Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Critical Mom's Wasabi-Ginger-Coconut Chicken

For some time now I've been agonizing over new ways to bake salmon, and one discovery, Oil&Vinegar Wasabi-Ginger Dressing jazzed up a dish of which my diet-conscious husband and eldest son had begun to tire.  I'd been lining up the bell peppers and tomatoes under the slabs of salmon, shaking on the dill and/or garlic salt/and or the European equivalent of Lawry's seasoning salt, and they'd started to yawn.  So I bought a bottle of this:
and I dumped it over the salmon, and baked it for about twenty minutes, and it all went very nicely with sushi rice and steamed broccoli.
But my son kept saying, "Why don't you make it with chicken, Mom?"  So I did--we had two small whole chickens, enough for four big eaters, and I dumped the bottle of wasabi-ginger dressing over them.  But I saw right away that it wasn't quite enough to cover the chickens.  And I looked around for a can of coconut milk, which was not to be found, although I did have a pack of Thai dried coconut powder (just add water!) that I'd never gotten around to using.  I did just add water, and the stuff really approximated coconut milk.  And I poured that over the chicken.  Worried that everything would burn, rather than caramelize, I draped half of a large, fresh banana leaf (also cheap at the local Asian store) over the chicken and tucked it in, the way you'd tuck a blanket around a small, sleeping child.
That took care of the chicken.  Now how to wrap sushi rice in a banana leaf and cook it all in a rice cooker?  I found no recipe on the net suggesting this method, but am happy to report that it all worked fine, and the rice had a pleasant flavor that complemented the wasabi-ginger-coconut flavors in the chicken.   Fifteen minutes before taking the chicken out of the oven I removed the banana leaf in order to let the sauce caramelize a bit.  Now that I've told you what I actually did, I'm going to write out the recipe with suggestions, improvements:


Two small chickens, washed, dried, and placed in baking dish
1/2 to 1/4 cup grated fresh ginger
1/2 to 1/4 cup grated fresh garlic
1 bottle Oil&Vinegar brand Wasabi-Ginger dressing
1 14 ounce (about 360 ml) coconut milk
About half of a large banana leaf

Mix all but the banana leaf together and pour over the chickens.  Then take the half of banana leaf, tuck it around the chicken, and put all in an oven pre-heated to 200ºC (about 392ºF). Bake for about an hour and fifteen minutes, the last ten or so on whirling heat without the banana leaf.  Watch the chickens as much as possible during these last few minutes so that the sauce does not burn.

Once you've got that chicken in the oven, take the other half of the banana leaf and line your rice cooker with most of it.  Rinse and pour in sushi or basmati rice and fold the banana leaf over the rice.  Turn on rice cooker.

I served all this with a sweet ("lieblich") white wine and snow peas that had been very briefly steamed (they should remain very green; tell everyone dinner is ready and THEN start the snow peas, because they really do only take a minute).

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