Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Joe's Mango Chicken

As promised here is my Mango Chicken recipe. When my parents came to visit we went to the Everglades, stopped at "Robert Is Here", and I spent $45 on Mangoes, Lychees, and Passion Fruit. I thought my parents would actually help out and eat some and they didn't eat a thing! Not one bite! So I was eating 5 mangoes a day and absolutely loving it. Every meal we made I wanted to add mango. Mango salad, mango shrimp, and then mango chicken. Natalie asked one night what is for dinner and I said mango chicken. She gave me the look like I'm nuts. I said I think I could make it work. I googled mango chicken really quick and checked out the first recipe just to get an idea of what is required for a mango chicken. Off of that I decided that I don't want some of those ingredients, I want more of some of them, and I wanted to add a little of my own. I also greatly changed the way the chicken looks. Their description says it looks and taste like fried food without all the calories. My does not look like it's fried. So anyways I took a few of their ideas and ran with it. And thus, Joe's Mango Chicken was born.

As far as what type of mangoes to use... Well the first time I made it I used the best mangoes I have eaten so far. They are called Glenn Mangoes. Last night I did it with Madame Francis (Haitian) mangoes that a coworker gave me. Everyone in Miami talks up Haitian Mangoes like they are the best. Probably because they eat off their neighbor's trees and have never gone and bought speciality mangoes. I actually have a Haitian Mango tree but it hasn't fruited yet. After tasting a Haitian Mango I decided I am going to sell my tree and buy a better mango, probably the Valencia Pride. It's not that the Haitian Mango is a bad mango, like the Tommy Atkin, but it's far from the best. They are very stringy and you have to floss like mad after eating them. There are probably 40 varieties that are better than the Madame Francis. Nam Doc Mai (I have a Nam Doc Mai tree, hasn't fruited yet, suppose to be the best), Valencia Pride, Alfonso, Ataulfo, Glenn, Carrie, Julie, Dot, Florigon, Kent. Just to name a few of best of the hundreds of varieties of mangoes out there. Anyways to the point. I used a Glenn the first time and a Madame Francis the second and even though when you're eating them plain it's very easy to tell the difference, I couldn't tell the difference when cooking with them. Most people buy those sulfuric tasting, stringy, garbage, Tommy Atkin Mangoes since that is what stores carry 85% of the time. Will they taste as good cooked as a Glenn? I can't say. Haven't tried it yet. Who knows, maybe that strong sulfuric taste will make the chicken better. So as far as what mangoes are good to use I am experimenting still.

Anyways here is what you need to do.

2-3 chicken breast

olive oil for pan-frying
1 cup all-purpose flour (or rice flour) mixed with 1/2 tsp. salt
extra 1/2 to 1 mango, cut into chunks (to finish the dish)
1/4 cup coconut milk or water

2-3 fresh ripe mangoes
1 red chili or jalapeno
1+1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce
a light sprinkle of paprika
zest of 1 lime
juice of 1 lime
2-3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 thumb-size piece of fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1/2 cup fresh coriander

Place all 'Mango Sauce' ingredients in a food processor or blender. Process well, until more or less smooth.

Taste-test the sauce. The goal is to reach a balance of sweet, sour, spicy, and salty.

Stir the flour and salt together and place in a mixing-type bowl. Add the chicken pieces and turn or gently stir them to coat.

Heat frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil, then begin frying the chicken pieces. Fry 3-5 minutes until cooked all the way through. I cook it until the chicken pretty much falls apart if you try to twist a fork in it. Remove chicken from pan and set on paper towel, or a clean surface.

Wash out the frying pan, or use another (clean) one. Set over medium-high heat and add the mango sauce with 1/4 cup water or coconut milk. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce to a simmer (medium to low heat).

Add the fried chicken pieces, gently stirring them in to cover with sauce. This is the part where the chicken goes from looking like it's fried in flour to looking like it's covered in a sauce. I use a lot of sauce.

Add chunks of mango. Simmer briefly, just until everything is hot.

Here are my pictures. They don't look very impressive because I was tired and didn't feel like dressing up my plate for paparazzi shots last night. But the flavor is amazing.