Friday, October 5, 2012

Eclectic Kitchen's Spicy Thai Cilantro-Ginger Chicken

I'm always on the look out for a new recipe to try and was excited have come across this recipe for Spicy Thai Cilantro-Ginger Chicken from Dana Michelle of Eclectic Kitchen Evolved while puttering around on twitter last week.  Dana and her husband, Keith Norris, are the dynamic duo, who among other things, created the Paleo FX conference.  I went to the 2012 event and was absolutely mesmerized by all of the paleo celebrities and information I learned.  I cannot wait until 2013's event!  

I gathered my ingredients and started to prepare the marinade.  Dana kindly tweeted that the recipe is better if you made extra marinade and give it ample marination time.  Done and done.
I doubled the marinade recipe.  First, I washed my cilantro  and put 1.5 cups into my mini-chopper.

Then I added 8 cloves of garlic.  She says to coarsely chop these, but I didn't since I had confidence my chopper would do that for me.  I did pre-chop up my ginger a bit after peeling it.  Ginger is pretty fibrous, so I gave it a head start and chopping made it easier to measure.  

Next up were the liquid ingredients:  Coconut Aminos, Toasted Sesame Oil, and Rice Wine Vinegar. I saved the pepper for last.  Her recipe calls for Thai Chilies or Chili Garlic to taste.  I know that Thai chilies are a bit hot for me so I used a jalapeno instead.  I used my gloves when handling the jalapeno.

I put the lid on my mini chopper and processed the marinade until it was smooth.

I put my chicken in a plastic storage bag and poured the marinade over it.  After sealing the bag, I worked the chicken around the bag to insure it was all covered with the marinade and put it in a bowl in the refrigerator for 5 hours.  

After the chicken was done marinating, I preheated my oven, put the chicken in a glass baking dish and covered it with a foil tent.  Once the oven was pre-heated, I put the dish and its tent in the oven.  I set the timer for 45 minutes.  

After 45 minutes, I removed the foil tent.  The recipe says to let it bake uncovered until the internal temperature is 165 F.  Just to see where my chicken was at the 45 minute mark, I took a reading.  179.2 F.  Uh oh.

What to do?  If I didn't continue to bake the chicken, it wouldn't have a chance to brown up.  I decided to leave it in for another 10 minutes.
After the additional 10 minutes, the chicken was at 194 F.  It wasn't as brown as I would have liked it to be, but I didn't want to over cook it either.  I took it out.  While we are talking temperature, if you start cooking a good deal, you will want to get a good instant read thermometer.  It's helpful for making sure large cuts of meat are cooked, your oil temps are right for frying, and for recipes that don't go by cook time, but food temperature.  I didn't get one until recently and am glad I did.     

There was a lot of liquid in the dish, nearly 2 cups! I don't know if there should have been that much.  

Here is the finished chicken.

Accessibility and Cost of Ingredients: You should be able to find everything, with the exception of the coconut aminos, at your "big box" grocery store.  However, you may want to take a trip to your Asian grocery for the sesame oil and rice wine vinegar.  I've found they are cheaper there and while you are there, you can pick up your ginger, chilies,  cilantro,  and garlic. 

Preparation/Cook Time: To prepare the marinate, from start to refrigeration, was just over 17 minutes.  If you don't pre-chop anything before processing the marinate, your prep time will be less.  I marinated the chicken for 5 hours.  My active cooking time for this recipe including time to pre-heat the oven, was 63 minutes.  

Clean Up:  Since I marinated my chicken in a plastic storage bag, the clean up was pretty easy.  Everything except my knife was able to go into the dishwasher.  I did pre-scrub my baking dish a little.  

The Paleo Review:  Thumbs Up!  My first impression of this recipe is that it is all about the heat.  The marinade but for whatever chili you add provides a nice mild flavor backdrop for the heat.  With that said, my jalapeno was evidently one of those sneaky mild ones and this batch could have had about double the heat for my taste.  I wish I knew a way to know when a jalapeno I buy at the store is going to be "hot' or not. Drat!  Without the heat, a little salt helped bring out the flavors a bit for me.   The chicken was tender and moist.  This recipe is definitely going into my binder.

I had some of this chicken for lunch the other day over mixed greens with a vinaigrette and it was quite tasty.  My next batch, I'm going to throw caution to the wind and use some Thai chilies.  I might try grilling this instead next time as well.