Saturday, January 29, 2011

Day 101! Madagascar - Ginger-Lemon Coconut Chicken - Up Next, Malawi

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.

Located in the western Indian Ocean, Madagascar is the 4th largest island in the world. It sits east of Mozambique across the Mozambique Channel. This island nation is home to as many as 12,000 of the world's plant species. Malagasy and French are spoken in this country, which was invaded by the French in 1883. In 1960, the country gained independence from France and has retained this standing ever since.

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
Olive oil

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.


Mary Trelease Beaudet said...

Sarah, I always enjoy your writing style, especially the anecdotes! Our household is finally on the same page in regards to healthy eating. I was trying to think of something to make for dinner tomorrow. My mother's joining us. This sounds perfect!
I'll let you know how it turns out!

Po8 said...

tried it last night.... proceeding slightly different with the receipe....and missed the coconut milk....turned out good.....AND AM NOT A MINI CHEF..." we " wonder what receipes you come up for MAURITIUS & NORWAY ??wife LIKED IT as well..!!

Cathy Schaum said...

I tried to post on this previously, but I am technically lacking at times... Anyway, this dish was incredible ! This was the first dish of Sarah's that we (my clients & I) had - as we jumped onto this crazy trip around the world... it's been a lot of fun and Sarah is absolutely "the best!"

Julie said...

This was yummy and so easy to make...everyone around our dinner table absolutely loved it! This will be a regular from now on:) Thanks!!

sadie said...

Thank you, Julie! You made my day. So glad you enjoyed the dish :)