Coconut Lime Chicken with Mango Salsa

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