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Chicken breast + coconut milk + ?

I have 2 juicy plump fresh chicken breasts and a sad little can (160mL) of coconut milk. I wanted to make a delish coconut-based chicken recipe for my boys (age 4) but the only recipes I can find have curry powder in them. I have an okay spice rack goin' on but neither of my little fellas likes curry.

I am, sadly, not one of those people who can look at a few basic ingredients and determine the perfect spices/herbs to compliment it.

Anyone have any suggestions? I *possibly* should have obtained a reliable-looking recipe before I bought that coconut milk... but it was so cute in its little can, and it was on sale. :-(

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  1. You could try going for a different sort of curry without the curry flavor you associate with Indian cuisine here. Mash up some garlic, ginger, lemongrass (if you have it, just play with lemon rind and juice if you don't), coriander, cumin... Really, find a mixture that smells good to you and mash it all together with a bit of a flavorful pepper variety that isn't particularly hot. If you don't have a mortar and pestle, just chop it all up with a sharp knife all together until it's nice and fine and mixed.

    Quickly fry that in a bit of oil, add the coconut milk, fry that until it starts to bubble and separate more, add the chicken and some stock to cover... Bring to a slight bubble and them simmer. Adding potatoes near the end is always nice. You can add whatever other vegetables that are good to the kids into this picture as well pretty easily.

    The nice part is that this sort of idea is really flexible and can be adapted to whatever flavors you have available. Also, if you like something a bit more spicy, it goes well with a bit of sriracha. :)

    Edit: Ooh! You could always go for some coconut rice to pair with some simple veggie stir fry as well. I don't cook for children much, but when I used to watch my friend's 6 year old, this is how I got him to eat veggies most easily!

    2 Replies
      1. re: EM23

        Agree, my boys, at four loved chicken pieces and peanut butter satay sauce. You can even mix it up with some spaghetti, like a sesame noodle salad dish.

        They also love, still, when I do a teriyaki or sukiyaki marinade on chicken pieces and serve with simple rice & steamed veg. You could cook the rice in the coconut milk.

    1. Interesting.... I was under the impression you couldn't fry or boil coconut milk. I remember the woman who first introduced me to it (she taught me how to cook beans in it) stressed that it can only be simmered, not boiled or cooked at a high heat. That's probably another reason I've been scared to use it. Nothing worse than carving out a chunk of time in between work and child duties just to cook a meal that ends up going into the compost.

      So I can boil the rice in coconut milk just like in broth?

      That satay thing looks delightful. Maybe when I have a bit more confidence in the kitchen... or when the kids aren't around to hear me swear if things go wrong.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Minxish

        If I remember correctly, boiling or frying coconut milk can cause the fat to separate out slightly. This is done deliberately in some Thai recipes. It's not going to destroy your meal, though.

        I did a really good rice the other day with Chinese purple forbidden rice - soaked the rice overnight, and then cooked it with coconut milk, grated ginger, lime zest, lime juice, some cayenne powder and a bit of fish sauce. Creamy and delicious.

        As someone said upstream - ginger, garlic, lime zest, lime juice, lemon grass, coriander, cumin, black pepper, fish sauce are common ingredients in coconut based curry. I do find the fish sauce makes a different - add a dash at the end, to taste. Toss in fresh basil or cilantro at tend.

        My go to for chicken and coconut, though, is Thai green curry - there are some very good curry paste available, and it tastes totally different from the more curry powder based dishes (ginger, garlic, lime, lemon grass, etc). Sautee the spice paste in a bit of oil, add the coconut milk and mix well, add the chicken pieces and veggies (I use eggplant), simmer until done, add fish sauce and a squeeze of lime juice and some fresh basil, and serve over steamed rice.

        1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

          That does sound great.... thanks everyone!!

          1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

            Your forbidden rice sounds great. Any chance that you might share your recipe?

            1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

              Frying doesnt work well but you can certainly simmer or boil the coconut milk.

            2. re: Minxish

              I boil rice in coconut milk regularly, with no problems.

            3. You made me smile when I read this...It wasnt until my kids were grown that I learned to cook...you can simmer or boil coconut milk with no problems...it is always fun to experiment with herbs and seasonings. You will be pleasantly surprised.

              1. Hi, when I was a child growing up in the Far East, we often had a meal my mum would make with coconut milk. Actually she called it coconut chicken! It was basically a chicken casserole, with a chicken stock cube in 500ml water,
                sauted chopped onions & garlic, the chicken (she used drumsticks) would be sauteed to brown the outside, in the onions, then the stock was added with the coconut milk, and a teaspoon of tumeric powder which gave the dish a lovely yellow colour. Served with rice, it was truely delicious. She also put pieces of carrot & mushroom in there to try and disguise the veg in the hope we wouldn't notice!

                1 Reply
                1. re: lovefoodies

                  That sounds great, thanks for sharing! I'll try this. Where does this dish originate from, geographically?