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Indian Pico De Gallo Chicken

Well every once in a while your cooking takes an unexpected left turn. Sometimes you're stretching for an idea that will break you out of a rut and you piece together a few things from your experience as a cook and get a novel recipe idea like nothing else anyone has ever tasted. It might be good or it might be terrible, and in this case it was incredible.

My wife and I wanted to eat outside, it was a pretty hot summer day, and I was bored of most of our food options. I wanted something delicious, something cold, something that we hadn't eaten before. Not wanting to take the time to dredge the internet for a recipe that I may or may not have the ingredients for, I just sort of stood in front of the closed fridge wringing my brain. I decided I wanted diced tomatoes, and chopped red onion, along with some peppers, all uncooked, sort of like a pico de gallo. But I also had some coconut milk leftover, and I wanted to use it up quickly. That's where this recipe came from, and it's the best fusion dish I've ever made.

It uses a tart and creamy sauce made from lemon and coconut milk to coat the raw veggie ingredients. I originally wanted to serve it on bread, like a bruschetta, but my wife preferred cheese tortellini, and instead of chicken we used a chickenless substitute that worked out to be delicious. Here's how it came together:

Indian Pico De Gallo Ingredients

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (not cream)
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tsp whole cumin (you can use ground coriander if you’re not into cumin)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp crushed or ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp sugar or maple syrup (optional)
  • 1.5 tsp corn starch

for the Pico de Gallo

  • 1 cup medium-diced tomato
  • 1/3 cup small-diced red onion
  • 1/3 cup small-diced green pepper
  • 3-5 cloves garlic, minced

For the protein

  • 1 cooked Chicken breast, cubed
  • or a suitable substitute

Indian Pico De Gallo Method

There are a few steps to this, but don't be intimidated, it comes together fast. 

  1. Dice all your veggies, mince your garlic and set aside in a small mixing bowl.
  2. If you have not done so already, prepare your chicken breasts by either grilling or frying. For this preparation I fried a breaded chicken substitute in a little oil.
  3. In a medium frying pan, heat your oil over medium-high heat.
  4. While the oil is heating add your black pepper, sugar, turmeric, along with the cornstarch to the coconut milk and stir well.
  5. Once oil is heated, add your cumin seeds to the oil and stir until they are aromatic, but not burned, about 30 seconds. If using ground coriander, a few seconds in the oil will be enough. It should sizzle but not burn.
  6. Now add the coconut/spice mixture to the cumin seeds in the pan, and stir this continuously until it is thickened. Keep it moving to avoid clumping starch. It should be quite thick, almost like a glaze.
  7. Now add your lemon juice (about 2 tbsp). You should have a beautiful yellow sauce.
  8. Add your sauce to the pico de gallo mix. The juice of the tomatoes and the lemon should combine with the sauce to form a salad-dressing consistency. I placed the mixing bowl in a larger one half-filled with cold water to bring the temperature down, but this is an optional step.
  9. Finish it off with some seasonings. I used a half teaspoon of chat masala and some fenugreek leaves, but a dash of salt and some minced cilantro or fresh parsley will also work great with these ingredients.
  10. If you have not already done so, cube or slice your chicken breasts. Serve over toast or cold pasta as a summer salad.

 

 

August 06, 2020 — Ben M

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