Saturday, November 21, 2009

Becky: Iron Chef Blogger Challenge Coconut Milk

Note: Becky is one of our Iron Chef Bloggers who will be guest blogging on Two Friends Cook.

Indonesian Coconut Chicken

2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground fennel
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 lbs. chicken drumsticks
2 medium onions, finely sliced
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup water
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1/4 cup scallions, sliced, for garnish

In a small bowl, combine the garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, fennel, and cinnamon. Rub the mixture all over the chicken drumsticks. Place the chicken, any leftover seasoning mixture, onions, coconut milk, water and lemon juice in the Crock-Pot slow cooker. Cover; cook on Low 6 to 8 hours (or on High for 3 to 4 hours). Garnish with scallions.

I got this recipe from The New Creative Crock-Pot Cookbook, by Robin Taylor Swatt. Part of the reason why I chose this recipe was because it sounded easy to make, plus most of the ingredients I already had on hand. The only things I needed to buy were the onions, the chicken, the coconut milk and the scallions. Another reason why I chose this recipe is because I thought not only would I like it, but my husband would like it as well. He's a pretty picky eater, but he does like Asian cuisine. The fact that this recipe was Indonesian also sparked my interest seeing as though me and my family may be moving there for a couple of years sometime in the future because of my husband's job. I thought it would be fun to taste one of the recipes that Indonesia has to offer.
I ran into a couple problems shopping for the ingredients. For one thing, I could not find a 2 lb. package of chicken drumsticks. The closest I could find was only 1.75 lbs. I didn't think it would make that much of a difference, but in the end it became a small problem because we were still hungry after dinner! I also could not find scallions. Neither the produce section nor the Asian food aisle had them, so I ended up doing without. Also, when I got home I realized that the coriander and fennel I had were not ground. I mixed them up anyways and them tried to grind the spice mixture in the blender, but it didn't make much difference. Also, there wasn't nearly enough of the spice mixture to evenly coat all of the drumsticks.
I prepared this dish early in the morning, so I chose to cook the chicken on Low instead of High. In my experience with crockpot cooking, I've found that the food typically tastes better if it's cooked on the Low setting anyways. All in all, I was satisfied with this recipe. The chicken was both spicy and sweet at the same time, if that makes sense. The cumin and coriander made it spicy, but the coconut milk and the cinnamon balanced it out. One thing that I like about crockpot cooking is that the meat always seems to just fall off the bone, and this was no exception. I gave a little piece to my daughter, and after that first bite she seemed a little skeptical. I thought maybe it was too spicy for her, but the next thing I knew she was chowing down faster than I could get the pieces of chicken on her high chair tray, so I think it's pretty safe to say that she was a fan. My husband also said it was delicious, but thought that there was too much onion.
If I ever make this dish again, I think I will take the time to buy ground fennel and coriander, because every once in awhile I would bite on a coriander seed and it was just too much spicyness. Also, I don't think the recipe needed quite as much onions. I think just one sliced onion would've been fine. But all in all, I give it a thumbs up. I just wished that there was more. Usually I'm often left with leftovers when I cook but that was not the case this time.

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