Chicken dish boasts a taste of the tropics

DINNER TONIGHT

June 14, 2006|By RENEE ENNA | RENEE ENNA,CHICAGO TRIBUNE

The tiki trend amuses those among us who always have embraced Polynesia. Tiki always has been about fun, and that can extend to dinnertime.

Here, broiled chicken breasts get the tiki treatment with a papaya-pineapple marinade.

Papaya is available in markets year-round and is worth knowing for its tropical flavor and nutrition. A half-cup has 27 calories and is rich in vitamin A and potassium. It comes in two sizes. Here we're using smaller papayas but a large papaya will work, too.

Sesame and ginger are showing up in many bottled dressings for an appropriate salad topping. For dessert, substitute bananas for strawberries for a tropical shortcake. Sprinkle on shaved coconut, minced dried mango or crystallized ginger, if you like.

Renee Enna writes for the Chicago Tribune, which provided the recipe and analysis.

Tiki Bird With Luau Rice

Serves 4 -- Total time: 30 minutes

1 small Brazilian or Caribbean papaya, peeled, seeded, about 1 cup (divided use)

1 can (20 ounces) diced pineapple (divided use)

3 tablespoons chopped mint (divided use)

2 tablespoons each: olive oil, apple-cider vinegar

1 tablespoon each: rum, honey

1 teaspoon salt (divided use)

freshly ground pepper

4 skinless, boneless chicken-breast halves

2 cups quick-cooking brown rice

2 tablespoons chopped peanuts

chopped cilantro (optional)

Heat the broiler. Coarsely chop half of the papaya and dice the other half; set aside. Combine the coarsely chopped papaya with about two-thirds of the pineapple and its liquid, 2 tablespoons of the mint, oil, vinegar, rum, honey, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and pepper to taste in a blender; puree until smooth. Set aside one-third of the mixture in a separate bowl to pass at the table.

Season chicken breasts with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Brush the remaining papaya mixture onto the chicken; broil until browned on one side, about 6 minutes. Turn; broil until browned and cooked to desired degree of doneness, about 7 minutes for medium.

Prepare the rice according to package directions. Pour rice into bowl; combine with the diced papaya, remaining drained pineapple chunks and remaining 1 tablespoon mint. Divide rice among 4 plates; top with chicken. Sprinkle peanuts and cilantro, if using, on top; pass reserved papaya mixture.

Per serving: 688 calories, 15 grams fat, 3 grams saturated fat, 73 milligrams cholesterol, 102 grams carbohydrate, 37 grams protein, 664 milligrams sodium, 9 grams fiber

Menu suggestion

Tiki bird with luau rice

Mixed greens with sesame-ginger vinaigrette

Banana shortcake

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