Recipe courtesy of Mark Bittman

Thai-Style Chicken Breasts in Foil

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  • Yield: 2 servings
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3 tablespoons peanut or neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed

6 to 8 thin slices of lotus root or peeled jicama

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 12 ounces)

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

8 thin slices peeled green (unripe) mango

2 lime leaves, minces (or minced zest of 1 lime)

2 tablespoons chopped scallions

1/4 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk

1 teaspoon nam pla (Thai fish sauce)


  1. Tear off two sheets of aluminum foil, each about 18 inches square, and place one on top of the other. Use 1 tablespoon of the oil to smear a patch in the center of the foil, large enough to hold the chicken. Make a bed of the lotus root or jicama in the center, then top with the chicken breasts, red pepper, mango, lime lives, scallions, coconut milk, nam pla, and another tablespoon of the oil.
  2. Fold the foil over the chicken onto itself and crimp the edges as tightly as possible by making 1- or 2- inch folds, one after the other, each sealing the other. Seal the package very tightly, but leave plenty of room around the chicken. (You can prepare the recipe up to 3 hours in advance to this point; refrigerate the package as is for up to 3 hours before proceeding.
  3. Place a skillet large enough to hold the package over high heat. A minute later, add the remaining oil, then pour out all but a film. Put the package in the skillet; it will sizzle. About 2 minutes later, the package will expand like a balloon; be careful of the escaping steam. Cook for 5 minutes longer from that point.
  4. Remove the package from the heat, again taking care to avoid any escaping steam. Let rest for 1 minute, then cut a slit down the length of the top with a knife. Use a knife and fork to open up the package, then spoon the chicken, garnish, and juices onto a plate and serve.
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