7.20.2011

Coconut Ginger Tacos






The kids and I just fell in love with the cuisine of a local food truck.  "Chow Truck" has the best Asian tacos. The addiction was immediate.  In fact, we hunted down the Chow Truck three times in one week.  The tacos were so fresh and flavorful.  

I just love it when East meets West.  

I tried to re-create the chicken tacos from Chow Truck and came up with this recipe version.

Enjoy.





I think it's a great idea to have a pantry stocked full of "Asian" food staples.  The best and least expensive place to purchase these items is at an Asian market.  

You will need the following:  Sambal (chili sauce), which has some serious heat.  Soy sauce, Sweet red chili sauce and coconut milk.  I seriously purchase coconut milk by the case.  I'm quite partial to the "Mae Ploy" brand, but any brand will work.




Fresh ginger and lemon grass.




A plateful of chicken.  I'm using 5 chicken thighs and 4 chicken breasts.  

Yes.  The thighs are higher in fat, BUT I want the chicken to be moist not dry.  Another fact is that I am pouring an entire can of coconut milk over the chicken, so what's a little more fat.




I am using a crock pot to cook the chicken in.  You can use a heavy pot with a lid and cook in a low temperature oven, if you'd prefer.

Pour in the entire can of coconut milk.




Add 1/4 cup soy sauce.




1/4 cup of the Sweet red chili sauce.




1 tablespoon of the Sambal hot chili sauce.  I can take the heat.  If you can't, just omit this fabulous addition.




Ohhhhh about 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup of fresh chopped ginger. 




 I love ginger so I don't hold back.




Cut about a 4-inch piece of the lemon grass.




Make some cuts in the lemon grass with a knife.  I like to get the flavors released by using the back of my knife and giving the lemon grass a few hits.




Whisk the ingredients together.




Toss in the lemon grass.




I like to brown the chicken first.  You can pan sear the chicken pieces or throw it on the grill for a few minutes.  I grilled mine because just seemed easier at the moment.




Place the browned chicken into the coconut milk mixture.  Stir to coat the chicken.




Place a lid on the crock pot and cook on high heat for about 4 hours.  You can cook the chicken low and slow for 8-10 hours.  If you are using an oven, cook for 4-6 hours at 300 degrees.




The chicken has been simmering for about 4 hours on high heat in my crock pot.  It has started to fall apart.  

Remove the lemon grass and discard.




Take two forks and pull the chicken apart.  




You want the chicken to be shredded.

Place the lid back on the crock pot and continue to cook while preparing the slaw topping.




This slaw topping is the best part.  It add such a great crunch to the taco.  I love it!

You will need 1/2 head of cabbage, one red pepper,  a 4-inch piece of cucumber, shredded carrots, rice vinegar, sugar and lime.




Pour 2 tablespoons of the rice vinegar into a small mixing bowl.




Add 2 teaspoons of sugar.




Whisk to dissolve the sugar.  Set aside.




Cut the half head of cabbage into half.  (get it?)




Remove the core from the cabbage.




Like so.




Using a knife or a food slicer, but the cabbage into thin slices.




Place in a large bowl.  Set aside.




You can shred your own carrot, but I just happen to have a bag of pre-shredded carrots.  I'm using it.

Grab a handful and throw it into the bowl of cabbage.  




Slice one red pepper.







Add to the cabbage and carrots.




Cut a 4-5 inch piece of cucumber. 




Slice the cucumber into circles.




Stack the circles and slice into little match stick pieces.  You can adjust the amounts of all the slaw ingredients to your own personal taste.  I pretty much just chop and toss.




Pretty.




I'm using mint.  Oh, I forgot to mention the mint.  

You don't have to use mint.  I just have it growing in my garden.  You can use cilantro or Thai basil.

Wow!  What if you used all three?  The combination of mint, cilantro and Thai basil would be fabulous.  I'm doing that next time.




Slice the mint into strips...or whatever.




Still pretty.




Toss the ingredients together.




Pour the vinegar mixture over the slaw and toss.




Slice the lime into wedges.  I like to give my taco a little squeeze.




This is how I steam my corn tortillas.  

Pour one teaspoon of water into a microwave safe dish that has a lid.




Take a stack of corn tortillas.  I plan on two tortillas per taco.  You do the math for however many you will be serving.




Place a clean cloth in the baking dish and add the tortillas.




Fold the towel over the tortillas and cover with a lid.  

Place in a microwave for 2 minutes.  Remove from the microwave and let stand for about 5 minutes.

Uncover and the tortillas will be hot and steamy.  




To serve:  Take two hot tortillas and place about 1/3 cup of the chicken down the center.




Top with a heaping scoop of the cabbage slaw.




Drizzle with more of the sweet red chili sauce and a squeeze of lime.




Look at me!  I'm giving my taco a squeeze of Sriracha.  I'm not afraid of the heat.




I think this looks pretty darn fabulous if I do say so myself. 




Coconut Ginger Tacos are a light summer meal.  I'm really digging the cabbage slaw on top...really.



Coconut Ginger Tacos

1 15 oz can of coconut milk
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sweet red chili sauce
1 tablespoons Sambal hot chili sauce
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, chopped
1 4-inch piece of lemon grass.
4-5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
cabbage slaw 
24 corn tortillas

In the bowl of a crock pot or a heavy pot with a lid, add coconut milk, soy, sweet chili sauce, hot chili sauce, ginger.  Cut slits in the piece of lemon grass and add it to the coconut mixture.  Stir to combine.  Lightly brown chicken in a skillet or on a grill.  Add the the coconut milk mixture and cook in a crock pot on high for 4 hours or low heat for 8-10 hours.  If using an oven, slow roast on 300 degrees for 4-6 hours.

Once the chicken has cooked, remove the piece of lemon grass and discard.  Using two forks, shred the chicken.  Keep warm until ready to use.

Cabbage slaw topping:
1/2 head of cabbage, shredded
1 red pepper, slice
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup cucumber, cut into matchstick slices
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar

In a small bowl combine the vinegar and sugar.  Stir until sugar is dissolved.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, toss together the cabbage, red pepper, carrot, cucumber and mint. Pour the vinegar mixture over the slaw and toss.

In a microwave safe bowl with a lid, place 1 teaspoon of water.  Line the dish with a clean towel and place the tortillas in the towel.  Fold the towel over the tortillas, cover and microwave for 2 minutes.  Remove from microwave and let stand for 5 minutes.

To serve:  Remove two steamed tortillas.  Fill with a heaping spoonful of chicken top with cabbage slaw, sweet red chili sauce and a squeeze of lime.  

This should easily make 12 tacos.  Maybe even more.  The cooked chicken can be frozen for up to 1 week, if you are likely to have leftovers.




Let me know if you enjoy this fusion of East and West.  












26 comments:

  1. Ahhhh looks so delish ! Loads of flavors in one dish ... Yumm

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  2. Thank you, Sutrupa. Let me know if you think it could more flavor!!!

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  3. Why, oh why, am I moving in a week? I would make these so fast, but I have to PACK! This will be so fresh and perfect for one of our first meals in our new place. Can't WAIT!

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  4. Oh Whitney, my dear, you are not going to want to even turn on an oven when you get to Phoenix. You will want to live off of popcycles and ice. Good luck to you.

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  5. I just made these and they were fantastic. The flavors of the chicken were amazing. I added some garlic to the mix as well. I loved all the fresh veggies and herbs in the slaw. I made some coconut lime rice to go along with it, and then served it as lettuce wraps. Thanks for the awesome recipe I can't wait to make again!

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  6. Sounds fabulous. Love the lettuce wrap idea. Way to go Reyna!

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  7. cock pot. heh. heh.

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  8. Thank you for telling me! HELLO rest of the world. I'm terrible at proof reading, as you may have noticed. Someone needs to let me know these things. TRUE friends tell their friends when they totally screw up!!!!!!

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  9. These look awesome! You just know those flavours are going to be beautiful. + I love your photography. Thanks for the recipe!

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  10. Hai Dear

    I came across your blog recently..WOW what a blog you have..I love all your recipes..They are awesome..I have bookmarked some recipes to try...The crepes cake and the huge batch of chocolate that you made was mouthwatering...WOW..Keep up the good work...Hope you check my blog too..
    http://yummytummy-aarthi.blogspot.com/

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  11. I'm so glad you found my blog. I will definitely check your blog out. Thanks for passing it on.

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  12. Lovely recipe, cant wait to try it. I don't have a crock pot but could I cook it in my Le Creuset?

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  13. Know what I did? Copied the Chicken recipe from here, didn't have tacos and substituted with lettuce wraps and then made the peanut sauce from your Thai Chicken wraps recipe and voila! I am the new domestic goddess at home now! You are fantastic. Thank you for sharing such exotic recipes

    S from Dubai

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  14. Sure. Just put it in a low oven temp at about 275 degrees. That should work great.

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  15. Fabulous idea! I'm going to try the lettuce wraps.

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  16. This is seriously the best thing I have ever eaten in my entire life. No exaggeration!

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  17. I loooooove the Chow Truck! I tried recreating their recipe on my own, before, and it wasn't a huge hit. Not terrible, but not incredible like theirs. I'm SO excited to try this!! Yayyyy! Thanks for posting!

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    1. I hope this recipe can compare slightly to Chow Truck. I just realized that it's been a while since I followed that truck. Time to keep track of it again. Enjoy!

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  18. I love that you take pics of each step instead of making a video, for me, it's so much easier and quick to get to and understand every thing. Thanks, I will now make this one of my favorite food blogs.

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment. I hope you try several recipes and enjoy them.

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  19. This was THE best dinner ever! We loved it! Seriously, insanely good. It is my favorite recipe now and it will be a regular at our home. THANK YOU!!!

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    1. I'm so glad you loved the tacos. Thanks for your comment. I love it when YOU love it :)

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  20. Hi. I was wondering if putting the coconut milk in the beginning would make it look curdled? I made a beef curry in the slow cooker once from the thai food blog shesimmers and she mentions not to put it in the beginning. I was putting this in the slow cooker this morning so I didn't add it yet. I also marinaded the meat last night in a paste made with shallot, lemongrass, garlic, chili paste and lime leaf. I smells amazing. My plan is to shred the meat and cook with the coconut milk for 15 mins before serving.

    Always enjoy your recipes.
    Leigh

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    1. I hope this helps. This is what I have learned from coconut milk. I find that when I boil coconut milk it has tendency's to curdle. I notice it more when I am using raw meat, especially chicken. It appears that the blood and juices from the meat give it a curdled texture and appearance. That is one reason why I grill the chicken or pan sear it first. You marinade sounds absolutely delicious and the flavor will blow your mouth away. I have found that using all chicken breasts with this recipe can be very dry. That is why I mixed the breast and thigh meat. Also, the coconut milk adds moisture and fat to the chicken breast. If the coconut milk is simmer slowly, you shouldn't have a problem with curdling. The chicken generally absorbs most of the coconut milk. You can prepare the chicken as you have planned. Your chicken will probably be more saucy, which isn't a bad thing. I'm anxious to hear about your results. Sounds so delicious.

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