YUM is what you need to know about these little beauties – or big, I should say, because you’ll get a hefty portion full of flavour, nutrition, deliciousness and LOVE.
But first, a story.
Since I started venturing into the world of cooking in my late teens, I’ve been fortunate to have experienced very few complete and utter recipe failures. You know, the totally inedible write-offs that not even the family dog won’t go near. The ones that are so caked onto the pan that no amount of heavy duty cleanser will remove – or worse, the ones that burn straight through the pan altogether. There have, however, been plenty of solid disappointments.
There was this one time back when I lived in Bahrain when I was cooking dinner for my mum, sister, and a friend of mine who was visiting. My family members – particularly my sister – have always been honest food critics. That night I decided to make some sort of baked chicken dish whose ingredients I can’t recall any more. It was something along the lines of lemons, herbs, garlic, and perhaps some other seasonings. Somewhere along the process, I must have stopped paying attention to quantities because the unfiltered feedback came from my sister when we sat down to eat.
“Does it taste ok?”
My friend, too polite to speak up first, kept quiet and kept chewing. My sister looked very critically at the half-bite remaining on her fork and after thinking for a few seconds, piped up.
“It tastes……. kind of like a cleaning product. Like, a lemony cleanser.”
Despite being pescetarian for the majority of my 20s, I’m pleased to report that these days, I’m far more skilled at cooking chicken – among other things. With my sister living over in the UK, I’m also lucky to have several substitute recipe testers who I know I can trust for comments and constructive criticism. They’re my team at work, and a few weeks ago I started a little meal delivery service for them.
In a nutshell, they place orders for breakfast smoothies and/or lunch at the end of each week for the week ahead. I prep them in batches the night before and bring the meals into the office. (I’m becoming known as the tupperware lady very quickly.) Most days, my lunch buddies also get dessert in the form of protein bites if they’re good and eat their veggies. The hands-down favourite so far has been these Chocolate Chip Cashew Cookie Dough Protein Bites, but I have a bazillion more flavours to share with you guys soon that have all been given the lunch club stamp of approval.
In addition to new orders at the end of each week, I also have my team fill out a feedback survey. They rate each meal on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being absolutely inedible, and 10 being out-of-this-world foodgasmic. They also tell me if there’s anything they want more of, or never want to see again. (If what I served them tasted like a cleaning product, I’m sure they’d find some creative way to break it to me gently.)
It just so happens that these Mango Jerk Chicken Bowls have been one of the highest rated recipes yet, which is why I knew they were a must-share with all of you.
Trust me when I say that the spice rub in this recipe – a blend of warm, spicy and sweet – is where the real magic lies. You can make your own as I did, or buy pre-made jerk seasoning if that’s easier for you. In combination with all the textures from each ingredient, expect your taste buds to light up on the first bite. Just like my co-workers, I think this might just become one of your go-to healthy favourites too!Print
Mango Jerk Chicken Bowls
Zesty, spicy, sweet and super fresh, these Mango Jerk Chicken Bowls might soon become one of your healthy dinner time favourites. Serve them with brown rice, or cauliflower rice to make the recipe paleo-friendly.
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 15 mins
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 2 servings
- Category: dinner, lunch, dairy free, gluten free, paleo, low sugar, high protein
Jerk Chicken Seasoning (makes enough to season 350g chicken – alternatively, use 1 tbsp pre-mixed jerk seasoning):
- ½ tsp ground allspice, dried thyme and coconut sugar
- ¼ tsp chili powder, garlic powder, cinnamon, paprika, sea salt and black pepper
For the rest:
- 2 tsp olive oil
- juice of 1 1/2 limes
- 350g boneless skinless chicken breast (ideally organic or locally raised, free of antibiotics and hormones)
- 1/2 each yellow and orange bell peppers
- 2 tbsp minced red onion
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 ripe mango, peeled + diced
- 1/4 ripe avocado, diced
- 1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and sliced
- torn fresh cilantro + limes, to garnish + season
- choice of brown rice or cauliflower rice, to serve
- Prepare the seasoning by combining all spices listed above in a small jar.
- In a bowl, toss the uncooked diced chicken in all but 1 tsp of the jerk seasoning. Try to coat as much as possible.
- Heat the olive oil in a frying pan for 1 minute. Add the spice-covered chicken and juice of 1 lime, then stir fry for 5-6 minutes, or until all pieces are cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a bowl but don’t wipe out the pan yet.
- Immediately add the peppers, red onion and remaining seasoning to the same pan, along with remaining lime juice. Stir fry in the spices until the peppers have just softened, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Remove from the heat.
- Season the rice: Squeeze a few lime wedges into the rice and mix in about 1 tbsp minced or torn cilantro.
- Assembly: Divide rice of choice between two bowls. Arrange (in this order): the seasoned bell pepper mixture, chicken, diced mango, tomatoes and sliced jalapeno. Top with diced avocado and more cilantro. Garnish with lime wedges and squeeze them over top before enjoying.
For even more intense flavour, rub the chicken with the jerk marinade and let it sit in the fridge for about an hour.
Now it’s over to you. I’d love to hear about some of your recipe disasters. Any epic ones to report? Do tell! Aside from cleaning product chicken, another one of mine was peanut butter cookies – or peanut butter bullets as they became known. Let’s just say I hadn’t done much baking with whole grain flour yet, and these little guys came out of the oven solid enough to break windows!