Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Recipe: Buddha's Hand Basil Chicken

I made a batch tonight. And then we all sat around making noises like this. :D

"Buddha's Hand Basil Chicken"

Buddha's hand zest, minced (about 2 fingers or 2 tablespoons)
1/4 teaspoon bamboo salt
1/4 teaspoon green peppercorns
3 thin-sliced chicken breasts
lemon juice
sweet basil
sweet marjoram


Zest the Buddha's hand. You will need enough zest to sprinkle generously over the top of each chicken breast. 2 large fingers of Buddha's hand typically yield enough zest to cover 3 chicken breasts. To mince the zest, snip with scissors or run a sharp knife over it; I used scissors. Reserve the zest in a small bowl.

Preheat a George Foreman grill. It takes about five minutes to heat.

Grind 1/4 teaspoon bamboo salt and 1/4 teaspoon green peppercorns in a mortar and pestle.

Rinse and pat dry the chicken breasts. Sprinkle with a few drops of lemon juice, then the salt and pepper mixture. Sprinkle sweet basil and sweet marjoram over the meat. Top with the Buddha's hand zest.

Put the chicken breasts on the grill and cook for five minutes. Serve hot. Choose a mild side dish such as green peas to avoid overwhelming the delicate flavors.


Buddha's hand is a type of yellow citrus with long curling "fingers." It has lots of rind and white pith inside, but no juicy pulp. It is the key to this recipe. It does taste rather different than lemon, but if you don't have Buddha's hand, you can make a batch of lemon chicken instead. Many types of citrus can be exchanged for each other in a recipe to get iterations of the basic dish.

When you zest a Buddha's hand, don't throw away the pith! You can chop it and candy it, as long as you have a little bit of rind left for extra flavor. It can also be shaved onto salads. Explore zesting in text or video. There are several methods, but I strongly recommend using a zester to avoid injuries.

The zest turned rust-brown and quite crunchy when grilled. I imagine it would work great if added to various kinds of breaded chicken, shrimp, fish, and other meat. It also goes well with many fruits and vegetables. Anywhere you'd use lemon zest, you can use Buddha's hand instead.

This is basically a lemon-herb chicken recipe punched up with more exotic ingredients, so if you are a lemon-herb fan, definitely give this a try. The amazing thing is how ordinary lemon juice takes on the aromatic qualities of the Buddha's hand instead of diluting it. The Buddha's hand has no juice of its own, so you often need to use lemon juice as a carrier. They marry perfectly and it only takes seconds to happen.

A George Foreman grill is a countertop appliance with two ridged plates that heat up and cook food between them. It is quick and convenient to use, although more of a bother to clean.

Jade green bamboo salt comes from Hawaii. (Don't confuse it with the Korean purple bamboo salt.) It has a pale green color and faint leafy flavor that goes well with herbs or green vegetables. If you can't find it, substitute sea salt or plain table salt.

Green peppercorns have a mellow leafy flavor with a little heat. They are made from the immature berries of the same plant that produces black peppercorns. They go well with herbs and green vegetables. If you don't have any, use white or black peppercorns instead.

Thin-sliced chicken breasts work best in a George Foreman grill because they cook quickly and evenly. You can use the same flavorings on thick chicken breasts and bake them.
Tags: food, recipe

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