Pirate Chicken is a fantastic way to use flaked coconut instead of breadcrumbs to create a crunchy coating. I did originally call this dish Caribbean Chicken but my son re-named it “Chickens of the Caribbean” which conjured up a vision of hundreds of chickens flapping around in pirate hats! In homage (and because pirates drink a lot of rum) I’ve renamed it Pirate Chicken!
I’ve been having an experimental week this week. Instead of sticking to my old favourite recipes, I’ve been trying new flavour combinations and playing with foods. I love that my job involves cooking AND eating!
I have a secret hobby… collecting old recipe books. This collection started with books from my mum and mother-in-law who mainly have books from the 70s and 80s. These are my favourites. These books are full of weird and wonderful flavour combinations. Sometimes it just makes you laugh with the craziness of it. Powdered mashed potato with tomato anyone? But amongst these lost recipes I find some unusual flavours that might just work.
It was one of these 80s recipes that inspired Pirate Chicken. I’d never considered using rum in a marinade before. I looked in the cupboard of booze (it’s next to the cupboard of doom if you’re keeping track!) and there was a dusty old bottle of rum. I knew it was a sign that I should try this recipe. And it has a holiday-inspired flavour – a little bit sweet, incredibly moist and I’m a sucker for a crunchy coating.
Our barbecue is still in hiding, but I think this would also make a fab BBQ dish.
PS. Rather than faffing around with real mango, I use a couple of chunks of frozen mango. Just defrost and crush with a fork.
Serves 2 – Ready in 45 minutes (including 30 mins marinade)
200g (7oz) chicken breast, cut into strips (212 cals)
1 clove garlic, crushed (4 cals)
25g (1oz) mango pieces, pulped with a fork (17 cals)
1 tbsp rum (31 cals)
juice 1 lime (4 cals)
1 heaped tbsp desiccated (dry unsweetened) coconut (60 cals)
1 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch) (31 cals)
salt and pepper
1 tbsp mild olive oil (99 cals)
Place the chicken strips in a freezer bag. Add the garlic, mango, rum and lime juice. Press the air out of the bag and seal. Rub the marinade around the chicken and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan.
Mix together the coconut and cornflour with a little salt and pepper. Remove one strip of chicken at a time from the bag and toss in the coconut and flour mixture. Repeat with each piece of chicken.
Take a wide frying pan, add the oil and set the heat to med-high. Add the chicken pieces to the frying pan one at a time, trying to leave room between the pieces. Fry for 2 minutes, until golden brown on one side, then turn and fry the other side for 2 minutes.
Transfer the chicken pieces to a baking tray and bake in the oven for 10 minutes, or until cooked through.
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