October 9, 2016

Banana Leaf Wrapped Pomegranate Molasses Glazed Chicken with Coconut Rice

"Banana leaf wrapped pomegranate molasses chicken with coconut rice".

What a mouthful.

Well, I'm sticking with this name, because I don't really know what else to call it. It's exactly what it is, and I'm not creative enough to come up with a fancy, shortened name anyways ;). I was inspired to make this dish after trying Asha Gomez's pomegranate molasses chicken, and decided that a Sunday night, before my dad's birthday, would be the perfect day.

This recipe was very labor intensive, mostly because it was an experiment. I'm not going to list exact measurements for the chicken part, because this was all purely a trial, but I will outline the process and the ingredients used:

"Recipe": Banana Leaf Pomegranate Molasses Chicken with Coconut Rice
By: Hannah Claudia (inspired by Asha Gomez)

coconut rice recipe (I made this in a rice cooker, omitted the sugar, and mixed in scallions and cilantro)
1 onion
banana leaves, defrosted and rinsed (I found some in the freezer section of an Indian grocery store)

for the chicken:
chicken thighs, 1 per person + 1 extra (I could only find bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, but if you can find skinless, boneless chicken thighs, use those instead!)
freshly ground black pepper (please use freshly ground - this is where 1/2 the flavor comes from!)

pomegranate molasses 

served my apple cabbage slaw on the side
(opt garnish: chopped scallions/parsley)


1. Make the coconut rice ahead of time! It's easier to handle when cooled.
2. Thinly slice the onion and caramelize it. (Asha's original recipe included potatoes that were par-cooked before placed in the oven; I opted not to include potatoes in this recipe)
3. Fill a large pot 3/4 of the way with water. Bring to a boil.
4. Place banana leaves, one at a time, in the boiling water, for 1 minute each. Remove and place in a bowl under cold, running water to cool. Drain the water.

5. Trim the skin/fat off of the chicken thighs (if you want to). Rub with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
6. In a large pan with oil heating over medium high heat, sear the chicken thighs to brown the outside.
7. Once both sides of the chicken are browned, remove the chicken from the heat.

8. Cut the banana leaves into 8" x 16" (approximately) rectangles.
9. For each banana leaf:

  • scoop coconut rice into a small ramekin. Turn the ramekin over, onto the center of the banana leaf.
  • top the coconut rice with some of the caramelized onions. Spoon a little bit of pomegranate molasses over the onions.
  • add the browned chicken thigh and spoon some more pomegranate molasses over that.
  • wrap the banana leaf "parcel"  up, making sure that the contents will not spill out. You can use a toothpick to secure the ends of the banana leaf.
(*tip: it may be helpful to have one extra chicken thigh, unwrapped. This will make the process of testing to see whether or not the chicken is cooked through much easier!)

10. Place the banana leaf parcels on a rimmed baking sheet (or, in my case, 2 cake tins and a brownie pan). Bake at 425*F for 20-30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through (thickest portion will be 165*F).
11. Serve with the apple cabbage slaw and garnish with scallions. 

xoxo, han

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