Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Minty Chicken Strips with Coconut

I love mint. The boy sometimes teases me for being the only person who knows who eats the mint out of a mojito. Why would I waste it? This recipe combines delicious mint with cilantro, coconut, and a bit of heat from the garam masala. I primarily chose this recipe because we had mint that was starting to wilt and I may have over-invested in cilantro more than a week ago. By over-invested, I mean that I couldn't pass on a giant bushel of cilantro at the farmer's market that was selling for 60 cents. I'm fairly sure I've picked at least 2 cups off of it now and I'm only down to the size that you normally see at supermarkets. Luckily for me, it was a very good choice. Other than the marinade time, the dish comes together very quickly. The coconut-onion paste yields an almost creamy sauce and the dish looks great with its combination of yellow (turmeric), red (tomato), and green (herbs). It's a great option for an easy weeknight dinner even if it does dirty a few dishes.

One year ago: Changde Clay-Bowl Chicken
Three years ago: A Trip Down Memory Lane

Minty Chicken Strips with Coconut (660 Curries)

1/2 cup Hara masala (recipe below makes 1 cup, so scale in half if you don't want leftovers)
1/4 cup yogurt
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" wide strips
4 tbsp canola oil, divided
1 large red onion, finely chopped and divided
2 tsp Usha Raikar's garam masala
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 cup shredded fresh coconut or 1/4 cup shredded dried unsweetened coconut, reconstituted

1. Combine Hara masala, yogurt, and salt in medium bowl. Add chicken strips and toss to coat. Refrigerate covered for 30 minutes - 2 hours.
2. Heat 2 tbsp oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of onion and stir-fry until light brown around edges, 2 - 3 minutes.
3. Add tomato, garam masala, and turmeric. Stew, uncovered until tomato softens, 3 - 5 minutes.
4. Add chicken with marinade and cook uncovered over medium heat until cooked through, 8 - 10 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tbsp oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining onion and stir-fry until light brown, 3 - 5 minutes.
6. Stir coconut into onion and cook until lightly browned, 2 minutes.
7. Pour 1/2 cup water into onion-coconut mixture and transfer mixture to blender. Puree.
8. Add pureed paste to cooked chicken. Stir and serve.

Hara masal
1 cup firmly packed cilantro
1 cup firmly packed mint
8 cloves garlic
4 lengthwise slices ginger (2 1/2"x1"x1/4")

1. Stuff all ingredients in food processor and chop until minced.

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