Pot Roasted Coconut Chicken
Chicken in a fragrant coconut broth with an intensity of flavour that belies the few ingredients this recipe uses! The broth is so good that you will want to drink it straight. And the chicken stays beautifully moist by roasting it in the broth/stock. This is a clean-eating recipe that you would never think of as "clean"!
- 2 long red chilies (Note 1)
- 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
- 2 garlic cloves , crushed
- 1 tbsp coconut oil (or substitute with olive oil)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Black pepper
- 1 cup finely chopped cilantro/coriander leaves
- 3 lb /1.6kg whole chicken , preferably organic/free range
- 2 cups / 500 ml chicken broth/stock (preferably reduced salt)
- 1 lemongrass , white part only, bruised (Note 2)
- 2 kaffir lime leaves (Note 3)
- 14 oz /400ml light coconut milk (1 can)
- 0.8 lb / 400g baby potatoes , scrubbed clean
- 1 lime
- 2 tsp coconut sugar (or substitute with brown sugar)
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
Preheat oven to 390F/200C.
Finely mince ONE red chili (~1 tbsp). Combine chili, ginger, garlic, oil, 1/2 cup cilantro/coriander, salt and pepper in a small bowl and set aside.
Rinse and pat the chicken dry (inside and out) with paper towels. Starting from the neck end of the chicken, use a teaspoon upside down to loosen the skin from the meat across the surface of the chicken (i.e. not the legs or wings). Just go as far as you can.
Spoon the cilantro/mixture between the meat and the skin near neck. Use the spoon to spread it a bit, then to finish it off, use your finger/hands ON the skin to spread the mixture as far and evenly as you can. Doesn't need to be perfect! :)
Place the chicken stock/broth, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass and the whole red chili into a dutch oven or baking tray. (Note 4)
Place the chicken in the broth, cover with a lid and roast for 45 minutes. Remove the lid, add the coconut milk and potatoes then roast for a further 30 minutes, or until juices run clear when pierced.
Remove the chicken from the broth and cover loosely with foil to rest for 5 minutes.
Skim excess fat off the surface of the broth - I usually get about 5 tbsp of fat off.
Add the juice from the lime, sugar and fish sauce. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add remaining cilantro/coriander.
Serve the chicken with the broth in a pouring jug, or cut up the chicken and serve it in the broth.
1. Use the long red chilies that are not too spicy, You should have around 1 tbsp of very finely mined chili. If you can't find long red chilis, you can substitute with 3/4 tbsp of chili paste into the mixture to put under the chicken skin and any whole red chili to put (whole) into the cooking broth.
2. Lemongrass: Peel the tough outer pale green layers to reveal the white part inside. Chop the reedy end off so you end up with the white and pale green parts. Use the side of your knife to bash it to break it open a bit - it helps release flavour.
3. Kaffir Lime Leaves smell like lime with an earthy tone. There is no substitute that I think comes close. They don't cost much to buy from Asian grocery stores and some green grocers and even supermarkets have them nowadays (Sydney - Harris Farms, Coles, Woolworths). And they freeze really well! Brilliant for Asian cooking - it's like the bay leaf of Asian food. Plonk it in with plain cooked rice to take it to the next level, and into any coconut based Asian soups, sauces and curries.
If you really can't find it, then grate the zest of the lime into the broth. The broth will still be lovely!
4. If your pot is not deep enough so the lid touches the chicken or you are using foil to cover the chicken, spray the top of the chicken with oil so the skin doesn't stick and break when you take the lid off (so sad when that happens).