It’s been so gloomy around here that last weekend Scott and I headed out to get tropical drinks at a Caribbean restaurant (Island Soul) in our neighborhood. Scott got a very respectable caipirinha and I got something that was neon blue and came with fruit on a sword. It inspired me to look up coconut recipes in How to Cook Everything and happily there was a recipe for Double Coconut Chicken Breasts. In his recipe Mark Bittman warns “ground coconut makes a flavorful and crunchy crust, but it burns easily, so be careful” so I changed the recipe to how we usually cook chicken breasts which uses a lower temperature than normal. It’s a technique I learned from How to Cook Moist and Tender Chicken Breasts over at The Kitchn. This is a nice, lazy and nearly foolproof method.
Pretty Easy Double Coconut Chicken Breasts
- 1 cup (or just go ahead and use the whole can) canned coconut milk
- 1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric, or a few strands of saffron if you’re the sort to have a well stocked spice cabinet
- about 1 1/2 cups dried unsweetened coconut
- 2 (or 4) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- minced parsley for garnish
- vegetable oil, salt and pepper
- If you’re serving this with rice hopefully you’ve already started cooking it, the chicken takes 20 minutes. If you have not started rice see the notes below.
- Warm the coconut milk and stir in the tumeric or saffron. Turn off the heat and let it cool. After a while the sauce turns a pretty yellow color, like magic. Or much needed sunlight.
- Whirl the coconut around in a food processor to break it down into the size of crumbs. (We used Bob’s Red Mill shredded coconut and I suspect it was small enough already. We’ll skip this step next time.) Put the coconut on a plate, ready for dredging.
- Heat oil or a combination of oil and butter in a skillet over medium heat.
- Dredge the chicken breasts in the coconut and place in the skillet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Just let them get golden brown on both sides and then quickly cover the pan with a heavy lid and turn the heat to low. Let cook on low for 10 minutes.
- While you’re waiting right now is a good time to prepare your salad.
- After 10 minutes turn off the heat under the chicken or move the pan while keeping the lid on. Let the chicken sit for another 10 minutes. (If you’re cooking very thick chicken breasts you might consider checking for doneness, if they are still pink inside keep the pan over low heat for the next 10 minutes instead.)
- Heat some oil in a small pan and cook the minced shallot over medium heat, 3 or 4 minutes stirring occasionally until it softens. Add the coconut milk, turn the heat up and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and stir frequently until the sauce has thickened up a bit. Add a pinch of salt.
- At this point your chicken breasts, sauce and rice will hopefully be ready all at the same time. Flood the plate with the pretty sauce, garnish with parsley. And you’re done. Neon blue drink optional.
Notes: If you’ve forgotten to start the rice beforehand (every time!) I’ve taken a tip from an old Splendid Table program (the segment of which I cannot find) that mentions boiling it like pasta. Mine doesn’t not come out fluffy, rather it comes out looking wet and wrecked, but at least it’s cooked quickly.
Disclosure: The link to How To Cook Everything above is an affiliate link with Amazon, should you happen to buy the book after clicking on that link a small percentage comes to me. It’s not much but it helps me cover my hosting costs.