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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mango Chicken and Indian Style Coconut Basmati Brown Rice


I saw a recipe on Hungry Girl the other day and it got me to thinking about making a lower-fat, quick Indian-inspired recipes.  I love Indian food and there are several great places in Philly and Collingswood where I can get take-away.  However, Indian food, while tasty is not exactly diet friendly.  Most dishes are made with clarified butter (Ghee) and full-fat yogurt.  It's delicious but not good for my cholesterol or lower-fat life style.  I perused the Hungry Girl recipe and like with most of her recipes, I found it too full of faux ingredients or things that I just didn't want to buy.  I'm not going to buy mango syrup and I'm more into pumping up flavors using seasonings and flavorful liquids, like beer, wine or citrus juices.

Don't let the ingredient list scare you, this meal comes together very quickly, it's mostly about the prep.  I marinated the chicken while the rice cooked and I chopped the onions, peppers, garlic and other vegetables that I served on the side.  Total cooking time for the rice was longer than the Mango Chicken took to cook; all told, under 45 minutes for the entire meal.  The rice is so good, that it can be made as a side dish for dinner and then sweetened with honey and warmed milk (or non-fat condensed milk!) for dessert if you skip seasoning it with the salt and ground pepper!

Mango Chicken Ingredients:
  • 2 Tablespoons Light Olive or Vegetable Oil
  • 1-12 ounce bottle of a good IPA beer - like Harpoon IPA
  • 3 Tablespoons Curry Powder – Sweet and Mild or Spicy depending on your preference – divided into 2 Tablespoons and 1 Tablespoon
  • 8 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs
  • 1 Large Onion – Half moon slices (about 2 cups)
  • 2 Bell Peppers (Red/Green or Red/Yellow) – Julienned (about 2 Cups)
  • 3 Garlic Cloves - minced
  • 1 Mango – peeled, seeded - diced or 1 Cup Frozen Mango Chunks
  • Juice of 1 Lime - divided
  • 6 ounces Non-fat Plain Greek Yogurt (one container)
  • Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper – to taste
  • ½ Cup Cilantro – rough chop - for garnish
  • ¼ Cup Cashews - chopped - for garnish
  • 2 Tablespoons Unsweetened Coconut Flakes - for garnish
Indian Style Basmati Brown Rice Ingredients:
  • 1 ½ Cups Uncooked Brown Basmati or Jasmine Rice
  • 4 Cardamom Pods
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 2 Whole Clove Seeds or 1/8 Teaspoon Ground Clove
  • 2 Whole Bay Leaves
  • ¼ Cup Unsweetened Shredded or Flaked Coconut
  • Pinch Salt
Marinade the chicken first, in beer, lime juice, curry powder,
salt and pepper; cook the rice and chop your vegetables.
Saute the Onions, Peppers, Garlic and Mango Chunks; add in curry powder
and then add in the beer and lime juice to reduce

Once the liquid has reduced by half, whisk or stir in the non-fat plain Greek Yogurt to create sauce

Add in the browned and cooked chicken with their juices, stir to combine and heat through.
Garnish with chopped cilantro, cashews and coconut flakes
  1. Start the rice cooking first, as it takes longer.  Rinse the rice in a fine mesh strainer under cold running water.  Shake off excess water and then place the rinsed rice into a 3 1/3 to 4 quart sauce pot with a tight fitting lid.  Add in the bay leaf, cardamom, cinnamon stick, cloves and coconut flakes.  Cover the rice with 2 & 3/4ths cups cold water and add in a generous pinch of salt. Bring the rice to a rapid boil then reduce the heat to a the lowest setting and simmer until the water is all absorbed and the rice grains are tender and fluffy.  Remove from heat after 35 minutes; keep covered until ready to serve.  If all the water has not been absorbed, remove the lid and continue to gently simmer until the rice has absorbed all the water. Fluff with a fork before serving, remove the bay leaf, cardamon pods, cinnamon stick and cloves and season to taste with salt & pepper.
  2. Marinade the chicken thighs in 2 tablespoons of curry powder, salt, pepper, the juice of 1/2 of a lime and ½ cup of the IPA.  Let sit, covered for 15 minutes, or marinate over-night for deeper flavor.
  3. When ready to cook, preheat a large, non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Remove the chicken from the marinade and sauté the chicken in the pan, searing on both sides until the chicken is browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. When the chicken in cooked through and no trace of pink remains, remove the chicken from the pan and set aside on a plate and cover lightly.
  4. Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in the same pan in which you browned the chicken and sauté the onions and peppers until they are tender and beginning to caramelize – about 10 minutes.
  5.  Add in the garlic and mango chunks and sauté another minute. Add in the remaining tablespoon of curry powder, sauté for 30 seconds.  Deglaze the pan by adding in the rest of the lime juice and the remaining IPA beer; scrap up the browned bits in the pan with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.  Bring this mixture to a boil and reduce the liquid in the pan by half.
  6. Once the liquid reduces down, lower heat and whisk in the non-fat plain Greek-style yogurt. Season the mixture to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Add the chicken back to the pan, along with any accumulated juices, stirring to combine and cover the chicken. Heat through for 1 to 3 minutes; taste and adjust seasonings and sprinkle in half of the chopped cilantro, stir to combine.
  7. Serve hot over the Basmati Brown Rice and garnish with the remaining cilantro and chopped cashews and coconut flakes.  Makes  4 Servings. 

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