Monday, April 15, 2013

Recipe: Basil Lime Chicken with Coconut Lime Rice

So, I decided to do what I should be doing every week: plan out my meals for the whole week. I'm notorious for taking multiple grocery shopping trips per week to get things for recipes I pick at the last minute and don't have ingredients for. It's a waste of gas, money, and time, so I planned out this week (factoring in when I'd want to reheat leftovers instead of make something fresh, and when I might want a filling lunch instead of my usual light lunch). One of the things I decided to try this week was a variation on this basil lime chicken recipe—something bright, fresh, and light. I paired it with basmati rice lightly flavored with shredded coconut and lime zest and a sprinkling of fresh basil on top to make for an incredibly flavorful meal.

Serves: 4
Prep. time: 10 minutes, plus approx. 20-45 minutes for the chicken to marinate
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Chicken & Marinade

  • 2 chicken breasts, thinly sliced into approx. 3x1 in. pieces
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. soy sauce
  • 4 large basil leaves, chiffonade
  • A big pinch of shredded, sweetened coconut
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup basmati rice (I used Uncle Ben's, ready in about 15 minutes)
  • 2-4 tbsp. shredded, sweetened coconut, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. time zest
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. coriander

Combine all of the ingredients for the chicken and marinade in a bowl, cover, and set aside in the fridge to marinate for approx. 20-45 min. (not too long though, because the acidity in the lime juice can over-tenderize the chicken). 
Follow the package instructions for the basmati rice (the style I used required water, a little butter and salt, and rice and took approx. 15 min. total to cook). When the rice has about 10 minutes left to cook, heat a medium pan over medium high heat and pour the bowl of chicken and marinade into the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally to mix up the marinade sauce, until the chicken is tender and done. Reduce the heat to low. When the rice is done, fluff it and add the lime juice and zest, coconut, coriander, and cumin and gently toss to combine. 
Serve the chicken atop the rice and top with freshly cut basil.

This dish is absolutely perfect for a warm spring or summer day. Bright and tangy lime, fresh basil, and sweet coconut create the perfect flavor combination and the lime juice makes the chicken perfectly tender. Basmati rice is a great alternative to the usual plain white rice (I considered using jasmine rice, which would probably work just as well), and it easily takes in the flavor of the lime, cumin, and coriander. This dish is easy to make and absolutely delicious.

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