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the Pig-tailed Macaque

I love the flavor of coconut. It doesn’t matter if it’s fresh, sweetened flaked or shredded, coconut milk, or cream of coconut, I love it all. And I recently discovered that the male Pig-tailed Macaque like coconuts too.

In Thailand and Malaysia, they are trained in special schools to harvest coconuts, and competitions are held annually to find the fastest harvester. 

This coconut chicken is a cool and refreshing dish, makes me think of a beautiful cool day in the tropics sitting on the beach, drinking a Pina Colada, and watching the little primates work away…

Coconut Crusted Chicken

3/4 cup coconut milk
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon red curry paste
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1  teaspoon olive oil
1/4 cup peeled and finely minced shallots
1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/3 cup chopped dry-roasted cashews
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon fish sauce

6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1  1/4 cups panko bread crumbs
1 cup flaked unsweetened coconut
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons olive oil

Sauce: In a small bowl whisk together coconut milk, sugar, curry paste, and cornstarch until well combined.  Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots, ginger, and garlic to the pan; cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.  Add coconut milk mixture to the saucepan and bring to a boil.  Cook 1 minute or just until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Remove pan from heat; stir in cashews, lime juice, and fish sauce, set aside, and gently reheat before serving.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Chicken: Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt.  Combine cornstarch and red pepper in a 1-gallon zip-lock plastic bag.

Combine panko and flaked coconut in a shallow dish.

Place egg whites in another shallow dish.

Add chicken to bag; seal and shake well to coat.  Remove from bag; discard cornstarch mixture. Dip 1 chicken breast in egg white; dredge in the panko-coconut mixture.  Repeat procedure with remaining chicken breasts, egg whites, and panko-coconut mixture.

Heat oil in a large ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add chicken to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until nicely browned. Place the skillet in preheated oven.

Bake for 10 minutes or until done.  Slice each breast on the diagonal and serve with sauce.

Serves 6

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