Friday, September 10, 2010

Green Coconut Chicken – This Could Be a Curry Recipe

I was calling this green coconut chicken recipe a curry all the way up until I started writing the post. The problem with calling something a curry is that people expect it to taste like a curry, and that could mean a whole bunch of things, not all of them good. So, I decided to call it something that wouldn’t necessarily recall a strong taste memory.

While there is a nice dose of red curry powder in the braise, it's certainly not the dominate flavor. For something that may seem quite exotic and boldly spiced, this a surprisingly mellow dish. If you've never cooked with coconut milk, this would be a nice recipe to change that.

The coconut milk adds a subtle sweetness and richness that makes it a great vehicle for moving around all kinds of tastes and textures. I've used this same exact procedure for countless versions using beef, pork, lamb, duck, and seafood, with great results. It's not low in fat, but my s
ources deep inside the coconut industry tell me the fat is quite unique and healthful.

Regarding the red curry powder: I decided to use a standard supermarket brand as to make this as accessible as possible. I went with the McCormick Gourmet Collection Red Curry Powder, which contains coriander, cumin, chili pepper, red pepper, and cardamom.

This blend does have some heat to it, but if you like your green coconut chicken on the spicy side I suggest a little extra blast of sambal or sriracha. Enjoy!

UPDATE: We have a report that using regular limes, and leaving them in the stew, made the recipe too biter. I used those small key limes, which are very mild, so mine was fine. So, if using regular limes, maybe best to just use the juice and leave them out. Thanks, Qin.




Green Coconut Chicken Ingredients:
4 full leg sections (thigh and drumstick)
salt
vegetable oil
1 onion, sliced
6 thick slices of fresh ginger
1 tablespoon red curry powder
3 green jalapeƱo
6 cloves garlic
1/2 bunch green onions, light parts
1 bunch cilantro
1 can coconut milk
2 tablespoons fish sauce or to taste, or soy sauce to taste
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 lime, juiced
eggplant or zucchini, cut in 1-inch chucks
2 cups sweet potatoes or butternut squash, large cubes
thai basil

41 comments:

Daniel said...

John! Genius! My wife thanks you :D We had a few chicken drumsticks and no idea what to do! So i pop on to your site and your new post of the day.... Ironically, i had all the ingredients at home thanks to a little Thai shop around the corner from our flat. This worked very well... sadly can't get Jalapeno here very often, so i subbed in a simple red-pepper (medium spicy). Btw: i added a few "lime leaves" for extra zing and worked great!

Daniel Bottoms said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Travis said...

Hey Chef, this may be a silly question, but is it okay to eat the chunks of ginger at the bottom of the pan? Will they break down when everything braises? Or are they cool to eat whole? I've just never had the guts to eat whole chunks of ginger.

Chef John said...

the ginger is cut in thick pieces so you don't accidentally eat it. You could, but it's just too fibrous. It just flavors the stew, not meant to eat.

Rita said...

it could be green coconut curry recipe. why not? you have just about everything needed to make a green curry sauce - just add some green curry paste and lemon grass, there you go! for people like me, who likes spicy food, i might use some thai chili peppers.

either way, it looks so delicious! thanks much!

William said...

Yet another recipe requiring a dutch oven... the one I ordered should be here in a couple of days, can't wait to try it out. Do you usually use a 5.5 quart or should I have gotten a larger size?

Chef John said...

That's a good size. Mine is 7 1/2 I think.

Chef John said...

That's a good size. Mine is 7 1/2 I think.

Sweet Monkey Fritters said...

My wife is a picky eater and I've been dying to get her to try Thai food. I think this should do nicely. Thanks, Chef John!! :)

Qin said...

This recipe is great but whoever tries it please take some caution in throwing the lime skins. Mine turns out to be pretty bitter. I am used to eating bitter stuff but my husband could not stand it. I did add more sugar to balance it out but it is still too bitter.

Chef John said...

Yes, great point about the limes. I used those small key limes, which are very mild. Maybe best to leave them out!

Basil said...

Try this- add less water, and reduce the sauce more, until it is thicker. Cook only the vegetables in the sauce. Instead of braising chicken leg in the sauce, confit some duck legs, and finish them by searing them hot in oil. Ladle the thicker sauce over the crisped confit duck legs and rice.

Anonymous said...

can you please provide the exact measurements for the spices in the red curry powder? i usually have those individual spices on hand and would hate to have to add another spice mix to the pantry! thanks!

Chef John said...

sorry, no way for me to know the exact amounts! (I have no inside source at McCormick ;-)

Rachael PDX said...

Chef John can you recommend a fish sauce?

There are a lot to choose from and the person at the store told me the most popular one was the one with the most artificial ingredients in it...ew that can't be right can it?!?!

Thanks!!

Chef John said...

wow, I would check on Chowhound or some Asian blogs, but I just grab a big bottle when I'm in the Vietnamese part of town. I don't even know the brand. Sorry!

Jessica said...

Chef John!!! What a FANTASTIC recipe. I'm going to try yoru Spicy Thai Chicken recipe next. I made this last night - super simple with minimal clean up actually - and it is my new favorite recipe! I served it with rice added right in the soup. And the longer it marinates in the soup the better it tasted! Every vegetable was melt-in-your-mouth good and the chicken was falling off the bones, as you had promised. No worries - I will give you and your wonderful blog credit at our next family get-together when I show off this delicious meal:)))

Oh and ouch - I did burn my fingers on the jalapeno peppers...taking additional safety precaution next time.

Eddie said...

Awesome recipe...I'm hoping that you calling yams sweet potatoes was a joke, because sweet potatoes do exist. =)

Suzanne said...

I love anything with coconut!!!! Add spicy finger pepper --ooh yummy! Thanks for sharing your recipe! Will surely try it!

Anonymous said...

In Indonesia they called this "Opor Ayam". It's quite tasty even though i don't like coconut that much. We made this sometimes when we have the ingredients. Though we don't use jalapeno's or any kind of chillis as a matter of fact. It's not a typical dish to find in an Indonesian Restaurant so its best if you make it yourself.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef,
My family prefer white meat, if I use chicken breast will this recipe be just as good?

Chef John said...

Sorry, that's too subjective to answer. Maybe?

shannon said...

Do you need a dutch oven for this meal? I still don't have one. And by the way, I LOVE you John!!

Chef John said...

any pot will work! thanks!

Gloria said...

Hi Chef John,

I've been a fan for several months now, especially since each of your recipes I've tried has turned out great. Thank you!

The person I'd like to make this for doesn't like cilantro. Do you think it would be okay if I used parsley instead?

Chef John said...

Sure!

Just Me said...

I made this special for Valentines Day. Wow, what an ordeal. I've never peeled ginger before or worked with coconut milk, but, boy, was it ever worth it!!! I did everything according to your directions, and it all worked out perfectly. This recipe has changed my mind about cilantro, which until now was not my favorite ingredient.

Just Me said...

One more thing...

I am learning a lot from watching your channel on my Roku! It's the first thing I go to when I run out of interesting dinner ideas. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!

Just Me said...

O.k., just one more thing.....

We froze the leftover sauce and vegetables. Tonight, we cooked shrimp in the sauce (just a few minutes lightly coated in sauce in hot pan) and served it over rice. Another fantastic meal.

Anonymous said...

This is a really good recipe. One problem-- and I wonder if anyone else did this? In the video Chef adds an extra can of water to the coconut milk sauce, whereas it is not called for in the recipe. I added the water and it really diluted everything far too much, such that I had to reduce the sauce quite a bit. Still, this recipe as written is a keeper!

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef John,
Is it okay to replace jalapeno pepper with green bell peppers? Thanks!

Chef John said...

I'm always amused by these questions, because of course you can... it's your dinner! Why did you think you maybe couldn't?

Anonymous said...

Just thought that it might make the coconut gravy tasted different..but thanks for the answer. :)

Just Me said...

NOOOOOOOOOOO. Don't subsitute green bell peppers for jalapenos. Ugh! If you must, go 50-50. One bell pepper and one jalapeno. Without the kick of the jalapeno it's just not the same. This recipe is perfect as is. Changing it would be like painting a mustache on the Mona Lisa.

Craig said...

I have just mortgaged the house to get myself a nice dutch oven. This recipe is first up.

Would it be advisable to zest the limes and just use the juice to avoid the bitter taste from the pith?

Chef John said...

Yes, lately I've just used the juice!

Ran said...

I put 2 tablespoon of lime juice as directed, but I found it a little bit too sour. Is this dish supposed to be a little sour? Maybe I am just not used to the taste. Thanks!

Yorick said...

Chef,

I made your recipe and the sauce together with the veggies was great.
The chicken i didn't like so much; the skin came out to slimy. Can you crisp up chicken skin after braising?

Much love, you rule!

cookinmom said...

Excellent...sorry, I did alter a little but ohhh so good! Had skinless chicken breast so I browned in the pressure cooker w/ coconut oil,onions and spices. At the end,I added 1t. PButter,leftover green beans and sweet potato from Tksgiving at the very end. Right on the money!!

S/V Blondie-Dog said...

I well remember attempting to make this awhile back. It was a complete and total failure and I had to throw it out. It was that bad. In hindsight I should have perhaps checked the expiration date on that can of coconut milk that had forever been sitting in the pantry. Perhaps I'll give this dish one more try sometime but not before checking the expiration date. *sigh*

Just Me said...

Blondie-Dog, give it another shot, but make it exactly according to the recipe. Don't use low-fat coconut milk or substitute green peppers for jalapenos (as someone else suggested).

It really is quite good. You can save the leftover sauce and use it later for shrimp or scallops.