Nanakuli Chicken Breasts with Shiitake Mushrooms and Steamed Baby Vegetables
Chicken breasts are marinated in a mixture which includes Thai chili sauce, garlic, ginger, cilantro, and coconut milk, then pan-grilled. The marinade can also be used for a simple dish of grilled chicken. Nanakuli, a beachside community on the northwest corner of the island of Oahu, is the definition of “Hawaii country.” Begin a day ahead to let the chicken marinate.
- Fresh basil - 1/2 cup, chopped
- Thai chili sauce - 1/4 cup
- Shallots - 5, minced
- Fresh Cilantro - 6 tablespoons, minced
- Fresh Ginger - 1/4 cup, chopped
- Garlic - 2 tablespoons, chopped
- Fresh Lemongrass - 2 teaspoons, chopped
- Soy Sauce - 1 cup
- Unsweetened coconut milk - 1 cup
- Vegetable Oil - 1/4 cup
- Sugar - 2 tablespoons
- Chicken Breasts - 4 large skinless, boneless
- Oil - 2 tablespoons
- Steamed Baby Vegetables
- Baby bok choy - 4
- Fresh baby corn - 8
- Olive Oil - 2 tablespoons
- Japanese Eggplants - 12, cut into 1/4-inch diagonal slices
- Jasmine Rice - 2 cups, steamed
- Herb Sauce
- Chicken Stock - 4 cups
- Shallots - 2, minced
- Reserved marinade (above) - 1/4 cup
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1 tablespoon
- Unsalted Butter - 1 teaspoon
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Fresh Basil Leaves - 4, cut into fine shreds
- Black sesame seeds
- Basil Sprigs - 4, fresh
To make the marinade: Put the basil, chili sauce, shallots, cilantro, ginger, garlic, and lemongrass in a blender or food processor and puree. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Reserve 1/4 cup of the marinade in an airtight container and refrigerate. Pour the remaining marinade into a shallow non-aluminum container and add the chicken breasts; turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
To prepare the chicken: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. In a large ovenproof grill pan or skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil and saute the chicken breasts for 3 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes, or until the meat is opaque throughout and the juices run clear. Remove the chicken from the oven and place on a wire rack. Let rest for 10 minutes.
To prepare the vegetables: Fill the bottom of a steamer with water and bring to a boil. Put the bok choy and corn in the top of the steamer. Cover and steam for 12 minutes, or until tender. Set aside. In a medium saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil and saute the eggplant for 3 to 4 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from the pan and set aside. In the same pan, saute the mushrooms for 2 to 3 minutes, or until tender. Set aside. Oil four 2-1/2-inch-by-3-inch ring molds. While the rice is still warm, pack into the molds. Set aside.
To make the sauce: In a medium, heavy saucepan, combine the chicken stock and shallots. Cook over medium heat to reduce to 1/2 cup. Pour into a blender or food processor, add the reserved marinade, and puree. Strain through a sieve. Return to the saucepan and place over low heat. Stir in the cream and butter. Add the salt and pepper. Set aside and keep warm. Just before serving, stir in the basil.
To serve: Arrange the vegetables and unmold rice to one side of each serving plate. Place the shiitake mushrooms to one side. Cut the breast meat into thin slices and fan on the plates, overlapping some of the mushrooms. Garnish the rice with sesame seeds. Place a basil sprig in the center of each dish.