Tonight's international health conscious meal is dedicated to my old (figuratively speaking) high school friend, Cathy. During our 4 years of school, Cathy excelled at pretty much everything she did: great student, outstanding athlete and all around nice person. She just made everything look easy. I, on the other hand, spent 4 years showing up to class when the spirit moved me, "competing" on our school swim team purely for the social rewards and oh, yes, infamously known to Mr. Lyons, our Dean/Disciplinarian, as "the late Miss Scoble." It's no wonder that today, Cathy runs a thriving fitness business as a personal trainer, bettering the health and wellbeing of the lucky clients who work with her. Check out her link if you want to get your butt whooped into shape after a long, sedentary winter.
One of the simpler dishes I've made, this was also one of my favorites due to the fragrant and hot/sweet combination of ginger, lemon, cayenne and coconut milk. I hope Cathy approves of my use of lean protein, reduced fat coconut milk and vegetables for this lovely Madagascar Ginger-Lemon Coconut Chicken.
Cuisine in Madagascar is influenced by Indian, Chinese and French traditions. Rice forms the basis for all meals, except in the arid southern part of the island, where cassava (yucca) is substituted. Today, Madagascar produces 97% of the world's vanilla. Rum, along with wine, cocoa, coffee and tea are also produced on the island.
Garlic Lemon Coconut Chicken - (Adapted from Word Recipes)
2 boneless chicken breast halves, cut in bit sized chunks
2/3 cup canned lite or regular coconut milk
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper or tomato, sliced and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. ground or fresh ginger
1 tsp. grated lemon rind
1/3 tsp (or to taste) cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
Juice of one fresh lemon
Marinate chicken in lemon juice for 30 minutes, drain and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Saute over medium heat until cooked on outside, but slightly pink inside. Drain oil and set chicken aside.
Saute onions, stirring constantly, until slightly browned. Add bell pepper or tomato, and garlic and saute 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly.
Reduce heat to simmer, add coconut milk, ginger, cayenne powder and lemon rind.
Add chicken back to pan.
Cover and simmer 20-30 minutes or until sauce is thickened. If mixture is too thin, simmer with lid removed until desired consistency is reached. Serve hot over steamed white rice.
Note: One pound of shelled and deveined shrimp can be substituted for chicken.
Final Assessment: I loved, loved, LOVED this meal and will absolutely make it again on a regular basis, perhaps trying the shrimp next.