Kitchen Knightmares: Chicken in SPICY Basil-Coconut Sauce

Today on Alphabet City: Thanks to JP’s travel schedule Kitchen Knightmares moves to a new day.

I’m a lot like my dog Frida—I like a set schedule.  I get up pretty much the same time every morning (a little before 6am, dragging Frida with me), have 3 cups of coffee (Frida watches), read the New York Times (Frida dozes) and get my blog posting done.  Then off to the gym and Tentpole (Frida naps).  And in my schedule, Wednesday night is Kitchen Knightmares time.  But this Tuesday morning, as I was running out the door, I realized that because of my travel schedule (to glamorous Kansas), my cooking night had to change.  And I just didn’t have time to get my head around that.

Thankfully, Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Express is perfect for that last minute occasion. I flipped through it quickly and picked a dish in just a few minutes.  Chicken in Spicy Basil-Coconut Sauce sounded like the perfect recipe to take care of that use it or lose it “pollo” in the refrigerator.

Here’s the simple plan:

Chicken in Spicy Basil-Coconut Sauce

Season chicken with some ground coriander, cinnamon and chili powder, salt and sear them in some olive oil.  Remove and cook some sliced red onion, garlic cloves and two seeded Thai chilies for about four minutes.  Put chicken back in pan along with some coconut milk, some fish sauce and some chopped basil.  Cook until the coconut milk begins to bubble, then reduce to a simmer and cook until chicken is done.  Serve over rice with some lime and cilantro.

My adjustments:

We were out of chili powder, so I used Cayenne Pepper instead.  Whew, I was a little heavy handed—but hey, I’m cooking for a Mexican, so I was okay.

Whole Foods didn’t have Thai chilies, so I used jalapenos instead—see Mexican comment above

Whole Foods does carry “light” coconut milk which is much lower in fat and has just as much flavor—which made it perfect when I added more to take down the heat on the cayenne.

Chicken always makes me nervous—growing up in Texas someone was always getting sick from under cooked chicken at picnics.  So I don’t like to sear chicken and then hope it cooks in the sauce later.  So my chicken was a little overdone (Chef nicely said it was fine), so if you’re more adventurous—go ahead and sear and let it cook in the sauce later.

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