This post is along the lines of my previous “mental vacation” posts, but this time more than just daydreaming!
While I have never been to Hawaii and am by NO means a culinary or cultural expert, I’m a sucker for a theme and also exploring other cultures. My resources for anything asian-pacific style are very very limited. I want to be as PC as possible, but am just now learning about the culture of places like Hawaii and other places of the Pacific Islanders. Am I getting any of this right? LOL The military can send us virtually anywhere, so getting comfortable and learning about other cultures has become sort of a hobby for me. I love exposing my little guy to new things too!
I digress…Using my very limited resources at our commissary, I am doing an Island themed dinner tonight!. Yes they have an “asian” foods section, but it’s very small. I can find some Japanese and Korean items and sometimes Thai brands but the selection is just sad considering the “ethnic” food section in most commissaries is typically spot on. I’m on a small base, what can I say?
So, I did what I could and just drew from some of the flavors you might find in Hawaii! I am making a coconut oil, cilantro and lime chicken with stir fried bell peppers (bell pepper may not quite be in the theme but the flavors go so well with the coconut and lime!) and a seasoned white rice! After dinner I will update this post with pictures of the meal. I’ve made this one time before, but didn’t take a picture of any of it like I normally would when we try something new. I’ll also add my recipe for the meal!
Cilantro Citrus Chicken and Rice Recipe:
1 lb of boneless skinless chicken breast (I like thin sliced the best)
1 tsp sea salt
2-3 ounces of unrefined extra virgin coconut oil
1 medium sweet onion, diced
2 ounces(about 4 tablespoons) of fresh finely chopped cilantro or 1 ounce(2 tablespoons) of dried- dried has much more potent flavor
juice of 2 limes
Large baking dish.
Rice of your choice (I use long grain white)
Red, yellow, and green bell pepper- 1 each sliced.
Another white onion sliced into strips
In blender, food processor, or in my case a sad little $10 chopper we’ve had for years that the button sticks on , add in coconut oil, cilantro, lime juice, and salt. Blend until it’s your desired consistency. (smooth or chunky basically)
Pour/scoop into a medium bowl and stir in onions. (you could put them in the step above if you want a smoother texture- I don’t)
Spread evenly over chicken, place in a baking dish, cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for about one hour. Uncover and bake an additional 15-20 mins . You could bake at a higher temp to reduce cooking time, but you may end up with some chewy, tough chicken.
You could of course if you wanted, grill the chicken! It’s cold here, and I ain’t going out there and babysitting chicken! LOL
While the chicken is baking I cook my white rice according to package directions, substituting water for organic chicken broth and adding one cube of chicken bullion.
If you wanted to, I did find a recipe for cilantro lime rice here- http://allrecipes.com/recipe/cilantro-lime-rice/
I thought it would be overkill though, so I stuck with the rice preparation above.
*Trick I have learned with cooking rice- bring to a boil both rice and liquid, stir ONCE, put the lid on and reduce the heat to simmer. Don’t you dare lift that lid for 20-30 mins. Towards the end of cook time you can lift the lid and gently pull back rice with spoon. If there is no standing liquid under it, it’s done and probably perfect
Other options would be jasmine rice(YUM), brown rice, or quinoa.
While rice and chicken are cooking, I start stir frying my bell pepper and onion strips in a touch of the coconut oil (probably a teaspoon) and whatever is left that I can scrape out of the bowl of the cilantro/lime mixture to incorporate the main flavors. You could chop all these yourself but sometimes I cheat and grab the frozen (red, green and yellow)bell pepper and onion mixture from my grocer’s freezer section.
should look something like this
Viola! Not as complicated as you’d think and such great flavor combinations! Let me know how yours turns out if you try it!
My husband agreed to watch the new Hawaii Five-0 series with me earlier, so of course I’m going to make an evening of it! I have no self control when it comes to things like that. We have been in Germany since the show premiered and our television network they offer for the military doesn’t have the most current episodes of things and often shows them out of order(so frustrating!)
While I’m not sure how accurately represented Hawaii is in the show, it does take place in Oahu. If we did get stationed on the islands, it would be there. I watched the pilot today and was really impressed with the story line and pace of the show. Ok, I will stop blabbing and go start on our almost-Hawaiian feast!
I’ll leave you with an image of some of the hotness on the show!
I mean, whoa. Remember Daniel Dae Kim from Lost? Yeah, he's still hot! And Alex O'loughlin? Yes please!
OMG is that Dane Cook??? Even better!
Parting thoughts: How often do you step out of your comfort zone? What other cultures have you taken the time to get to know? I haven’t even scratched the surface of this extremely diverse culture or even the German culture that currently surrounds me.
So, I propose a challenge. Pick a place, any place, that is outside of your own heritage (or maybe even a part of your heritage you don’t know much about). What language do they speak there? What is something that is unique to their culture? We can’t all be world travelers, but we can take a moment to realize that we are all on this planet together and that every place and person has a story to tell. Love thy neighbor! That doesn’t just include the folks next door! I am a firm believer in exposing the youngins (hehe) to new things, ideas, and people!
Even in the blogging world, you will come across some very talented and interesting people from all over the world without even leaving home. Recently I stumbled upon a fantastic blogger who is native to Hawaii. Her posts are so uplifting and enlightening! I found her randomly while googling and researching about the culture. She even has her own etsy store for her island inspired digital art! Hop on over to her blog or etsy shop and show some love!
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