Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thai Coconut Chicken

I love the idea of opening up a can of coconut milk and instantly having a new palate of interesting tastes on the table. I seem to get into a soy sauce based stir-fry rut, and one measly can of coconut milk adds a whole new dimension to my menu planning.

This recipe was in my latest issue of Clean Eating, a magazine that I love for having real, unprocessed ingredients. It pushes me to try lots of new ingredients (quinoa, barley) and gives introductions to seemingly scary things that aren't so scary (nutritional yeast, anyone?) I would also call this magazine "Introduction to Your Local Bulk Store" because I have tried so many new things from the bulk section after reading about it in Clean Eating.

Thai Coconut Chicken
recipe adapted from Thai Coconut Shrimp from Clean Eating May/June 2010

8 oz thin noodles (I used whole wheat angel hair)
2 cups broccoli florets
2/3 cup light coconut milk
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 tablespoon natural peanut butter
1 teaspoon ginger, ground
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
juice of 1/2 lime
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil, for frying
1 red or yellow bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
1 cup bean sprouts (I left out)

In a large pot, bring water to a boil over high heat. When water is boiling, add noodles. When the noodles have 2-3 minutes remaining according to your noodle's package directions, add broccoli to the boiling water. Finish cooking the noodles according to the package directions, then drain the whole pan, rinse in hot water, and set aside.

In a bowl, combine coconut milk, tomato paste, peanut butter, ginger, garlic, pepper flakes and lime juice. Use a fork or whisk to combine.

Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper. In a large saute pan or wok, heat olive oil over high heat. Add the chicken pieces and stir-fry. When the chicken is 3/4ths of the way cooked, with a little pink left, add the pepper strips, and continue cooking until chicken is cooked.

Reduce heat down to medium low, add the coconut mixture to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often to prevent clumping.

Toss noodles and broccoli into the large pan, covering all with the sauce. (might need to switch to tongs) Serve hot.

The verdict?
This was a hit at our house. After I had a few bites, I knew I would be tempted to over-eat, so I immediately got up and put the leftovers in a container and straight into the frig. My son happily ate the noodles and chicken, and I

That being said, the recipe needs a little more punch. The spice level wasn't too much of an issue with me since I prefer things mild for my son so I can spice it up at the table, but I did top my plate off with more lime, a sprinkle of soy sauce and and some sriracha on the side.

This recipe makes a lot (4 servings) and it could easily stretch further by adding more vegetables. The sauce to noodle/veggie ratio was perfect, so if you do add more veggies, increasing the sauce might be a good idea. I had around 1/2 can of coconut milk left in my frig, so next time I might double up the sauce and veggies to make more for leftovers.

My husband ate some of the leftovers a day later, and the dish was still just as good.

Easy Cooking | Simple Cooking 


  1. It's always OK to serve lime on the side. I, for one, never get enough. And if you're looking for a little more punch, you might be looking for basil or cilantro. They don't hit you in the face, but they brighten the whole dish.

  2. Great tips, Nancy! I totally agree about the basil - if you look closely in the photo, I tried to add some dried basil to the top to jazz it up.

    I think the base recipe is good, but needs some tweaks!

  3. Fresh basil or cilantro, not dried. And I just noticed the recipe calls for ground ginger. That won't do. Grate fresh ginger, quite a lot of it, and see what a difference it makes.