As my son noticed, the recipe for Thai Chicken Breasts with Coconut Milk and Lemongrass was one of only a few in the gorgeous cookbook Dinner: Changing the Game by Melissa Clark that was not accompanied by a photo. This should have been a red flag, especially when taking into consideration the fact that Dinner is such a beautiful book that it is deserving of a place on your coffee table. But there was something about the short ingredient list that gave me confidence that this recipe was worth a gamble.
It turns out, there was a reason for the photo omission but it certainly wasn’t taste. The intense flavor completely belies the appearance of the resulting dish. While the chicken may look bland, I promise you that it is anything but. Not to strain my arm patting myself on the back, but I have to say that I just knew this would be the case. The ingredient list is short but each of the components pack a punch–a punch that I felt confident delivering to the trepidatious palates of my “heat” sensitive kids. With that said, as Melissa Clark mentions in the recipe introduction, you should feel free to garnish your dish with a sliced Thai or serrano chile if you like a little spice.
Be sure to cook your breasts to doneness (165°F) which for me took longer than the recipe directions. Size does matter and a meat thermometer is your best friend, in this case. As a frame of reference, I ended up cooking the chicken for about five minutes longer than the directions indicated. Enjoy!
- 1 13.5-oz can unsweetened coconut milk (full fat)
- 3 Tbls Asian fish sauce
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 lemongrass stalk, trimmed, outer layers removed, inner core finely chopped*
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 boneless chicken breasts (8 oz each)
- fine sea salt, as needed
- 8 oz fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced (about 4c)
- 2 scallions (white and green parts), trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces, plus sliced scallions for garnish
- cooked jasmine rice, for serving
- In a 12-inch skillet, combine the coconut milk, fish sauce, lime juice, lemongrass and garlic.
- Bring the poaching liquid to a boil over medium-high heat; then reduce it to a simmer.
- Lightly season the chicken with salt, lower it into the simmering patching liquid and cook for 5 minutes.
- Then turn the breasts over and add the mushrooms and scallions; cook, covered, until the breasts are just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes or a bit longer, depending on the size of the chicken breasts. A meat thermometer should register 165F to indicate doneness.
- Transfer the chicken to a plate and tent with aluminum foil to keep warm. Return the skillet to the stove and simmer the sauce until it is slightly reduced, 2 minutes.
- Spoon the sauce over the chicken and garnish with sliced scallions.
- Serve over cooked jasmine rice.
- *I cheat here and use lemongrass from a tube--found in the produce section of the supermarket.