Coconut Chicken & Cucumber Mojo
The key to this dish is mastering the sauce while getting the benefit of chicken that is moist in the center with nearly crispy skin by slowly rendering the fat from the skin. Chicken fat is an important component to balancing the nutty and acidic sauce, as it imparts flavor from the baking process. You know you’ve perfected the density of the sauce if it sticks to the back of a spoon.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
2 teaspoons of kosher salt
1 teaspoon of sugar
2 pounds skin-on chicken thighs (boneless preferred)
¾ cup almonds
1 pound yukon gold potato, cut into ½ inch thick planks
1 tablespoon of coconut oil
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
For cucumber mojo:
2 cups, english cucumber, sliced into ribbons with vegetable peeler
¼ cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cumin
1⁄4 teaspoon dried oregano
6 cloves garlic, grated
¼ cup fresh orange juice
12-inch metal skillet, vegetable peeler, microplane
Heat oven to 375°F with wire rack placed at center.
Mix salt and sugar in a bowl and sprinkle the mixture all over chicken thighs. Add chicken, skin-side down, into a large skillet set to medium heat. Crisp chicken until golden brown, getting a nice sear and rendering fat (about 8 to10 minutes).
Remove chicken from pan, slice into 1-inch pieces and then brush chicken with 2 tablespoons of tamarind paste. Set aside.
Spread potato slices in an even layer into the same skillet with rendered chicken fat and cook over medium heat, allowing potato to brown (about 5 minutes). Add bay leaves, chili de arbol, and shallots evenly around the skillet and then pour in coconut milk.
Place skillet back in the oven for 10 minutes to let coconut milk reduce and for potatoes to soften. Once the potatoes are mostly tender, add in chicken and cover with crushed almonds. Bake for another 8 to 12 minutes. Note: season with more salt and pepper as you go.
While coconut chicken bakes in the oven, mix sliced cucumbers with the lime juice, oregano, garlic, juice of 1 orange and a 1 teaspoon kosher salt in a small bowl. Let cucumbers marinate until the chicken dish is ready.
Recipe: DeVonn Francis & Chris Liu
Photo: Tanner Hoffarth
Words: DeVonn Francis & Chris Liu