Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Spicy chicken and a tale of a poorly Tabitha cat

I don't know about you, but you couldn't drag me to the shop to buy chicken breast to cook with, even if it came with a signed photograph of David Beckham with his top off.  That pretty much sums up my aversion to chicken breast, so why is there a recipe for Coconutty Chicken featuring the feared white meat?

It's all because of
Tabitha cat.

The other morning, I found Tabitha sick, lying on a cushion and completely off her food. I mean, Tabs is NEVER off her food, so I was pretty worried. So much that I came home early from work and found a vet that made house calls. By the time the excellent vet arrived, the Tabster was a bit better, enough to bite, scratch and hiss at him when he tried to take her temperature.  The vet diagnosed a probable gut virus and prescribed no food for the rest of the day (poor Tabs!) and something 'bland, like boiled chicken' for the next day. So I bought some chicken breast (less fatty and more bland than thigh meat), chopped a third of it off and poached it in some water for Tabitha. She loved it.

The rest of the chicken became our dinner that night. I had to find a recipe that would mask the dryness of the meat and this chicken with coconut milk fit the bill. Speaking of bills - the vet bill was quite high, but it was worth it for the Tabster. She has made a full recovery.

These photos were taken while Tabs was sick, and afterwards the same day:
Before: "Get that effing camera out of my face"
After: "Well, I'm glad that's over with. Now, where's the food?"

So that's the story of how chicken breast graced my kitchen. Here's the recipe:

Chicken with coconut and chilli
serves 2

2x 200g chicken breast fillets
200ml coconut milk
1 tblsp lime juice
2 tblsp fish sauce
1 long red chilli, sliced
100g bean sprouts
2 spring onions, sliced
to serve: blanched snow peas, steamed rice

1.  Place the chicken, coconut milk, lime juice, fish sauce and chilli in a bowl and set aside for 10 minutes to marinate.
2.  Place a non-stick frypan over high heat.  Cook the chicken, reserving the marinade, for 4 minutes each side, or until golden.  Add the marinade to the pan and cook for a further 4-6 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.  Add the bean sprouts to the pan and heat through until they soften, about 1 minute.
3.  Remove the chicken from the pan and slice.  Serve the chicken with rice, snow peas and the bean sprouts.  Spoon over the pan sauce and sprinkle with spring onions.

recipe adapted from donna hay (feb/mar 2011)
Ingredients, well the vegetable part, anyway.

Chicken simmering in coconut milk marinade, with bean sprouts

Serve the chicken with some healthy brown rice and some greenery
 This has been one of the rare occasions where chicken breast has turned out quite tasty and moist. Thanks to Tabitha!


  1. Ooo...poor kitty cat!

    I actually quite like chicken breast...more than thigh, just like Tabitha! I find that sometimes thigh has gristle in it, but that might just be as it's from the supermarket.

  2. Your chicken dish looks delicious love the idea of coconut milk and chili...and bring more brown rice! Have a wonderful week ahead :-)

  3. Yum Yum...!! You are getting healthy with brown rice. I should do the same.

  4. If anything can spruce up chicken breast, it's coconut. Sounds like a great dish! And I hope Tabitha is feeling better!

  5. Hope Tabitha is feeling much better now!

    I much prefer chicken thigh to breast, but breast doesn't have to be dry... you just have to be careful not to overcook it!

  6. Oh, poor Tabitha! But good to hear she's better =)

    I'm a firm thigh woman myself so I understand your aversion to chicken breast!

  7. Poor Tabitha! Hope she gets better soon. She is so lucky to have you too cook her this delicious chicken dish :)

  8. Awww poor Tabbie! Glad she's made a full recovery. So will we be seeing chicken again in your kitchen? Hehe, I actually love chicken but it sure is disappointing when it's cooked wrong.

  9. Aww poor lil Tabs! Good to know she's back to nomming the plants again :P And loved the line about chicken breast and David Beckham. Now that's a new angle to sell it! :D

  10. oh poor thing...at least she feels better now. One of my cats is still suffering from bladder discomfort...sighs...
    The chicken dish looks very yummy! Nice presentation too.

  11. wow thats a fast recovery! yay!

    haha love the story associated with this dish...a great discovery! :)

  12. looks like there are 2 happy endings to this story, a healthy happy catty and a delicious dish to match!

  13. aww poor thing, glad to hear she's better now!
    I rarely cook chicken breast too, I only get it when I cook whole chicken.

  14. poor baby Tabitha. I hope she's better now xoxoxo

  15. Poor Tabitha! I don't like chicken breast either, but I don't think I dislike it as much as you :P And this recipe looks delicious too!

  16. It's nice that a sad tale had such a happy ending, and everyone enjoyed their chicken breast.

  17. Awe, I hope Tabitha is feeling better by now. It's probably good for her to have some fresh meat sometimes...
    Oh, and I'm with you on the chicken breast thing, Bel. I don't get why it's the part of the bird that most want. Ick! Your coconut chicken does look nice though. Yeah!

  18. I love all these flavors, I can't wait to try it. Be careful cooking with marinade, though. You're bringing the chicken to a safe temperature, but then adding marinade that was used on raw chicken, so that needs to be brought to a safe temp, too. Or you could divide it and use some for soaking and some for simmering :).