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Why I don't cook everything in coconut milk is beyond me. It adds a rich flavor, creamy texture, and a sweetness that's perfectly at home in savory dishes. It's no wonder that so many tropical cuisines have some version of rice cooked in coconut milk.
This particular one-pot recipe, made with tender chicken thighs, fresh, crunchy snow peas, and lightly spiced rice cooked in coconut milk is not from any particular tradition, but it sure is a tasty way to make a quick, weeknight meal.
This recipe is straightforward in its preparation, but builds flavor with each step. We start by browning chicken thighs skin-side down in a hot skillet until they're nice and crisp. Chicken thighs, with their higher amount of connective tissue, stay nice and moist even with simmered with the rice. After removing the chicken, we add onions, softening them in rendered chicken fat and stirring them in the browned chicken juices to loosen them up and starting to build up flavor for our broth. Next, I add a pinch of cumin and cayenne pepper, toasting them in the flavorful fat.
Finally, we toast some aromatic Jasmine rice, letting it get nice and nutty before adding a mixture of coconut milk and chicken broth. After nestling the chicken pieces back into the rice, it's just a matter of covering and simmering until the chicken and rice are cooked, adding a handful of snow peas to the mix for the last minute of cooking so that they retain their fresh crunch.
Lime and coconut are a natural pair, and here I use both fresh lime juice and zest for both a lightening acidity and citrusy aroma. Finish it off with some fresh chopped cilantro and you have a filling dinner in less than an hour. You might also end up with the same problem I have: you're going to want to put coconut milk in everything.
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