Chilli coconut chicken with cucumber rice salad-image

EVERY day we bang on about getting dinner on the table in double quick time.

Instant this, 15 minute that are the words we long to hear when 7pm is looming. It’s because we know that’s what works for most people’s crazy busy lives. Heck, it’s the life we lead too.

But cooking dinner is, to quote the great Ron Burgundy, kind of a big deal.

Cooking shows that you care enough about the health of your body to choose a recipe, shop for the ingredients, and go home and put some effort into conjuring up something delicious.

If you live with others, making a meal is a labour of love, a gesture of appreciation and source of pride you should embrace. Cooking is good for body and soul.

So, rather than always shoe-horning it into your jam-packed scheduled, try it the other way around. Make cooking the hero time of your evening and fit everything else around it. Your relaxed, calm and endless time starts now…

Chilli coconut chicken with cucumber rice salad

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 50 minutes

Skills: Intermediate

2 eschalots, peeled, chopped

1 long red chilli, chopped

1 lemongrass stalk, trimmed, bruised, chopped

2cm piece fresh ginger, peeled, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon lime juice

2 tablespoons fish sauce

165ml can coconut cream

4 chicken thigh cutlets (skin on)

Cucumber rice salad

2 tablespoons Alfa One rice bran oil

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 teaspoon caster sugar

2 1/3 cups cooked rice

1 continental cucumber, halved lengthways, sliced diagonally

125g cherry tomatoes, halved

1 long red chilli, thinly sliced

1/2 cup torn fresh mint leaves

Place eschalot, chilli, lemongrass, ginger, garlic, brown sugar, lime juice and fish sauce in a small food processor. Process until almost smooth. Transfer to a glass or ceramic dish. Add coconut cream. Stir to combine. Add chicken. Turn to coat. Cover. Marinate for as long as time permits (overnight would be ideal but that’s not going to happen if this is tonight’s dinner!). 2 Preheat oven to 200C/180C fan-forced. Place chicken in a baking dish. Roast for 40 to 50 minutes or until golden and cooked through.

Meanwhile make Cucumber rice salad: Place oil, vinegar and sugar in a small bowl. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Place rice, cucumber, tomato, chilli and mint in a bowl. Drizzle with dressing. Toss until well combined. Top with chicken. Serve.


Henry Sapiecha

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