I came across a recipe for Lemongrass Chicken over at Food Renegade recently and decided I wanted to make it. (You can see the original recipe here). I’m a fan of chicken, cilantro, lime and all the other good stuff in the recipe…but then I wondered: What would it taste like if I substituted essential oils for the lemongrass, cilantro, lime and ginger? I’m all about experimenting in the kitchen. And, equally, I’m about cooking with essential oils.
So, I experimented. For each of the items I substituted with oils, I started out with one drop (remember, essential oils are 50-70% more potent than the herb). I ended up using 2 each of lemongrass and ginger, 3 cilantro and 2 lime (plus the juice of one lime for good measure). It tasted great.
Here’s what I did:
4 chicken breasts
2 drops lemongrass essential oil
2 drops ginger essential oil
2 drops lime essential oil
3 drops cilantro essential oil (because I’m a huge fan)
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 can coconut milk
A pinch of crushed red pepper
Whiz all the above in a blender or food processor. Take about half of this mixture and coat your chicken, place in a glass pan or bowl, cover tightly and put in fridge overnight. (If you’re using essential oils, please don’t place this in a plastic dish and the oils will leach the toxins from the plastic.)
The next day, cook chicken on a baking sheet (lined with parchment, foil or oil) at 450 for 10-12 minutes. Then broil for 3-5 minutes to brown it.
Spiralize 3-4 zucchini (depending on size) and place in single serving bowls (or plates).
Take the reserved marinade from the day before (the stuff that hasn’t been sitting in raw meat!) and add 2-3 tablespoons of coconut amino acids, Braggs, or soy sauce. Stir well. Add small amounts of this mixture to zucchini noodles, toss. Add to taste.
Once the chicken is done, slice and top zucchini noodles with it. Add diced red bell pepper and chopped fresh cilantro for garnish. And more marinade if you want.
I came up with the idea of the marinade in the noodles when I started thinking about how some of the therapeutic properties of the oils would be lost in the heating process. Since all the oils I used have wonderful health benefits, I didn’t want substituting herbs for oils to be for nothing (although the taste was still great).
And oh! if you guys haven’t discovered the Vegetti yet, you seriously need one. They’re super cheap–less than $8 on Amazon–and they transform the humble zucchini into pasta without the empty calories). Yes, I love mine. Anyway, after I made the noodles, I added around 2 tablespoons of coconut aminos (you could also use soy sauce or Braggs aminos) to the leftover marinade I’d saved, and tossed it in with the noodles (I didn’t use all the marinate, so start small and add to taste). It was DELICIOUS.
In my books it was a win/win. The cooked chicken tasted wonderful. And the ‘raw’ marinate contained all the healthy benefits of the essential oils (and tasted fantastic). One nice thing about cooking with essential oils is that you don’t have to have all the fresh ingredients around to make something healthy. Plus, just a little goes a long ways and you receive an extra punch of the health giving properties of the oils.
However, a word of caution: Make sure you have PURE essential oils if you’re going to ingest them. Not all oils on the market are suitable for eating. If you are interested in the brand we use, We’d be glad to share them with you.