Monday, July 22, 2013

Coconut & Peanut Chicken with Avocado Salad

Though I have a million excuses why I haven't been blogging lately, I won't bore you with any of them. In general, I don't like excuses anyway. They're as bad a habit as starting out everything with an apology. Therefore, I won't make either.

What I will make, however, is some fully roasted chicken, with a thai inspired sauce that combines some of my favorite things: spicy chili, coconut and PEANUT BUTTER! And then of course pair it with another one of my favorite things: AVOCADO. Yes, these fat-laden foods are some of my favorite things (next time I'll try to incorporate some of the bacon fat I've been rendering and storing in my fridge.) This chicken could also be served with a few other Thai inspired side dishes, like Stir Fried Garlic Bean Sprouts and Shrimp or Wilted Bok Choy with Cashews.

I bought a whole 'old chicken' from the Asian store down the street. What does it mean, 'old chicken'? Your guess is as good as mine. It did have some remaining hairs on its skin and I even had to pluck off a few of the feathers once it had defrosted. Kinda gross, I know, but people have been doing this forever and ever, and I figured it couldn't be worse for you than eating any other part of the bird, so let's not split hairs here. I prepared the bird as recommended, about 15 minutes at 220C and then another 50 or so at 190C, breast side down, uncovered.

Thai sauces always have a lot of ingredients, but they're repeated in so many of the dishes that they're worth it to have around if you make enough Thai food. The pastes typically last months in the fridge.
Here's the list:

Chili, Coconut & Peanut Sauce

1/4 cup of vegetable oil
1/4 cup of sweet chili sauce (I substituted papaya jam)
1 tbs saracha (chili paste) or to your liking
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs shrimp paste
1 tbs fish sauce

Toast the coconut - I put mine in a small teflon coated pan and cooked on high heat without any oils added until it browned a bit and smelled great. Add the rest of the ingredients, tasting and modifying as you go along.

Avocado Salad: 
2 avocados, chopped
2 limes, juiced
1 spring onion, greens parts only, diced
2 tbs tamarind past (or 1/4 cup tamarind water)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp vegetable oil
crushed cilantro
dash of saracha if you like it

Toss all the liquid ingredients and the sugar and cilantro together. Fold in the chopped avocado delicately, so as not to mash them too much.

I also threw together a little mango salad for something sweet:

Mango Salad: 
1 mango, diced
1 small red onion, diced
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
fish sauce

Toss these together in a bowl, adding the last 4 ingredients incrementally to taste. That simple.

Serve the chicken and the salads with a little steamed rice and enjoy.

Now, for my own reference for the future, and perhaps little helpful hints for you:

1. Chicken is not blow fish, it's not as dangerous as all the bird-flu hype has it out to be, and doesn't need to be charred inside and out for it to be safe to eat. I cooked mine 15 min at 220C and then flipped it to give it a nice bronze on both sides before I turned the heat down, resulting in a slightly dry bird. I will TRUST the chicken roasting instructions AND the meat thermometer next time.

2. Fresh cilantro beats the hell out of the jarred preserved kind (that I used, because I didn't have time to go to the store on Sunday). For guests, I will get my butt into the store for the fresh herbs. (my potted cilantro died while I was in Kenya.)

1 comment:

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