Crispy Coconut Chicken with a Creamy Coconut Turmeric Sauce
I know this recipe may seem a little outside the pantry staple comfort zone, but I promise, it actually incorporates all common ingredients with the exception of turmeric (which isn’t necessary) and coconut flakes (also, not necessary — just a fun touch.) And to be completely transparent: the best part of this dish is the coconut turmeric sauce, so if you do not have chicken on hand, just make this sauce and pour it over rice, onto plain chicken, fish, shrimp, truly anything, and you will be a happy quarantine camper.
Before we dive in, let me break down this sauce for you because there is A LOT happening with only a few ingredients. It’s a little sweet, nutty, earthy, grassy, zesty and aromatic. I used full fat coconut milk (sorry, it won’t be half as good with “lite” coconut milk which is bogus anyway) and thickened it with some chickpea flour. Any flour is really acceptable here to use as a thickener and so are starches. However, if you are using a starch, you will only want to use a little bit for sake of the sauce’s texture. Ok back to the sauce: the flavor comes together with some grated ginger, grated garlic, lime juice, turmeric and a humble pinch of salt. If you’re not keen on lime, use it sparingly, or skip all together.
Coconut Chicken with a Creamy Coconut Turmeric Sauce
- 2 chicken breasts pounded to even thickness
- 1 cup flour of your choice — I used chickpea flour but I recommend all-purpose or all-purpose gluten-free
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup coconut flakes
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs optional, but preferred
- Coconut oil for pan, can sub for other cooking oils
- Lime zest for topping (optional)
Coconut Turmeric Sauce
- 1 1/2 tsp coconut oil can sub for another cooking oil if needed
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp flour of your choice, all-purpose or all-purpose gluten-free preferred. If using starch, use 1/4 tsp and add more if needed
- 1 1/2 tsp lime juice or to taste
- 1 clove garlic grated
- 1/2 tsp grated ginger
- 1 cup full fat coconut milk
- Pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and the salt. Set to the far left or right side.
- In a second large bowl, whisk together the egg and 2 tsp of water to create your egg wash. Set the bowl in the middle.
- In a third large bowl, toss together the coconut flakes and the pank breadcrumbs, if using. If not, just set the coconut flakes in the bowl. Put the coconut flake bowl at the end of your lineup.
- Taking the first chicken breast, dip and fully coat it in the flour. Switch hands and then dip it into the egg wash, fully coating the chicken breast. Finally, dip the coated chicken breast into the coconut mixture until the entire chicken breast is covered in the coconut mixture. Set the chicken breast aside and repeat with the second chicken breast.
- Season an oven-safe skillet with coconut oil over medium high heat.
- When the oil is shimmering, gently place the chicken breasts onto the pan and sear one side, until golden brown. This should take about 2-3 minutes.
- Flip the chicken breast and sear on the other side for 1-2 minutes, then place it in the oven. Let it cook while you make your sauce, about 8-10 minutes.
Creamy Coconut Turmeric Sauce
- Add the coconut oil to a sauce pan over medium heat.
- After the oil is melted. add 1/4 cup of coconut milk, reserving the rest for later. Whisk the oil and milk together, then add the turmeric and the flour. Whisk until a thicker paste is formed and all the ingredients are combined.
- Add the rest of the coconut milk, lime juice, grated ginger, grated garlic and a pinch of salt. Whisk over medium high heat until all of the ingredients combine and the liquid begins to reduce and thicken into a sauce. This may take a few minutes. If the sauce isn't thickening, bump the heat up and let the mixture boil and whisk repeatedly until it thickens.
- Remove the sauce from the heat and remove the chicken from the oven. Measure the internal temp of the chicken and make sure its at least 165 degrees F.
- Slice the chicken with the knife on a slant, creating even strips. Place onto a plate, or on a bed of rice, if serving with rice.
- Pour the sauce onto the chicken, hitting every piece of meat. Top with fresh cilantro and lime zest and serve!