Chicken Braised in Coconut Milk
This recipe is a total cheat. It’s the same base as the Beef Braised in Coconut Milk I posted awhile back, with a whole chicken in the pot instead of a beef roast. I’ve been meaning to do this for ages – even last week I picked up a chicken and coconut milk. The store put the chicken in a small brown bag to protect against leakage…and also put a big bottle of olive oil in a similar brown bag to protect the glass…perhaps you can see where this is going. Yeah, I put the olive oil in the fridge and left the chicken on the counter.
We had salmon instead (thank you freezer). I’ve since tried to screw my head back on straight, which has been seriously tough for me since returning from Costa Rica. My thoughts are still on the beach…
Anyhow, back at it today. I bought a chicken this morning, came home, and immediately browned it in coconut oil – no messing around. In 15 minutes the whole thing was in the oven, and two hours later (perhaps even longer given a ridiculously long bath on my part), oh my goodness. I don’t want to sound obscene…but this chicken is obscene. The skin continued to brown, but everything else sort of collapsed and fell apart. I have never, ever, ever had chicken this tender. Silky. The sauce is as thick and sexy as a hot summer evening, intensely chicken-y, perfectly melded with the coconut milk and subtle heat of Thai curry paste.
Beach? What beach?
My plan was to simmer vegetables in the coconut sauce while I pulled the chicken apart (as I wrote it below). Uh, we never got that far. In the name of instant gratification, we kind of attacked the chicken straight away. I put together a quick bowlful for a pic, with zero effort (other than a scattering of scallions), which was supremely lazy but also gives you a sense of how pretty it is on its own.
A pretty girl without makeup, as it were.
Chicken Braised in Coconut Milk
1 Tbsp. coconut oil (or other oil)
1 4-5 lb. roasting chicken
1 small onion, sliced into 1-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. freshly grated ginger
zest of 1 lime
2 Tbsp. green or red Thai curry paste (available in the Asian foods section of most grocery stores)
1 can coconut milk (do not use the carton-version of coconut milk, which is actually quite watery; go for a can of rich, thick coconut milk)
2 Tbsp. brown sugar (or more to taste)
2 Tbsp. Thai fish sauce (or more to taste)
1 bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
juice of 1 lime (about 2 Tbsp.)
2 scallions, chopped
1/4 c. thinly sliced fresh basil
Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil to the pan and when it is hot, brown the chicken thoroughly, on all sides. Set on a plate.
When the chicken is browned, lower heat to medium, and add onion, garlic, ginger, lime zest, and curry paste and saute for 2-3 minutes. Stir in coconut milk, brown sugar, and fish sauce. Settle chicken into the pan (and any accumulated juices from the plate), baste the chicken with the coconut milk, and cover tightly. Bring to a simmer, then transfer pot to the oven.
Bake for 2-3 hours, or until chicken is browned and very tender. Remove chicken to a cutting board. Set pan over medium heat and when it simmers, stir in bell pepper and simmer uncovered for a few minutes until pepper is tender. Stir in lime juice and taste sauce for seasoning – add more fish sauce for saltiness, more sugar for sweetness, more lime for sourness. Stir in scallions and basil. Meanwhile, pull chicken into bite-sized pieces, discard bones, and add back to the pan. (Note: I love chicken skin, so I included it with the chicken meat. Your choice.) Serve with hot rice, if desired.
Hi darcylu! Awesome to hear, it's such an adaptable recipe, what you threw together sounds lovely. Thanks for the note!
This recipe was perfect for trying out my new oval cast iron dutch oven. Of course, I didn't have many ingrediants on hand, but I had a chicken, onions, garlic, ginger, carrots and sweet potatoes, orange rind/juice, and coconut oil and coconut milk. Yum. This was PERFECT! I will use this recipe often, with whatever I have on hand. Thanks so much!
Mmm, I love potatoes cooked in coconut milk, and certainly in coconut milk with chicken. Sounds fab. And THANKS!
I should have said it was wonderful instead of fine. The boyfriend and I ate a lot. We used baguette to sop up the sauce but next time i'll cook potato wedges in the sauce.
Glad to hear it, Joan! I love braises for being this flexible. Thanks for the note.
A friend sent me this link yesterday, I cooked it today. I forgot to add the lime juice and bell pepper, used anchovy paste instead of fish sauce and cooked chopped Swiss chard in the sauce while I deboned the chicken. I used light coconut milk and it was fine. Joan
Yum....made this chicken over the weekend and it was heavenly. And then we had chicken and rice bowl leftovers pretty much every meal until it ran out. Thanks for sharing!!! Will definitely be making this again.
Thanks Brenda! And thanks for the heads up on omissions in the recipe - oops! The onion, garlic, and ginger are now included, sorry about that :)
We loved your coconut braised beef. And now we love this, too! Very, very wonderful. Thank you!
Can't wait! I love to hear back - thank you :)
This sounds perfect! I've been looking for a simple, vaguely Thai dish with coconut milk as a base flavor for a while. I intend to blog my results: I'll keep you posted!
Michelle, that's awesome to hear - good call on spinach and potato, geez, yum. Yeah, ours disappeared fast. There were leftovers, which I think were even better, as braises often go. Glad you enjoyed, thanks for letting me know :)
MMmmm just made this delicious finger licking good chicken, I added baby spinach leaves and steamed potato. You could sell this, the only problem is it wouldn't last.
Ha, thanks Brenda, I love it. And given the amount of time I spend trying to warm up, I suppose it's fitting it made it's way in. I *know* you'll love this chicken.
You know you've sucked me in for making another one of your recipes, right?! And I smiled to see the baths are now making their way into your posts, too. :) Can't wait to try this!!
Love this post... not only cause you provide an awesome recipe I cant wait to try... but because you totally make me want to take a bath and go to Costa Rica. ;)