Prep 25 mins
Cook 50 mins
EDIT: You can make just the chicken and the aioli - it makes a wonderful appetizer all by itself. It's like coconut shrimp, except it's chicken!!! The entire recipe is so simple to make, but it does take a bit of time to prep for it. To simplify, you can make some of the items in advance - for example the aioli and the risotto. In fact, you could use leftover risotto of any type, so long as the flavoring is compatible. The cooking time is for all the separate steps, but much can be done concurrently. This recipe was created for Raiders of the Lost Pantry game, 2013. Ahoy, me Hearties!!!
FOR THE AIOLI
- 1⁄2 cup Thai sweet chili sauce
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder (maybe a bit more)
- 2 1⁄2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
- 1 tablespoon white rum
FOR THE LEMONGRASS RISOTTO
- 2 inches lemongrass
- 1 1⁄2 cups chicken broth
- 1⁄2 cup water
- 1 teaspoon lime zest, finely grated
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon onion, minced
- 1⁄2 cup arborio rice
- 3 tablespoons white wine
FOR THE GRILLED EGGPLANT
- 1 small eggplant, sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
- 1⁄4 cup olive oil
- garlic powder
FOR THE COCONUT CHICKEN
- 1⁄2 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, filets, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
- 1⁄4 cup cornstarch
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 2 egg whites
- 1⁄2 cup dried unsweetened flaked coconut
- 1⁄2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- coconut oil
- 1⁄2 cup fresh basil leaf
- FOR AIOLI:.
- Place all ingredients in a small bowl, mix well and set aside in the fridge.
- FOR LEMONGRASS RISOTTO:.
- Bruise the lemongrass by pounding with flat edge of chef's knife, then cut stalk in half lengthwise. Place in a small saucepan and add the broth, water, lime zest, and lime juice. Bring to a boil and then set to simmer.
- In a small heavy saucepan, melt the butter. Add the onion and garlic and stir until fragrant (don't let the garlic burn!). Add the rice and stir until all grains are coated.
- Add white wine to the rice and stir over medium heat until it is absorbed.
- Add 1/2 cup of the simmering broth to the rice, stirring till absorbed.
- Repeat until liquid is gone or the rice is al dente. Towards the end, add salt to taste. The finished rice should be wet but not runny. Set aside to cool.
- FOR GRILLED EGGPLANT:.
- Brush both sides of eggplant with olive oil. Sprinkle salt, pepper and garlic powder on one side of each.
- Using a grill or a grill pan, grill the slices until tender, turning to grill each side and create grill marks. Set aside.
- FOR COCONUT CHICKEN:.
- Place cornstarch, salt and ground cayenne in a small bowl. Mix well.
- In another small bowl, whisk the egg whites until foamy (about two minutes).
- In another small bowl, mix the coconut flakes and the panko crumbs.
- Place chicken chunks in a small bowl and season lightly with salt. Mix well.
- Take several pieces of chicken and put them in cornstarch bowl, shake and dredge to coat completely, then take each piece and dip it in the egg white, covering completely. Dip each piece in the coconut panko mix until fully covered. Set aside on a large plate. Repeat until all pieces are coated.
- TO ASSEMBLE:.
- Make the risotto cakes: Coat a frying pan with olive oil and place over medium heat. Scoop up approximately 1/3 cup risotto and squeeze into a tight "ball" in your hands, then press to form a nice flat, round patty with even sides about 1/4" high. Place in the frying pan. Repeat till rice is used up (you should get at least four patties).
- Fry each patty until golden brown on each side, this takes a while. Resist the temptation to peek before 2-3 minutes are up, or they'll break apart if they haven't developed a good crust. Remove from heat when done.
- Meanwhile, melt enough coconut oil (if you keep it in fridge) to generously cover the bottom of a small non-stick frying pan. Drop a piece of panko into the hot oil. If it sizzles immediately, you're good to go.
- Fry the pieces of chicken, careful not to overbrown - they cook fast! Turn and fry other side to golden. If "wedge" shaped, you can fry the third side as well. Set aside on a paper-towel covered plate.
- Take the basil leaves and cut them chiffonade.
- To assemble the towers, place a slice of grilled eggplant, topped by a sprinkling of basil, then another slice of eggplant. Top with a risotto cake, and crown the tower with a few pieces of coconut chicken. Sprinkle a few pieces of chicken around the base. Drizzle some of the aioli over the finished tower and a little bit to pool decoratively on the plate. Garnish with a basil sprig.