from Steamy Kitchen food column in Tampa Tribune
Writing and editing more than 100 recipes for a cookbook that I’m doing is no easy task. In fact, it’s quite a bit more intense than I had ever imagined. The more-than-occasional brain farts and writer’s block are tough, and usually I can deal with those moments by distracting myself with a massive, industrial-sized roll of bubble wrap. It’s uniquely satisfying, covering three out of five senses in less than two seconds.
pop! pip! pop!
Sometimes, when the stress of writing turns into a gnarly tumbleweed, the giant roll of bubble wrap finds its place under the desk, propped between my feet. I unroll a nice, perfect, clean sheet onto my lap, I take a deep breath and let my hands wring the shit out of those air pockets.
I succeed in waking up yet another sense because when you release an entire yard of trapped air, your house ends up smelling like the scent of a plastic factory. I think if a manufacturer came up with a scented bubble wrap, like, let’s say warm chocolate lava cake or buttery banana bread, its sales would skyrocket!
So you see how my mind wanders when confronted with the evils of writer’s congestion. Although some of the ideas I come up with are pretty clever and could really be the next big thing, this silliness does absolutely nothing to contribute to the daunting task of scaling the treacherous mountain of 100 recipes. One. Hundred. Recipes.
I’ve discovered that the easiest and quickest way to jump-start my dead battery is to engage myself in an activity that involves all five of my senses. Yes, bubble wrap is fun and addictive, but hardly tasty. So, naturally, I scurry to the kitchen to find something to play with.
But it can’t just be ANY kind of cooking – it has to be a dish with maximum sizzle, crunch, intoxicating aroma, juiciness and boldness. So I turn to Nigel Slater who wrote one of my favorite cookbooks, “Appetite” (Clarkson Potter, $74). It’s a hefty volume of recipes that you’ll turn to when you need that easy yet creative, throw-together cooking. Edit: holy crap! $74???? I got it free from The Good Cook cookbook club.
Instead of a standard recipe format, Nigel provides you with sensual cues to guide you in finishing the dish. I’ve adapted his Chicken, Garlic and Herbs recipe into Pan-Fried Mango Curry Chicken. The skin is crispy curry, the mango is fresh, luscious and sweet, and the sauce is buttery garlicky.
This is kitchen therapy at its finest.
This is Nigel’s style of recipe writing – instead of a rigid, precise recipe – Nigel prefers give you guidance on what the dish feels, smells, sounds, tastes and looks like. I’ve taken his basic recipe and added mangoes and a curry spice. Enjoy!
Pan-Fried Mango Curry Chicken
Free-range chicken – cut up or 2 chicken pieces per person, skin and bones to remain in place
Curry powder – a big pinch
Freshly ground black pepper
Butter – a thick slice
Garlic cloves, 8 large, sweet cloves
White wine – a large wine glass
Mango – a nice firm, but ripe one, cut up into large chunks
Herbs – a few sprigs of parsley, minced
Place chicken in a large bowl and rub the chicken all over with a drizzle olive oil. Season the chicken with the salt, curry powder and black pepper.
Heat a large skillet or pan (pan can have high sides or be shallow, but it must have a lid) on high heat with enough olive oil to make a small puddle in the bottom, then add the butter. Once the butter starts to froth, add the chicken pieces, skin side down. Keep the heat moderately high heat while they color to a pale and relatively even gold.
In the meantime, smash the garlic cloves with the side of your knife so that they flatten but remain fairly intact, and peel off the skin. Throw the garlic cloves into the pan. Turn down the heat to medium-low so that the fat under the chicken skin is gently fizzing. Cover with tight-fitting lid. You’ll cook about 35-40 minutes, turning the chicken over halfway through cooking.
Once the chicken is cooked, remove the chicken onto a platter and cover loosely with tin foil to keep warm. Tip the pan slightly and spoon out most of the fat. Turn the heat to high and add the white wine and let it bubble. Use a wooden spatula to scrape and loosen the golden bits and the sweet, soft garlic cloves in the pan. Turn the heat down a bit and add the mango chunks and minced parsley. Let simmer for 1 minute. Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning – you may have to add some salt or pepper. Spoon over chicken.
Makes 4 servings
p.s. Did you see THIS??? THE %&!*%&!% COOLEST THING EVVVVEEERRRRRRR….. <–must check out
Could this be frozen and turned into a freezer meal? It looks like all of the individual ingredients are freezable, but I’m wondering how to reheat it and how that would affect it. Thanks.
Yes it can -though I’d leave the mango out of the recipe. When ready to reheat , throw in frozen mango chunks in the dish first.
Guter Artikel. Ich lese nun weiter hier auf der Seite.
Quite tasty, but I don’t think it should be called a curry, as it doesn’t bear any resemblance to an authentic curry.
i made this for my husband last week and he LOVED IT. he didn’t say a word throughout dinner (because he was stuffing his face like this was his last meal on earth) and even finished before i did. he never finishes before me! hahah thanks jaden! 🙂
Living in the land “Down Under” I am extremely lucky to have been given a case of 16 beautiful MANGOES (we are in summer)for Xmas- did you know that MANGOES are one of the few fruits that you can peel and scoop flesh into a container & freeze & 6 months later will taste as great as when you 1st froze it -A BIT OF TRIVIA FOR YOU- TRUST ME I used to promote food in supermarkets & one season had to show our Australians how to slice & “PORCUPINE thecheeks” I make a terrific Mango Chicken Curry – a dish I concocted myself after being constantly let down by the poor versions in the Indian Restaurants in Sydney (except for one restaurant who got sick of making it -anyway to cut to the bloody story I tried & spoke to a few tenants from Bangladesh (near INDIA) I came up with a GREAT version takes time- Back to you (Sorry I have gift of the gab) Now Mangoes are plentiful in my home I will make your Easy but YUMMY dish I am fairly new to the internet so I hope I remember this site (now 12:05am Monday 2009 here) I will come back to you nice people & offer you my recipe to try & you can enjoy my wonderful dish Not up myself am I? Sorry can’t help it _if your good ADMIT it ! Regards Krystyna
I made it twice this week and I loved it! My family loves it too. So delicious. First time I did not have white wine and added red instead, it was really good if not better for my taste:) oh. and i bought cilantro instead of parsley it was good too!
I will try this dish over the weekend, It looks very delicious.
Bubble wrap…brings back sweet childhood memories. My Dad brought it home from work occasionally and we (5 other simblings) each got our share to pop. Lots of laughs and pops. Thanks for sharing. Will try your chicken mango recipe this week as it sounds delicious!
I want to try this dish for dinner.
I’m a little addict to mango so … only one mango for 4 persons ???????????
Can I put some more ? ;op
i tried this but the sauce came out very dark and unpleasant – because, after 30 minutes, the garlic and chicken fat had cooked far too long. guess i needed to turn the heat down…
Thanks Jaden! THIS IS AWESOME! It’s my new favorite way to eat chicken!!! The only thing I did differently was simmer the sauce for more like 5-7 minutes after I put the mangoes in and kept stirring it. It came out as this creamy reduction – sooo yummy! Oh – and I used Sauvingon Blanc for the sauce, which added a little sour taste to the sauce – so good, I was ready to lick the pan!
I’m making it tonight again – the second night in a row!
OMFG, that was good. Just made this, and so, so good. I didn’t have any white wine on hand (that doesn’t last long around here) but I had some mirin and sake that I substituted, about half and half. I added about 1/2 tsp cumin at the end and a few dashes of cayenne pepper. Served over jasmine rice. Totally to die for.
Thanks for posting that recipe!
Hi. If you need any help with editing, I’m very good. *s*
This looks really awesome! Slater has some brilliant books.
A delicious combo! Wonderful!
I like the term “kitchen Therapy”!
Never tried mango along with chicken, looks delicious!
Mmmmm…buttery-garlicky! One of my favorite flavors!
I think from now on you’ll be known as Jaden the Bubble Wrap Queen!
Mmmmm…buttery-garlicky! One of my favorite flavors!
I think from now on you’ll be known as Jaden the Bubble Wrap Queen!
oh yes – i hear you! concentrating when you really need to is difficult. i amuse my self with a ruler and pinging it against the table. very irritating for my colleagues. i simply adore this recipe and will have to give it a shot.
PS – My EGO arrived last week!!!
Holy Shmoly, that looks good!!! I have something for you at my blog 🙂
I made the recipe twice this weekend; once as posted and another with the following modifications:
1. Double the amount of garlic. Since they were left whole, the 16 large cloves got soft and sweet when cooked with the chicken, lending themselves to be a great side,
2. The original recipe was pretty bland. Depending on what kind of curry powder you can get, this recipe needed more. I opted for a heaping tablespoon of Chief brand fro eight thighs,
3. Because the curry powder wasn’t hot, I added one quarter diced Scotch Bonnet chili to the mango’s during cooking. That was a nice amount of heat and worked well with the mango.
Served with some basmati rice, this was a dish everyone enjoyed. Definitely a keeper!
Jaden, Jaden, Jaden. You are TRULY EVIL!!! Online bubble wrap? OMG. I’m addicted…and my wife says you are responsible for driving her crazy. I CAN’T STOP popping it…LOVE Manic Model.
BTW, your 15 Minute Noodles recipe is now a family standard. My older son loves it and even makes it for his friends. I’ve made it with several different kinds of noodles and it tastes great each time. Definitely a keeper!
Will definitely try the Mango Curry Chicken as it has three of my favorite ingredients.
Gotta go…bubble wrap calls….evil, truly evil!!!
Checking your site for delicious looking food has now become my favorite thing to do after a night out! That dish looks and sounds amazing. All that garlic – yummy!
This looks great Jaden! Mangoes are awesome and all I need is some hot rice to go with your dish!
Have you tried shredded green mangoes and chicken salad yet? Another great chicken and mango combo for you to try.
oh my, another recipe that i will definitely try… it looks simply delicious… again, thanks for sharing… really love your site
So I’m sitting here staring at Jaden (Web site that is)and drooling over this recipe when my wife walks in the door and drops a couple of grocery bags on the counter. I ask “What’s in the bag?” and she says “I found Mango’s on sale at the grocery store today.”
Happy 4th to all my countrymen,
Thank you to all the troops,
and sorry about that to all our cousins across the pond…..
That link to the bubble wrap is absolute gold – you made my day!!!! Thank you 😉
my collagues submitted formal complaints to HR when I had my blockage and turned to popping bubble wraps at work. what a bunch of party poopers.
This is one succulent looking chicken dish and with the mango too! Oops…hubby just looked over my shoulder and told me to stop looking at food so late at night! 😀
girl, i feel your pain totally! 100 freagin recipes is NO easy feat!!!! drats!
I spent a good part of the day snapping a rubber band, staring at the screen, walking away, staring again…
Now that chicken and mango dish would have given me focus!!
What a bright and colourful dish! It looks good and sounds tasty! Nice photos!
I just made this for my family and they loved it!
I did have one complaint/alteration: After I pulled the chicken out, I couldn’t really skim the grease off the top, because it wasn’t really congealed on top or anything. I would have had to just dump out the majority of the liquid, which I now realize I probably should’ve just done. So, I basically just left most of the fat in there. The sauce tasted pretty greasy, so to counter that, I left the sauce cooking on high after I added the mango and parsley, and cooked it for about five minutes. This made the mangos (which weren’t quiiite as ripe as I would’ve liked them) cook down into the sauce a little bit, which I liked.
Everyone thought it tasted great! My dad and uncle are big time hot sauce aficionados and they added a type of hot sauce called Ocho Rios Scotch Bonnet Hot Pepper Sauce (which you can find at Publix). It’s less hot than Tabasco, I think, so it added some great flavor rather than just spice, and I thought it was a great addition to the dish.
What do you think I did wrong when it came to the fat-skimming?
JADEN: hey Emily Tip the pan and use a large soup spoon! When you tip the pan, all the juices accumulate on one side making it easier to skim
I love the Good Cook Cookbook Club too!
Good luck with the book Jaden!!!!Take a break if you need it 🙂
Good looking chicken. Thanks for that link for bubble popping – I started popping and then could not stop….
That DOES look easy! Thanks! Love mango too….sooo good!
This dish is so good, I made it for dinner last night, the sweetness of the Mango and the citrus from the wine and sticky gooeyness of the garlicky sauce, what can I say, Thank you 🙂
Good luck with your book, Jaden. As a long-time writer, I also find that during moments of writer’s block, good chocolate really helps. But then again, good chocolate helps with everything in life. 😉
i love love love these photos! YUM! I’m gonna have to try the bubblewrap when I’ve been editing for hours and my eyes are crossing and I dont want to face the facts that there are 50 small pieces of white lint on someone’s black shirt that I have to take off one by one! Scented, that would be even better- it would probably stop me from diving for that Ben & Jerry’s Oatmeal Cookie Chunk (the best!).
This is a recipe I’m definitely gonna try- you sold me with the “Easy…” in the title lol
This is one of those posts you just stare at the photo for awhile before you even begin to read. Yum, this looks delicious. Bookmarked it!
This looks delicious! Butter, garlic, and wine – you can’t really go wrong there. Amazing photo’s as well.
Jaden, you are crazzzy funny…now I could not just pop one, or a couple, or several, nooo…I had to do the whole sheet…and then when I saw the manic button had to do two more sheets before realizing…ok, back to work or nothing will get done around here. Oh…and yes, as always your recipes always have a crazzy manic twist too.
Jaden, this is a refreshing looking recipe. I have not read Nigel’s books but am intrigued. Thanks for sharing about your writing process.
Okay that bubble wrap thing is addicting! And I think the Mango Curry Chicken may be too.
This looks great…. mmmmm!
My son would go nuts for this! He’s breaking out of his picky eater roots, and really likes curry chicken as well as mango. If I make this, I just might ascend a couple rungs on the good mom ladder! By the way, every New Year’s Eve, my kids spread bubble wrap on the hardwood floor and stomp in the New Year. I of course, stand off to the side snap, snap, snapping my way back to sanity! Bubble wrap … it’s a good thing. Great recipe!
Mmm…your mango curry chicken looks wonderful!
Great adaptation Jaden! I love Nigel too – especially his Kitchen Diaries book, it’s absolute heaven to sit and read him describe food. (Almost as good as actually eating it!) 😉
you’ve covered it all with your mango curry chicken: sweet, spicy, savoury and yummy! For some reason, I find it hard to believe that you of all people could ever get writer’s block! You can get it going pretty good with your stream-of-conscious thingy, I think. You’re so entertaining 🙂
the Japanese have come up with a little gadget that you can stick on your bag that you press the buttons which feel like bubble wrap and it makes the pop pop noise of popping bubble wrap. The thing is that you can do it until the batteries die…
Looks great, i’m sure i will try this out.. i hope it tastes good just like it looks good 🙂
Mary from Cooking Recipe Videos
I just scrolled to this recipe on my reader and said out loud, “Hell yeah!” Obviously it goes straight to my appropriately named delicious bookmarks.
Incedible how you can make me laugh and drool over your recipes at the same time :)))))
Thank you Jaden 😉
Ok, the brilliant thing about that link is that it makes you realize how important the sense of touch is… I always enjoyed the popping sound of bubble wrap, but after using the link, I now know how important it is to grab the damn wrap and twist the snot out of it! Great blog today.
ok, so after popping virtual bubble wrap, I sent it on to my family with my apologies. Thanks for introducing another time-kill in my life. At this rate, my house is never going to be ready for guests. However, dinner will be good.
Thank you Jaden, I think I am going to have to make this lovely dish for dinner tonight with some grilled corn on the side, thank you, I have been having problems trying to decide what to cook all day. 🙂 Will let you know what the verdict is tomorrow
That looks delicious. I haven’t had chicken for almost a month now… we are on this detox! Will definitely try it soon 🙂 That bubble wrap sight so cool… “must have more!”
OK I want this for dinner tonight.The bubble wrap link is fun. Will click away while Im at work.
That bubble wrap site is awesome. Thanks for this recipe. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to make for dinner. This will be yummy!
the whole time i was reading about the bubblewrap distraction all i could think of was virtual bubbblewrap app and then lo and behold… it was in your “ps”
btw, that chicken looks fab… wonder if i can get boneless organic chicken with skin still on…
I discovered while working retail that the bubble wrap with the large bubbles are great to jump on. If you’re on a hard surface, the popped bubbles act like they’ve been re-inflated – when you land on that section again, you still get a bit of a pop. VERY therapeutic!!
And yes, your recipe today looks delicious – I will make it before the week is out.
Hi there!! I’ve always read your blog & enjoy it a lot! But I wanted to thank you for the bubble wrap link!!! that was loads of fun! Jsst wish it could be scented, too! I’ve never seen a scented one. my kids love them, too. Can’t wait to go home & have them try it.
You see, I dont cook but enjoy reading/watching other people cook! Great writing skills and Im sure your food is great, too. Good luck on the cookbook!
I have never done chicken with mango. I must try this! It sounds delicious.
I played with those popper things for ages. The manic mode suits me.