Mango chicken

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Mango chicken
This recipe for mango chicken, with green chilli bhajis and mint yogurt dip was submitted to Kitchen Geekery by Dan May, author of the The Red Hot Chilli Cookbook and whose Trees Can’t Dance chilli products are sold throughout the UK.
Dan writes; "This dish creates wonderful exotic flavours by combining the smooth sweetness of mango and some quite traditional Indian spicing. I love mango in marinades: apart from being delicious in its own right, it carries other flavours so well and has great tenderising properties.
In this recipe we cook the chicken in the marinade, turning it into something of a cook-in sauce. This works well with homemade marinades as they tend not to have the acidity (needed to extend shelf life) of store-bought versions.
This marinade will also work very well with salmon fillets or even pork cutlets and can be cooked in the same way, just adjust your cooking time appropriately for your chosen ingredients.
Recommended Chillies: Fatali, Scotch Bonnet, Datil or failing that, any Habanero variety."
Prep Time 2 hrs 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 3 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4

Ingredients  

  • 4 large skinless chicken breasts
  • 200 g fresh mango flesh, diced (from 1 mango, about 300g/10½oz)
  • 4 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 1 small habanero or other very hot chilli (very finely chopped)
  • 2 garlic cloves (crushed)
  • a handful of fresh coriander (chopped)
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp mixed peppercorns
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • salt & black pepper
  • pilaf rice (to serve)

caramelized lime, mint & yogurt dip

  • 300 g plain yogurt
  • 1 lime (quartered, + extra lime zest, to garnish)
  • a few fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tsp groundnut oil

green chilli bhajis

  • 500 ml sunflower oil
  • 250 g (chickpea) flour
  • 250 g cornflour
  • 1 large onion (finely diced)
  • 5 cm piece of fresh ginger (peeled and finely chopped)
  • 100 g mild green chillies (finely chopped)
  • 60 g plain whole yogurt
  • 3-4 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
  • 4 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 4 tbsp nigella (black onion) seeds
  • 4 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 4 tbsp fenugreek seeds
  • 3 tbsp hot curry powder
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • ½ tbsp whole cloves
  • grated zest and juice of 2 limes

Instructions 

Preparing the marinade

  • Toast the spices in a hot, dry frying pan over medium heat until the seeds start to pop. Then grind them, together with the salt, using a pestle and mortar.
  • Put the ground spices, mango, vinegar, sugar, chilli, garlic and coriander into a food processor and blend for about 30 seconds, or until smooth. If required, loosen the marinade with 1–2 tablespoons olive oil.
  • Lightly score the chicken breasts with a sharp knife, place them into a deep bowl and cover with the marinade. Use your hands to rub the marinade well into the meat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. This can be done first thing in the morning and left to marinate until the evening.

The caramelized lime, mint, and yogurt dip

  • Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add the lime quarters and fry each cut side until the surface begins to develop a strong colour. It can be useful to push the lime onto the hot surface of the pan to speed this process – this will force out a little more of the juice, aiding the caramelization.
  • Mix the yogurt and a pinch of black pepper in a small bowl. Squeeze the juice from the caramelized limes into the bowl. Take half the mint leaves and roughly tear them, then add to the bowl, too.
  • Stir, then garnish with the rest of the lime leaves and a little lime zest. Set aside.

The green chilli bhajis

  • Put the sunflower oil in a large saucepan and heat until it reaches 190˚C or 375˚F on a cooking thermometer. If you don’t have a cooking thermometer, the oil is ready when a 2.5-cm cube of white bread dropped into it browns in less than 60 seconds.
  • Meanwhile, toast all the seeds and the cloves in a hot, dry frying pan over medium heat until the seeds start to pop. Grind them using a pestle and mortar. Put the ground spices along with all the remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix. Gradually add 250 ml water until the final mixture is firm but will drop from a spoon.
  • Place about 3 separate tablespoonfuls of the bhaji mix in the hot oil and fry for about 8 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the bhajis from the pan using a slotted spoon and let them drain on kitchen paper, or something similar, before serving. Continue to cook the remaining bhajis in batches and keep the already cooked bhajis warm until needed.

The Mango Chicken

  • A few minutes before you are ready to start cooking the chicken, preheat the oven to 180˚C/350˚F or Gas Mark 4.
  • Place the chicken and its marinade in the deep casserole dish, cover with foil and cook in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and return the chicken to the oven for a further 10 minutes, or until cooked through.

To serve

  • Serve on a bed of pilaf rice with green chilli bhajis and caramelized lime, mint & yogurt dip.
The Mango tree plays a sacred role in India; it is a symbol of love and some believe that the Mango tree can grant wishes.
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