I was going to cook a tofu dish tonight. No really. Honest! But then I read this recipe for Sweet Chili Chicken with Coconut Rice on Bev Cooks and couldn’t help myself. It looked soooo easy and good. It is so easy I didn’t even create my own copy of the recipe – then I realized I’m kind of (“kind of”? Really? Have we met?) process driven. I didn’t get all the ingredients lined up for my first picture and totally spaced seasoning the chicken with salt and pepper. It was still delicious. Go to the link above to get Bev’s whole story and perfect pictures. Really, do it. I don’t want the credit here.
I used boneless skinless chicken thighs because they are more forgiving and flavorful than chicken breasts. I did create a copy of the recipe here for my use in the future
I should have had a little bottle of honey and salt and pepper in this pic.
The rice takes about 45 minutes to cook so we start that before doing anything else. Pro cooking tip: rinse your rice really, really well. Years ago when I worked at Portland Community College a group of us would go down to a little bento place that made fabulous chicken and rice. They made there own chili sauce and sold it for a short time in local stores – I so miss that sauce. One day I was chatting with the owner/cook and asked how he made his rice turn out so good. He told me the key was rinsing the rice until the water runs clear. He was right! Rinse your rice.
I’m a gadget guy and use this rice drainer to rinse my rice; it makes the process easy as pie. Alton Brown would wag his finger at me and say “Tsk, Tsk” because it’s not a multi-tasker. But it nests in my colanders just fine. You can use a fine mesh strainer if you wish.
Once the rice is going, you have plenty of time to prep the ingredients. As I mentioned in my post on oven baked sesame chicken thighs I shy away from taking pictures of raw chicken – cuz it’s soooo ugly. But I chopped it up into 1 inch pieces and it wasn’t hideous.
I was in a hurry and skipped over the part where I should season the chicken in salt and pepper – so do that won’t you?
Another pro tip on rice cooking. Never, ever, EVER use ANY metal object whatsoever with your rice cooker. I forgot a few months ago and used a metal 1/2 cup measuring scoop to serve the rice. The rice looked great in the bowl: perfectly formed. But I had a 1-inch gash in the teflon lining and had to replace the bowl because I didn’t want to risk bits of it flaking off into the rice in later cooks.
When the rice cooker is cooking down its last few minutes, heat some olive oil in a skillet (I used a non stick for easy cleanup) over a medium-high heat. Drop the heat a bit and cook the chicken, tossing occasionally until it is cooked through and brown. Turn it out into a baking pan or a plate trying to keep the fat in the skillet. Then toss the chicken with the honey and sweet chili sauce.
Scoop some rice into a bowl, top with some of the chicken mixture and garnish with toasted sesame seeds and scallions (the green parts of green onions). We had some carrots and tomatoes on the side.
Dinner is served
I’m retired now, but this seems like a perfect after-work dinner. Start the rice, prep the ingredients and hang with the family for a bit until it’s time to bring it all together. I bet kids would love it.
Rating: ★★★★ 4 out of 5 stars. Not fancy but good for friends
A note on the pictures. I just bought a new camera body: a Sony A77 Mark II. These are the first ever pictures using it. I haven’t even worked through the menus to figure out the options. I simply put it on manual, mounted a flash and started shooting. This camera will be a big help when I’m out trying to get train pictures as it’s supposed to be really fast at continual focus with moving objects. It will also let me store three shooting settings on the mode dial which will help me move from one project to another. And it does a great job of not rendering our granite counter top into an orange pumpkin-hued sheet.