Help...something is missing - Pineapple, mango chicken

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Help...something is missing - Pineapple, mango chicken

Postby David M. Bueker » Tue Jul 11, 2006 1:13 pm

So we had a mango around the house (left by my folks), and Laura insists on using everything no matter what else we have to buy to do it. She found a mango chicken recipe, but after she wiped out all the ingredients she would not eat I was left to improvise from what was left.

So I did the following:

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 Vidalia onion, chopped
2 TBSP fresh ginger, minced
1 lime, zested and juiced (good lime, I got about 1/4 cup of juice!)
2 cups fresh cubed pineapple (good pineapple too!)
1 mango, chopped in small cubes (this disintegrated in cooking)
2 TBSP curry powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 TBSP neutral oil
Dash of fresh black pepper
1/4 tsp chili sauce

Thinly slice chicken breasts, and cook in 1 TBSP until nearly cooked through (I added a touch of salt here).

Next sautee Vidalia onion and minced ginger in the other TBSP oil until onion is translucent.

Add pineapple and mago to pan, along with lime juice/zest and cinnamon and curry powder and salt (plus I added the chili sauce and black pepper at this point) and cook 2-3 mins.

Add chicken back in to finish cooking through. THe pineapple should just barely start to soften.

The end result was ok, but seemed to be missing something. I would not have wanted it any saltier, but it was just not quite there. It did go great with 7 year old ZH gewurztraminer. The food was not very sweet (thankfully).

Any thoughts on what might be missing?
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Re: Help...something is missing - Pineapple, mango chicken

Postby Robin Garr » Tue Jul 11, 2006 1:43 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:Any thoughts on what might be missing?


Looks pretty darn good, David.

A couple of thoughts: Garlic and ginger go together great, and garlic, ginger and scallions also make an awesome Asian triad. Might try that next time to build a little more depth of flavor. And possibly kick up the chili sauce just a little more to give it some punch? Use a little galangal (Penzey's has it, as do Asian markets) to boost the ginger character? Add a little lemongrass?

I know Jenise will tease me about this, but I almost invariably choose chicken thighs, bone in and skin on, in favor of chicken breasts. To me, the boneless/skinless variety is about as bland as chicken gets, but I know others' mileage varies on this.
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Re: Help...something is missing - Pineapple, mango chicken

Postby David M. Bueker » Tue Jul 11, 2006 1:58 pm

I love chicken thighs, but my wife HATES and dark fowl meat, no matter how supermarket bland. She does not tolerate the texture.
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Re: Help...something is missing - Pineapple, mango chicken

Postby Robin Garr » Tue Jul 11, 2006 2:11 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:I love chicken thighs, but my wife HATES and dark fowl meat, no matter how supermarket bland. She does not tolerate the texture.


Guess there'd be no point in trying to get her to try this dish with duck, then? :oops:
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Re: Help...something is missing - Pineapple, mango chicken

Postby David M. Bueker » Tue Jul 11, 2006 3:49 pm

Nope. But I might when she goes on a business trip.
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Re: Help...something is missing - Pineapple, mango chicken

Postby Jenise » Tue Jul 11, 2006 8:29 pm

David, I'm seeing sweet and sharp flavors here (and all good ones), but I'm feeling that the dish is a bit imbalanced without something to savory pick up what salt you had in the dish. What about cilantro or green bell peppers?
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Re: Help...something is missing - Pineapple, mango chicken

Postby David M. Bueker » Tue Jul 11, 2006 8:54 pm

Good thought, but Laura can't eat bell peppers, and I can't eat cilantro (or at least not much...).

Savory though...I will give it some thought.
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Re: Help...something is missing - Pineapple, mango chicken

Postby Jeff Grossman/NYC » Wed Jul 12, 2006 5:10 am

David M. Bueker wrote:Any thoughts on what might be missing?


The sauce is all acid and spice. You need to balance the palate.

My first try would be to toss a handful of peas into this dish right at the end.

Second thought: cut the chicken smaller and serve over rice.

Third thought: add a chopped red bell pepper.

Last thought: add a handful of chopped cashews.
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Re: Help...something is missing - Pineapple, mango chicken

Postby David M. Bueker » Wed Jul 12, 2006 7:49 am

Hmm...I thought of cashews. I will try that, since both Laura and I like and can eat them. We like peas too...
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Re: Help...something is missing - Pineapple, mango chicken

Postby Larry Greenly » Wed Jul 12, 2006 10:47 am

I also think some bell pepper and/or cashews would be a good idea. A bit of garlic wouldn't hurt. And I think (unless the curry powder is hot) that a 1/4 tsp of chili sauce is pretty wimpy. I'd perk it up with a sliced green chile or a dash or two of dried crushed red pepper. Sounds yummy already.

If you want the dish to lean toward the Indian subcontinent, quarter a tomato or two and add them.

Now this idea might sound weird, but a little dash of good quality fish sauce will add some depth and complexity without tasting like fish. Might work!
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Re: Help...something is missing - Pineapple, mango chicken

Postby Robin Garr » Wed Jul 12, 2006 11:18 am

Jeff Grossman/NYC wrote:The sauce is all acid and spice. You need to balance the palate.


Maybe, maybe not ... perhaps he's just being very trendy. See today's <i>New York Times</i> ...

When the Sour Note Is Just Right
By JULIA MOSKIN
The New York Times
July 12, 2006


As the American palate has grown more worldly, food lovers have become thrill seekers, always looking for the next big flavor. First came the excitement of chilies, as diners learned to love fiery red Sichuan dishes and the green heat of poblano and jalapeño peppers. Now the flavor fashionsetters have moved on, to the piercing thrill of supersour.

Adults sip puckery green apple martinis, and even children chew sour candy, marketed as "extreme," until their eyes tear. Restaurants produce house-made pickles and ceviches with tangy, irresistible notes of lime and vinegar, and experiment with new sour flavors like Japanese yuzu, Indian green mango powder and Middle Eastern sumac.

"American cooks have figured out what we have always known in Southeast Asia: that a little bit of sour makes everything taste better," said King Phojanakong, who cooks Thai- and Filipino-influenced dishes at Kuma Inn on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. "And a lot of sour is fun, too."

Full story in The New York Times (registration required)
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Re: Help...something is missing - Pineapple, mango chicken

Postby Jeff Grossman/NYC » Thu Jul 13, 2006 5:00 am

Seems like hype to me, for two reasons:

#1... Dave said the dish lacked something. So, however much sour it had, it wasn't the cat's pajamas to him.

#2... It's an old trick that sour flavors are often mis- or partially- register as salty (which always goes over big with the eating public).

Fun article, anyway, as a resource of new flavors to try... even if they're all sour. :^)
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