I recently took a cooking course in which we had to experiment with poaching meats. I admit, I am a bit shy of meat. This is, in part, because my success rate in cooking meat is 50/50 with the it usually coming out quite dry out of fear of it being undercooked and thus causing my family a bout of some four syllable disease. Poaching seemed to be the answer to my prayers; there is no risk at all of the meat being dried out – it is cooked in liquid!
It is now autumn and, while the changing of the leaves is very beautiful, I am missing the color green and the summer heat. So I trolled through my spice cupboard and found all things green: matcha tea, keffir lime powder and a fresh lime; add to that a bit of heat from a chili, a little tang from lemongrass and ginger and then some coconut milk from climates the sun never leaves and we’ve got ourselves a recipe.
The sauce is really quite delcious and I saved what was left over to put on top of some rice and vegetables the next day.
2 skinless chicken breasts
400 ml (1 tin) coconut milk
250 ml chicken stock
1 medium sized carrot, 1 peeled and coarsely chopped
1 fresh red chili, seeded and thinly sliced
1 lemongrass stem, trimmed and coarsely chopped
4 cm piece of ginger, peeled (if non organic) and coarsely chopped
1 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tsp kaffir lime powder
1/4 tsp matcha green tea
1 bay leaf
½ tsp Himalayan or Sea Salt
6 black peppercorns
juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp olive oil
small bunch fresh coriander (10g), coarsely chopped (optional)
2 tbsp slivered almonds, toasted (optional)
Short grain brown rice (cooked)
- Put the chicken breasts between two sheets of (unbleached) parchment paper and gently pound (with a rolling pin or meat tenderizer) until flattened such that both chicken breasts are of equal thickness. Set aside.
- Combine the coconut milk and the chicken stock in a large pot over medium-high heat and bring to a gentle simmer until the coconut milk has completely liquefied. Reduce the heat to medium-low while you add the chicken breasts to the saucepan, ensuring that the breasts are sitting side-by-side on the bottom of the pan (and not overlapping each other). The liquid should cover the chicken breasts by at least 4 cm. Add additional stock until the poaching liquid adequately covers the chicken.
- Add the carrot, chilli, lemongrass, ginger and the aromatics over the top and stir in gently, trying not to disturb the placement of the chicken.
- Bring the liquid to a boil. As soon as the liquid comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low. Skim off any discoloured foam that rises to the surface. Add the peppercorns. Cover the pot and allow the liquid to simmer for approximately 10-12 minutes until the chicken is cook through (and no longer pink in the middle).
- Remove the chicken from the poaching liquid and place on a meat cutting board to cool.
- Meanwhile, return the poaching liquid to a boil for 5-7 minutes, until it has reduced by half. Strain and discard the solids. Stir in half of the lime juice to the poaching liquid. This is your sauce.
- Slice your chicken. Spoon your rice into a plate and top with the sliced chicken. Pour the sauce over the chicken and rice. Finish with the coriander and toasted almonds on top (if desired).
Notes: Ensure you chose the right sized pot for this dish. Choose a pot that will comfortably fit both of your chicken breasts on the bottom of the pan without them overlapping and also deep enough for the poaching liquids to cover the chicken by at least 4 cm. If the pot is too big, you will need ta add more liquid to cover the chicken, which may dilute the flavours of your sauce; too small of a pot and the chicken may not cook evenly.
Allergy Advice: Almonds (nuts)
*Coconut milk contains a fatty acid called lauric acid that is known to be both antiviral and antibacterial.
*Matcha tea, a concentrated form of green tea, is high in antioxidants.
*The chili that adds a bit of spice and the lime that adds bit of zing – both contribute to your daily vitamin C requirements.
Ginger is very soothing to the stomach and also contains potent anti-inflammatory compounds.