This chicken with star fruit dish is a fun rich recipe that you can cook with a variety of chicken pieces.
For the chicken, we tend to prefer chicken thighs for a couple reasons. First, they are pretty consistent in size, or at least you can find them similarly sized when you shop. Being the dark meat, they have extra fat, which translates into a moister end result, and they have great flavors.
The recipe calls for pieces with bone in and skin on. You can use boneless skinless meat if you choose, shorten the cooking time of course, and be cautious about drying it out. Frankly the results aren’t as good in our opinion, but they will still be tasty.
The Star-fruit of the show
Carambola, called starfruit for the distinctive star shape, has been cultivated in the subcontinent for millennia. As a result, they get the usual fruit treatment, used for everything from jams to juice to seasoning with the tart varieties. Stewed, simmered, or just sliced, they can be eaten in almost any fashion. The trees are pretty prolific, with mature examples putting out 2-400 pounds of fruit per year.
Important health notes; Carambola, star fruit, contains similar enzymes as grapefruit, so any prescriptions that warn of bad interaction with grapefruit may have a similar response to this fruit. It is also a risky food for anyone with kidney issues or on dialysis treatment.
For this recipe you want a well ripened, but not overly ripe, fruit. The color should be a lighter yellow with the tip edge of the stars just starting to brown up slightly. This will give you soft fruit of medium sweetness. You can enjoy them fresh at riper levels, but for cooking they will tend to become mushy in the process.
The recipe says either serrano or jalapeno peppers, so let’s explore that somewhat. Typically, you will find that fresh jalapenos are green at the grocery and the serranoes are red. About the same length, jalapenos are more stout and have more usable flesh as a result. The narrower serrano has thinner flesh and significantly more seeds than a jalapeno
This is the important part. Serrano peppers are two to four times hotter than the jalapeno. The obvious affect is on the food, you will get similar spicing results using less of them. You also need to be more cautious about getting your hands clean after handling them. Nothing will ruin your day more than rubbing your eyes with hands that still have the capsaicin on them, the heat ingredient from peppers. The most durable amongst us will be reduced literally to tears.
Chicken with Star Fruit and Rice
- 4 Limes, preferably organic
- 2 Small onions
- 2 Inches Fresh ginger
- 1 Serrano or jalapeno pepper
- 4 Star fruits
- 1 Bunch Cilantro
- ½ Cup Unsalted almonds
- 2 Cups basmati rice
- 6 Chicken thighs
- Black pepper
- Cinnamon stick
- Olive oil
- Zest 2 of the limes
- Squeeze 1/4 cup lime juice (you may not use all the limes – depends on their juiciness
- Peel and thinly slice the onion
- Peel the ginger and mince it
- Split, seed and remove the stem of the serrano or jalapeno pepper then finely mince it
- Rinse the star fruit (Carambola), cut it into 1/4-inch thick slices
- Rinse the cilantro, pat dry, pluck 1/2 cup of leaves
- Place the chicken in a baking dish and season it lightly with salt and pepper
- Turn your oven to 350 to preheat
- In a large bowl, whisk 1/4 cup of olive oil, the lime juice, honey, and a generous pinch of salt
- Stir in the lime zest, onions, ginger, minced pepper, almonds and 3/4 of the sliced star fruit
- Pour this mixture over the chicken
- After a few minutes turn each piece of chicken skin side down
- Put the chicken in the oven and bake it for 15 minutes.
- Put the rice in a medium saucepan with 4 cups water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the cinnamon stick
- Stir and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, letting it boil until there are bubble holes in the top of the rice, about 10 minutes
- Turn the heat to low, cover the rice and cook it for another 10 minutes
- Turn the chicken to skin side up and cook for an additional 15 minutes
- Remove the rice from the heat and keep covered until it is time to serve
- Add the remaining star fruit slices to the chicken, stirring to coat them with sauce, cook for 15 minutes
- Remove the chicken from the oven.
- Remove the cinnamon stick from the rice, fluff the rice with two forks
- Place the rice in teh center of the plate, place a piece of chicken on top
- Spoon the sauce and fruit over the chicken, serve and enjoy.