Updated: Jul 17, 2020
This is has nothing to do with my recipe but I am currently writing this post at a coffee shop. Thought I would take advantage of the ability to get out of the house finally. Feels nice to see live humans again!
I just had to get that out there.....the things you take for granted!
That being said, this recipe all started with me trying to get rid of a can of mango nectar. Great things sometime start from nothing!
A lot of people ask me where I get ideas for my recipes.
I have to admit...a lot of times it is me forcing myself to come up with a recipe using some ingredient that is sitting around my house that I have decided NEEDS to be used. I looked in my freezer and saw that I had some chicken breasts left over from my Butcher Box so I knew it would be something with chicken!
Now, that being said, I did have to go to the store and pick up additional items once I decided on the dish I wanted to make..... so I don't know if I get full credit for creating a dish entirely from items in my house, because that did not happen.
Do I care? No, I do not.
Once I get an idea for a recipe in my head I just have to go for it.
Korean flavor profiles are usually where my mind goes because I am so in love with the Korean chili paste gochujang. I think a tub of this stuff goes faster in my house than a carton of milk. ( I might be exaggerating a bit.) I put it in everything that I can think of! Kimchi was also a big staple in my family growing up. It was like a go-to snack.
(Yes, we had weird snacks in our house!)
We didn't have chip bags, frozen pizzas or fruit snacks in our house. The snacks in my house consisted of kimchi, pickles, olives and cheese...and sauteed onions. Yeah, that was my favorite treat as a teenager. That might have been a little weird but I didn't care!
Plus, my mom hated onions. That is how I exerted my dominance as a teenager and showed my rebellion. I filled the house with the aroma of slimy fried onions. I was so bad!
Now enters the infamous can of mango nectar.
Since Josh and I are both event bartenders on the side we end up with lots of random juices and mixers. We had a can of mango puree, for some reason that I cannot remember, but I knew I wanted to finally get rid of the stupid thing.
I came to the conclusion that a combination of mango puree and gochujang paste as a sauce for the chicken would be a delightful combination. I was right!
A quick and easy sauce that can easily be made at any time but tastes so good!
Disclaimer: I have never been as creative with my flavor profiles until essential oils came into my life! Less food goes bad in my fridge now too! Just before the sauce was done I decided to just throw in bergamot essential oil and it offered a delicious twist. Like, where would I have had bergamot lime to add to a dish usually!! Just love it!
(I think the excitement of being out and about it getting to me!)
Since the chicken and the kimchi has more spicy notes I decided to make a refreshing cucumber mango salad to kind of balance out the heat. I have so many interesting comments about this salad I am not sure where to start first!
Actually, yes I do. If I had a head smacking emoji I could add right now I totally would. WASH YOUR CUCUMBERS!!
I made the idiotic mistake, because I was not thinking, of not washing my store-bought cucumber before I used it and it ruined the sauce the first time. The wax coating and spray gets mixed in with the sauce and it was disgusting! I had the make the whole thing over, it was a nightmare that could have been easily avoided. It's always the little things that trip you up.
I use ume plum vinegar in almost every Asian dressing I make. I got really into umeboshi plums awhile back and picked up a bottle of the plum vinegar. It sat on my shelf for like a year before I touched it. Once I finally did I fell in love and now it's like a staple in my pantry. If you don't have any then you can totally replace with apple cider vinegar but I am not lying when I say you need to add this to your next grocery list.
This recipe was the first time I cooked with Green Mandarin essential oil. It is kind of a newer oil that I added to my collection and I was anxious to use it. Now this probably has nothing to do with green mandarin but I was thinking back to when I was reading about green papaya salad and for some reason that just brought to my head green mandarin. I thought what the hell and added some in. It was good!
Another example of essential oils making cooking just a little more interesting!
This is an easy meal to put together any day of the week because everything can be bought and easily made ahead of time. I just throw the rice and the chicken in the oven together. Add heated chicken and rice to a bowl and throw on some toppings and leftover sauce. Not a lot of fuss or mess!
korean chicken bowl with green mandarin cucumber-mango salad and spicy mayo sauce
3/4 cup mango nectar
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons gochujang
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 garlic cloves, minced
Half of lime, juiced
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 drop bergamot essential oil*
1 drop ginger essential oil*
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 pounds boneless chicken breasts, cut into 2 inch cubes
1-2 mangoes, chopped into 1 inch cubes
1 cucumber, washed and chopped into 1 inch cubes
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon ume plum vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 drops green mandarin essential oil*
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 to 3 cups steamed jasmine rice
Kimchi, seaweed salad, avocado, sesame seeds, sliced green onions, fried egg and mango sauce; for serving
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
In a small saucepan, combine the mango nectar, olive oil, gochujang paste, soy sauce, lime juice and garlic. Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine the cornstarch with a tablespoon of water to create a slurry. Set aside. Once the sauce is simmering add the slurry into the sauce and continue simmering for about a minute or until the sauce is thickened. Once the sauce is off the heat stir in the ginger and bergamot essential oils.
On a sheet pan, toss the chicken with the gochujang sauce. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper and stir all together until well combined. Put in the oven and cook for about 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. I like to put my oven on broil for the last 2 minutes of the cooking process so the sauce gets sticky and the chicken gets a little bit of char. Don't let it burn!
For serving, there is no hard and fast rule! Divide the rice among the bowls and top with chicken, cucumber-mango salad, kimchi, seaweed salad, and avocado. I fried a duck egg and put it on mine. So good! Top with some sesame seeds and sliced green onions. Drizzle with the spicy mayo sauce!
cucumber mango salad and spicy mayo sauce
In a medium mixing bowl, add the rice vinegar, ume plum vinegar, sugar, green mandarin essential oil and some salt and pepper and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Toss in the cucumber and mango and combine until well mixed together. I like to do this process at the beginning before I make anything else because then the mango and cucumber have some time to pickle.
For the spicy mango sauce combine the mayonnaise with 2 tablespoons of the leftover gochujang sauce from the pan. Easy peasy!
Wash your cucumber!
If you do not have ume plum vinegar you can just replace with apple cider vinegar.
If you do not have ginger essential oil than you can replace with an inch of grated fresh ginger. The other two oils can be left out without. They are optional just to add unique flavor.
*We use doTERRA essential oils for cooking because of their high quality and purity. You do not have to use essential oils for this recipe but if you do make sure they are food grade and safe for internal consumption. Check out my recipe notes on how to make this recipe without essential oils if you so desire. Enjoy!