Coconut Chicken with Pina Colada Glaze and Hawaiian Rice

Happy Valentine’s Day to all! This would be an awesome dish to make your valentine if you’re sick of the cold and want to imagine you’re in the tropics with a Mai Tai in your hand and not a care in the world! (Stay tuned later this week for my amazing take on a mai tai.) Of course, this is also just an awesome dish in general – I’d even wager that your kids would like it, as long as they don’t have anything against coconut or pineapple.

The title is a little of a mouthful (sorry!) but there’s a lot of moving parts to this meal and there’s just so many good things about it that I had to include as much in the title as I could!

DSC_1357text

The recipe following is for four, but feel free to adjust as necessary!

The first thing you’ll need to do is preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and then put together your breading assembly line. Doing any kind of “breading” process on meat is very simple, but so many people wind up with their yummy coating not sticking and falling off the meat! There’s an easy trick to it, as some may remember from my Parmesan Breaded Chicken (which was a popular hit on Pinterest!): you have to coat the meat in flour first, THEN egg, THEN the breading. Coating in flour first gives the egg something to stick on to, which then makes the breading adhere better!

So, you’ll need three shallow dishes:

Dish 1: 2 tablespoons of flour plus 1 teaspoon of salt plus 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
Dish 2: 1 egg, beaten
Dish 3: 1 heavy cup coconut flakes plus 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

DSC_1350

MAKE OR BREAK TIP: Adding the salt and pepper to the flour ensures that the flavor is close to the chicken and doesn’t get lost in the breading. Follow this rule any time you’re breading meat, especially with coarser coatings like this one!

Next, prep your chicken. I tend to buy the store brand of chicken breast, and they are HUGE, so I cut one of those babies in half to make two better portioned pieces. Cut two large breasts in half to make four pieces and then get a few tablespoons of canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Coat the chicken first in the flour (shake off excess), then the egg, and finally the coconut. You’ll really need to use your hands to coat the chicken thoroughly. Lay each piece carefully in the pan and allow to brown on both sides. (About 2 minutes or so per side.)

DSC_1351

Once the chicken is browned, put the pieces in a glass baking dish, sprinkle with some additional coconut (1/4 cup or so) and bake for 20-25 minutes. (Conveniently, that should be about the time you’re finishing up everything else.)

Next, you’ll need to get your pina colada glaze reducing. In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup pineapple juice, 1/4 cup cream of coconut, 3 tablespoons sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 cup coconut flakes, and 2 ounces of crushed pineapple (1/4 of an 8 oz can). Stir well and keep over high heat, allowing it to boil and then reduce down while you’re making the rice.

KITCHEN TIP: You can find cream of coconut in most liquor stores, or in the section of your grocery store where they sell drink mixers. As my loyal readers know, I’m a bit of an amateur mixologist, so I always have some on hand for when I make tropical drinks!

DSC_1354

I use regular old Uncle Ben’s white rice, which takes about 20 minutes to cook. Put 1 cup of rice and 2 cups of water in a medium saucepan, allow to boil, then cover and reduce heat to low to allow the water to soak into the rice while it cooks. (Otherwise, follow the directions for whatever kind of rice you use.) Once the rice is going, you can work on the rest of the components to make the rice super delish. 🙂

I call it Hawaiian rice, but really, it’s essentially just fried rice with some minor changes… I gave a recipe for excellent fried rice in my Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken recipe, but since this is a bit different, here’s a refresher:

Dice 1/4 of a sweet onion and 1/2 a green (or red, or yellow, or orange…) pepper. Put these in a skillet over medium high heat with a few tablespoons of oil. (I just washed the pan I used for the chicken and used that one – less dishes later!) Once these have sweated for about a minute or so, add 3/4 cup frozen peas, stir to distribute, and allow to cook for 4-5 minutes. Just before it’s done, add 1 clove of minced garlic.

DSC_1352

KITCHEN TIP: Buy your peppers in bulk and prep them once your home – I usually like to julienne some and dice the rest. Put them into separate Ziploc freezer bags, labeled with the date, and freeze them! They’ll be good for up to 6 months, and then you can just take out what you need.

Once the veggies are cooked, push them to the side and pan-scramble one egg in the empty space of the pan. It’s not going to look super appetizing, since it’s going to pick up the oils and juices from the vegetables, but don’t worry. The brown stuff is packed with flavor!

DSC_1353

Once the egg is cooked, mix it in with the rest of the vegetables. Add your cooked rice, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, and 1 tsp ground ginger, along with 6 ounces of crushed pineapple (the rest of the can you opened earlier for the glaze) and 2 tablespoons each of soy sauce and teriyaki sauce. Stir this all together until combined and then remove from the heat.

By the time your chicken is done, your glaze should have reduced nicely. Take the glaze off the heat and get the chicken out of the oven. You’re ready to plate and serve! Top the chicken with the glaze and serve immediately. (You could also double the glaze recipe and add it to the rice, too!)

DSC_1363

I’m not responsible for when this dinner disappears faster than you can blink! Once you get the process down, it works like a well-oiled machine, and I’m sure this will become a staple dinner for your house!

Full recipe:

Coconut Chicken with Pina Colada Glaze and Hawaiian Rice

Yield: 4 servings

Chicken:

2 large chicken breasts, cut in half to make 4 pieces
2 tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 egg, beaten
1 heavy cup coconut flakes, plus more for sprinkling
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
3 tbsp canola oil, for the pan

Glaze:

1 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup cream of coconut
3 tbsp sugar
2 ounces crushed pineapple
1/4 cup coconut flakes
1/2 tsp salt

Rice:

1 cup regular white rice
2 cups water
2 tbsp canola oil, for the pan
1/4 onion, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
3/4 cup frozen peas
1 clove garlic, minced
1 egg
6 ounces crushed pineapple
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp teriyaki sauce

Process:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare breading assembly line by combining flour, salt, and pepper in first dish, beaten egg in second dish, and coconut and pecans in third dish.

2) Coat a large skillet in canola oil and put over medium heat. Bread the chicken by coating first in flour, making sure to shake off the excess, then the egg, and finally the coconut. Use your hands to ensure the chicken is well coated in coconut and then lay each piece carefully into the pan. Brown on each side for about 2 minutes, then transfer to a glass baking dish, top with additional coconut, and bake for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through.

3) In a small saucepan, combine pineapple juice, cream of coconut, sugar, crushed pineapple, coconut flakes, and salt. Stir to combine and bring to boil over high heat and then allow to reduce.

4) In a medium saucepan, add rice and water. Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce heat to low, allowing rice to cook through until all the water is gone.

5) In large skillet, heat canola oil over medium high heat and add onion and pepper, allowing to sweat for a minute before adding frozen peas. Let this cook for 4-5 minutes, then add garlic and cook for one additional minute.

6) Push the vegetables to the side of the pan and pan scramble an egg in the open space, then stir into the vegetables.

7) Once the rice is done, add to the vegetables, along with pineapple, salt, pepper, ginger, soy sauce, and teriyaki sauce. Stir to combine and then remove from heat until ready to serve.

8) After chicken is done baking, remove from oven and plate with the rice. Top chicken with glaze and serve!

Advertisements

Parmesan & Panko Breaded Chicken

So I know I’m normally all about being creative and different here, but there are some classic recipes that absolutely everyone deserves to know how to do perfectly. Breaded chicken is a classic but, let’s face it… it’s normally pretty boring. I’m about to revolutionize the way you view breaded chicken, however, so this is one worth reading!

Finished Text

Begin by prepping your breading assembly line. In the first dish, put a few tablespoons of flour and then season the flour with 1 teaspoon each of salt and basil 1/2 teaspoon each of pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne. Stir this together so the seasonings are all incorporated into the flour.

DSC_7140

MAKE OR BREAK TIP: The seasoning in the flour is important because it locks the flavors onto the chicken underneath the breading so they don’t fall off when you put the chicken in the pan!

In the middle dish, crack and beat one egg.

In the final dish, combine 1 cup Panko bread crumbs and 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese.

DSC_7141

MAKE OR BREAK TIP: The Panko bread crumbs are what really make the difference between “meh” breaded chicken and “holy wow!” breaded chicken! They are originally from Japan and are lighter and airier than normal bread crumbs than what we are used to in Western culture, so they make everything extra crunchy! Most grocery stores sell them, most likely in their “foreign foods” aisle.

Once your breading assembly line is ready, add about a half cup of vegetable oil to a large skillet over medium low heat. Allow the oil to heat up for a minute or two, and then bread your chicken breast by lightly coating it in the flour (tap off any excess), coating it in the egg, and then finally in the panko-parmesan mixture. Use your fingers to sprinkle additional breading onto each side and press it in, and then lay the chicken carefully into the oil. Repeat with three more chicken breasts, and then add some additional seasoning and cheese on top once they are in the pan. (Sprinkle on additional salt/pepper/basil/garlic and about 1/4 cup total additional parmesan.)

DSC_7142

Allow them to cook for 5-8 minutes, or until the breading on the underside is turning a golden brown color, and then flip them.

DSC_7143

Allow to cook for an additional 5-8 minutes or until they are cooked through, and then serve with a side of your choice!

Full Recipe:

Panko-Parmesan Breaded Chicken

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

4 small (or 2 large, cut in half) chicken breasts
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 egg
2 tbsp flour
Salt, pepper, basil, garlic powder, cayenne

Process:

1) In a shallow dish, combine flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp basil, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, and 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper.

2) In a small bowl, beat 1 egg.

3) In another shallow dish, combine Panko breadcrumbs and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese.

4) Coat a skillet in 1/2 cup vegetable oil over medium low heat. After allowing pan to heat for a few minutes, coat each piece of chicken first in the flour (tapping off excess), then the egg, and finally the Panko-parmesan mixture (using your fingers to add and press on additional breading) before laying each piece of chicken in the skillet, making sure there is about an inch between each piece.

5) Season each piece of chicken with additional salt/pepper/basil/garlic and parmesan.

6) Allow to cook for 5-8 minutes or until breading is golden brown on the underside, then flip. Cook for an additional 5-8 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Serve immediately.