Food & Drink

Winning photo-contest shots coax coconuts out of their shells

Coconut Chicken: First place
Coconut Chicken: First place Diana Rodelo

My inbox and Twitter stream began to sound like Bubba from Forrest Gump: Coconut shrimp, coconut crab, coconut cake, coconut pie, coconut clafoutis, coconut smoothie, arroz con coco, coconut salmon ... you get the idea.

Many of you responded to our call for photos of a coconut dish you recently made or were about to eat, sending in gorgeous, I-want-that-now shots of both savories and sweets.

▪ First place goes to Diana Rodelo of Miami, who submitted an eye-catching pic of a coconut-chicken dish she developed (see recipe) featuring cumin- and ginger-rubbed thighs simmered in a coconut-based sauce.

▪ Second place: Alexandra Alonso of Miami, who said her mom’s grilled coconut-shrimp skewers “deserve to be showcased to the world — or at least Miami.” From the looks of them, we agree.

▪ Third: Mabel Bernal of Coral Gables, who prepared arroz con coco, a typical dish of Colombia’s north coast, made with rice, coconut meat and raisins, served with fish.

Winners all receive new, top-shelf cookbooks. Thanks to all who submitted entries. Look for a new photo contest in Saturday’s Tropical Life, with chances to win tickets to see Robert Irvine Live at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

Evan S. Benn is Miami Herald food editor. Follow him on Twitter: @EvanBenn.

Coconut Chicken

8 chicken thighs

2 teaspoons ground cumin, divided

3 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

2 teaspoons ground ginger, divided

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 1/2 cups coconut milk

1 medium shallot, chopped

1 cup chopped scallions

1 cup parsley parsley, chopped

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground clove

1 teaspoon brown sugar

In a small bowl combine 1 teaspoon cumin, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon ginger and black pepper, then sprinkle seasoning all over chicken thighs; set aside. Add coconut oil to a large sauté pan and turn heat to high. When pan is hot, add chicken and sear for 5 minutes on each side. After chicken sears, reserve to a plate and tent with foil. Lower heat to medium-low and add coconut milk, shallot, scallions and parsley. Stir, then add remaining cumin, salt and ginger as well as clove and brown sugar. Let sauce simmer 5 minutes, then add reserved chicken thighs, cover the pan and let chicken cook through, about 20 minutes. Serves 4.

Source: Diana Rodelo.