Chicken in Coconut Milk


serves 4
1.4 kg (3 lb) chicken, jointed into 8 pieces
15 g (1 tbsp) sugar
350 g (12 oz) desiccated coconut
600 ml (1 pt) boiling water
4 small onions
2 cloves garlic
2.5 cm (1 in) piece fresh ginger
2 stems lemongrass
75 ml (5 tbsp) coconut or vegetable oil
30 g (2 tbsp) chilli powder or to taste
salt to taste


1. Rinse the pieces of chicken and dry them on kitchen paper.

2. Put in a bowl, sprinkle with sugar and toss in the bowl to release their juices.

3. Dry fry 75 g (3 oz) of coconut in a large frying pan or wok turning all the time until it becomes dry, crisp and golden.

4. Pound with a pestle and mortar until the oil begins to show.

5. Turn the remaining coconut into a deep bowl and make coconut milk by pouring over it the boiling water, leaving to soak for 15 minutes, then squeezing out the liquid.

6. Leave liquid to stand for another 15 minutes, then spoon off 60 ml (4 tbsp) .

7. Peel and chop the onions and garlic and scrape and chop the ginger. Pound them with the lemongrass.

8. Heat the oil in the wok. Fry the pounded ingredients for several minutes to bring out the flavour.

9. Lower the heat, add the chilli powder and cook for 3 - 4 minutes, stirring all the time.

10. Add the spooned off coconut milk and salt.

11. Stir as the mixture comes to the boil to prevent curdling.

12. Add the chicken pieces turning frequently so that the mixture coats each piece.

13. Reduce the heat and stir in the remaining coconut milk.

14. Cook over a gentle heat for 45 - 50 minutes or until the chicken is tender.

15. Just before serving spoon some of the sauce into the pounded coconut.

16. Mix well, then return this to the pan. Stir without breaking up the chicken and cook for a further 5 minutes.

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