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Papaya Chicken with Coconut Milk


 The small, sweet papayas of the Islands are abundant and delicious. Papaya is used interchangeably as a fruit and a vegetable in Pacific and Asian cuisine. You will want a ripe, but firm, papaya for this recipe. I used a three-rice medley for the base. You can use any rice or even pasta if you prefer.


Papaya Chicken with Coconut Milk



  • 4 chicken breasts, cut in 3/4 inch cubes
  • 1 firm papaya
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 13/4 cups coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 Tahitian Vanilla Bean, split lengthwise or 2 teaspoons Rain’s Choice Tahitian Vanilla Extract
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a saucepan, combine the coconut milk, sugar, and vanilla bean, and bring mixture almost to a boil. Remove from stove and allow to steep.
  2. Peel the papaya, remove seeds, and cut into thin slices.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet, add chicken, and cook until nearly done. Add chopped onion and cook until the onion is translucent, about five minutes. Add the papaya slices and cook another five minutes.
  4. While the chicken mixture is cooking, remove vanilla pod from coconut milk and scrape the seeds into the liquid.
  5. Transfer chicken-papaya mixture to a serving platter. Turn heat up in skillet and add coconut milk. Bring to a boil and allow the sauce to reduce slightly. Pour over chicken mixture and serve over hot rice.


Serves 4

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Patricia Rain

is an author, educator, culinary historian, and owner of The Vanilla Company (www.vanillaqueen.com), a socially conscious, product-driven information and education site dedicated to the promotion of pure, natural vanilla, and the support of vanilla farmers worldwide. She also does culinary presentations for food professionals, cooking schools, trade shows, food fairs, and private groups, and is a regular radio and TV guest.
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