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mago tamarind crispy chicken in cornstarch

“My son really loves to cook. He’s about to turn 11. And he loves mango”

This is Jennifer talking about her son Benjamin. A few weeks ago I had the privilege of cooking with him and several of his friends to celebrate his birthday. We made mango with cinnamon, orange, whipped cream, chicken dumplings – I may try and hire some of these kids their dumplings were so good! – and a brand new recipe I created just for Benjamin: crispy chicken with a mango, tamarind sauce.

The chicken is marinated in fish sauce and egg white, which makes it meltingly tender. A coating of cornstarch makes it wonderfully crispy on the outside. And the sauce? Scallion, mango, coconut milk, a pinch of sugar and a spoonful of tamarind paste, made from the flesh found inside the pods of the tamarind tree.

While the kids were eating, Benjamin’s Dad told me how much his son loved cooking. He has several dishes he now knows how to make on his own, including breakfast. Benjamin, let me know when you’ve added crispy mango chicken to that list. I’ll be right over for dinner.

Crispy mango chicken

Serves 4

Sweet mango, tart tamarind and rich coconut milk sauce this tender inside, crispy on the outside chicken.

mago tamarind crispy chicken in cornstarch side

For Chicken:

  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • White pepper
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs cut in 2” pieces
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

For Sauce:

  • 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts separated and thinly sliced
  • 2 mangos, peeled and diced
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbs tamarind paste or Worcestershire sauce

Directions:

  • Marinate chicken: Whisk together egg whiter, sesame oil and fish sauce. Season with white pepper and a pinch of salt. Add to a sealable freezer bag with chicken and marinate 20 min.
  • Make sauce: Warm oil in a 10” skillet over med heat. Add white parts of scallions and sauté until softened, 3-4 min. Add mango and cook 3-4 min longer. Add coconut milk, sugar and tamarind paste. Simmer for 5 min. Transfer to a blender and purée. Season to taste with salt and white pepper.
  • Cook chicken: Warm oil in a sauté pan over med-high heat. Drain chicken. Place corn starch in a plastic freezer bag. Season with salt and white pepper. Add chicken and shake to coat.
  • Add chicken to hot oil and cook through. Drain on paper towels and serve with mango sauce.

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