Cooking with Agave Nectar
written by: mallorn-leaf
Agave nectar is a sweetener from the agave plant native to Mexico and most of South America. This nectar has a richer taste than honey and can be used as substitute for refined sugar. As it is known to be gluten-free with a low-glycemic index, it is suggested to be appropriate for diabetics, vegans and health-conscious individuals.
It contains inulin, a kind of fructose which is said to have many health benefits. Studies show that inulin aids the body to absorb calcium, strengthen bones, regulate blood sugar levels and promote good blood circulation.
Agave nectar can be incorporated into any recipe that calls for sugar or
honey – it can be used in stews, desserts, pastries and beverages, even in meat dishes. Below is an easy recipe that combines the sweetness of agave and mango with the delectable taste of chicken and flavorful herbs.
Agave Mango Chicken
3/4 cup mango juice
1/2 cup water
2 medium-sized fresh mangoes, peeled and cut into half-inch strips
2 tbsp agave nectar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp ginger, minced
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
4 pieces chicken breast
1/2 cup potatoes, diced
1/2 cup tomatoes, diced
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried cilantro
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Step 1: In a mixing bowl, mix 1/4cup mango juice, 1/4 cup water, 1 tbsp. agave nectar and 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar. Marinate the chicken breasts in this mixture for at least 30 minutes. Cover and set aside.
Step 2: Place the cubed potatoes in a saucepan. Pour cold water, enough to cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat when potatoes are tender but still moderately crunchy. Set aside.
Step 3: Meanwhile, divide the mango slices into two equal portions. Take one portion of the mango slices and place in a blender or food processor. Add 1/4 cup water and pulse a few times to make a smooth mango puree. Be careful not to over-blend; it must be slightly chunky, not juice-like. Set this aside.
Step 4: Pre-heat a frying pan for two to three minutes over medium heat. Melt the butter and add the ginger and celery. Stir-fry for twenty to thirty seconds.
Step 5: Add the marinated chicken breasts to and sear for 8 minutes or until golden-brown. Flip to cook both sides of the chicken.
Step 6: Pour in the mango puree and agave nectar, and stir.
Step 7: Add the potatoes, tomatoes, basil, cilantro, salt and pepper. Lower the heat and cover the pan. Let this simmer for eight to ten minutes. Be sure to flip the chicken breasts after four or five minutes to ensure even cooking.
Step 8: Plate and serve with the remaining fresh mango slices.
Preparation time: 35-40 minutes
Cooking time: 10-15 minutes
Variations and suggestions:
This dish would go well with a side-dish of herbed rice and slices of fresh zucchini.
The chicken breasts may be also be cubed instead of whole.
Bonus Recipe: Agave Mint Limeade
1/2 cup lime juice
2 tbsp. fresh mint leaves, crushed
2 tbsp. agave nectar
5 cups water
Step 1: Combine lime juice and mint leaves in a blender.
Step 2: Pour into pitcher. Add agave nectar and water. Stir.
Step 3: Chill and serve in tall glasses with ice