Monday, April 13, 2009

Thai chicken thighs with coconut rice

I created this recipe as an experiment, and I'm always nervous about those because I hate the idea that so many ingredients could go to waste.

Luckily, I guess it's hard to go wrong with common Thai ingredients such as peanuts, sweet potatoes, and curry. It turned out SOOOOO delicious, if I may say so myself!

I made this in a crock pot, but I'm guessing you could also layer everything the same way and cook it in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or at a lower temp for a little longer to really let the flavors blend. (Just make sure the chicken is done; its juices should run clear. But I highly recommend investing a little money in a crock pot. They are totally underrated!)

The dish is shown in the photo above with Thai cucumber salad. (If you're a cucumber person, you should also try this Scandinavian cucumber salad and Michelle's gazpacho.)

Thai chicken thighs (serves 4)

2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter (the all-natural, unsweetened kind)

2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari (look for a post on tamari in the near future!)

1 tablespoon honey

1-1/2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce

1-1/2 tablespoons Madras curry powder (I used this because I didn't have curry paste; you could whisk in a little of that instead)

1-1/2 tablespoons canola oil

pinch of red pepper flakes

1/2 cup chopped tomatoes (I used canned)

10-12 mini sweet potatoes (are these called fingerlings?), peeled

1/2 large red onion, sliced

1 ounce fresh basil leaves

1-1/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1/2 cup cooking rice wine (you can get this at an Asian supermarket)

salt and pepper, to taste

fresh cilantro to garnish generously when serving

1.) Whisk together peanut butter, soy sauce or tamari, honey, fish sauce, curry powder, red pepper flakes, and canola oil in bottom of crock pot.

2.) Pour tomatoes on top; stir. Put the sweet potatoes on top of that.

3.) Spread the onion slices over the potatoes. Top with the chicken thighs.

4.) Pour the rice wine over the chicken. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

5.) Cook on low for about 5 hours, sprinkling in the basil leaves and stirring the whole dish about a half hour before cooking time is up. Serve over coconut rice (recipe follows).

Coconut rice (makes about 3 cups)

1 cup brown basmati rice, rinsed

14 ounces coconut milk (shake the can before opening)

as much water as needed

Using a fork, smooth the coconut milk that has separated in its can. Mix with the amount of water required for cooking the rice and cook until done.

Note: I use a rice cooker, so I fill mine to whatever level is indicated; it was tricky with the coconut milk. The bottom of the rice browned a little, and the rice was a little crunchy. A stovetop pot is recommended, and make rice however you normally would as far as liquid content goes. (The coconut milk thins out as it heats, by the way.)

Coming soon: Vegan chocolate truffles from Enlightened Cooking!

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