Sunday, 12 August 2012

Sub-Lime Asian Chicken

Pollo al Limone "Kaffir" con Riso e Verdure Miste
Kaffir-Lime Powder Chicken with Rice & Vegetables

I am sure we all have some Asian or Oriental ingredient in the back of a kitchen cupboard somewhere, that we bought a while ago, thinking it was a good idea at the time... and just never got around to using! Or never knew exactly HOW it is supposed to be used. That's me folks!

Case in point this evening was a happy-looking little jar of dull grey powder... Keffir lime powder to be precise. Never seen or heard of it? Well- I hadn't either! But being as I love the flavor of fresh Keffir lime leaves, I decided it had to be a good thing and took it home with me... About a year later... this evening... it finally had its premier performance!

I started out by sautéeing the chicken at a high heat in a small amount of sesame oil, with a few slices of ginger and garlic to add flavor. Once the chicken began to brown, I sprinkled it generously with the Keffir lime powder, a little light soy sauce and some fresh lime juice.
Initially it looks a little strange- dull, greenish and well... not so appetizing! But fear not!

I added a splash of water and put on the lid for it to steam away. The water brought up the good flavors that had accumulated on the surface of the pan and infused the flavor of the ginger, garlic and lime leaves into the chicken breast.

Once the water was evaporated, I added more of the powder, a squeeze of honey and a little mores sesame oil in order to get a good glaze onto the meat- which happened of course very quickly! I removed the pan from the heat so that the honey would not get too hot and blacken and burn, but kept flipping the chicken over and over to get it well coated. Again, a splash of water. This may seem counter-productive in terms of frying, but trust me- the meat will be juicy, tender and beautifully golden in just a few minutes... fear not!

I placed the lid back onto the chicken and quickly stir-fried some vegetables to go with it- I chose to use green beans, zucchini and spicy red peppers, but you can use whatever is your own personal preference. Obviously I had an eye open for color to help me make my decision;-) I seasoned the vegetables with soy, a hint of 5-spice powder, red chili flakes, crushed garlic and a little sesame oil and served them on some fluffy, steamed Jasmin rice and placed the finished, beautifully glazed chicken breast on top.

The chicken was juicy and had a rich, lime flavor that was wonderfully refreshing together with the vegetables, making this a light and flavorful treat. The garlic and ginger gave dapth to the flavor and the finishing tough was a LOT of freshly chopped coriander/cilantro on top- just to know that citrus flavor right off the scales! A little sweet chili dipping sauce would go very well with this- as would a lovely glass of chilled chardonnay. I know- because that is what I did!

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