I got the idea of this recipe as I was travelling to Bali where I had the most amazing poached coconut chicken salad. My version of the poached coconut chicken is quite different but I used the same kind of spices I tasted in the salad. It’s a great way to achieve flavour but also to make it incredibly good for you.
WHY THIS IS GOOD FOR DINNER
Dinner time is a time to unwind, with your body preparing for sleep. So the last thing your body needs is a large portion of food with all macros combined. Animal protein and raw food is the most difficult to digest. During the week I tend to have bowls of nutritious soups as cooked vegetables are the easiest for your body to break down and also the food is already pureed (lazy meal). To make an animal protein more digestable, poaching is a much better method because liquid carries heat rather than fat. Also combining with complex fibrous carbodydrates like veggies and contain less of simple carbodydrates like glucose and fructose which helps with blood sugar levels and therefore weight control.
- Chicken – Contains all the B vitamins, which help the body produce energy and form red blood cells . The breast contains higher potassium and phosphorus helping to build strong bones and tissues. B3 which chicken contains is relatively stable to heat and light.
- Spring Greens – High in vitamin C, vit K which helps the blood coagulate, and Ca. Combining spring greens with a source of protein ensures it gets absorbed.
- Asparagus – Contains inulin, a prebiotic which encourages healthy gut flora. Aspartic acid neutralises excess ammonia which could otherwise result in feeling drained (boosts energy).
A word on coconut:
Coconut is a very debated fruit (it is a fruit not a nut, similar to peaches). All recognised health organisations advise against consumption due to the high saturated content. Coconut contains high proportion of lauric acid (a medium chain fatty acid) which can also be found in breast milk, palm kernel oil, certain nuts and in small amounts in cow’s and goat’s milk. It was believed that lauric acid mainly increases the high-density lipoprotein (HDL) (or the “good” cholesterol) (source: Mensink RP, Zock PL, Kester AD, Katan MB, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2oo3) . The same study also concluded that the effects of the lauric acid on heart disease are uncertain. The reason behind this is there are multiple factors affecting heart disease which cannot be studied in isolation. For this recipe I recommend using light coconut milk so you don’t get the same fat intake as normal coconut milk and in this way you are controlling what you are eating.
Poached coconut chicken and seasonal greensPrint Recipe
- 4 organic chicken breasts
- 2 cans of light coconut milk
- 5cm ginger root
- 1 chilli
- 4 garlic cloves
- 4 tbsp fish sauce
- Bunch of Coriander
- Bunch of Mint
- Juice of 1 lime
- 4 spring onions
- 4 Spring greens
- 12 spears of asparagus
Bring a pot of water to simmer. Carefully slide the chicken in for 1 min to ensure the scum is coming out. Discard the water and rinse the chicken.
Rinse the pot you used for the chicken and pour the coconut milk. Grate the ginger, slice the chilli and add ¾ of it with the rest reserved for decorating. Grate and add the garlic cloves. Place the chicken in the spiced coconut milk and poach for about 20 min. Poaching is a very gentle method of cooking so make sure the liquid is simmering gently.
After 20 min, take the chicken off the heat. Wash the greens and cut the greens in 4 cm slices. Break the end of the asparagus (it should break close to where it is still fresh) and then cut the rest at an angle so you get shards. Carefully steam these for around 2 min. If you don’t have a steamer just use a colander which you put over a pot of simmering water and cover with a lid.
Place the greens on the plate. Slice each chicken breast at an angle and place on the plate. Pour on the chicken the fragrant liquid. Add 1 tbps of fish sauce per person, juice from a ¼ of lime, sliced spring onion, a few slices of chilli and a few springs of mint and coriander. You don’t want to add the fish sauce or lime earlier because with cooking the taste of these will disappear and you want to have the salty, sour flavour when you actually eat it.