Recipé for coconut chicken

On this page: This vaguely far-eastern recipé has evolved from an early attempt to duplicate (or rather improve on) some bottled sauce that the supermarket stopped stocking just after I bought my first bottle! Serve with Chinese-type plain egg noodles or boiled rice.

Serves four people

Ingredients

4 chicken breasts (I use free-range fresh ones: look in the sell-by section or joint a whole chicken from the farmer's market)
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 onions, halved and sliced
1 tin chopped tomatoes in juice
1/2 a 200g pack of creamed coconut
1 lime
Bunch fresh coriander (a.k.a. cilantro)
Salt and pepper
30ml oil or 30g butter.

Method

Put the oil or butter into a large pan and heat. Fry the chicken till gently browned all over. Remove from pan and put aside. Fry the onions until soft and starting to colour, then add the garlic and fry for a few minutes longer. Put the chicken and any juices back into the pan, add the tomatoes and leave to simmer gently. Add more water if neccessary to stop the pan catching on the bottom.

Meanwhile, chop the coconut up with a heavy knife and put in a jug with hot water to cover. Stir well to dissolve, then add to the pan. Remove the biggest stalks from the coriander and chop the rest coarsely - use an amount according to taste, but about two handfuls is nice! Remove the zest from the lime and put with the coriander; then juice the lime.

When the chicken is cooked through (probably about 30 minutes), add the lime zest, coriander and juice. Stir well and taste - add salt and pepper, and if it's too sharp, melt some more coconut and add to the sauce. Serve decorated with lime wedges and/or a few reserved coriander leaves.

Variation

You can add some fresh green chilli and / or ginger root for a spicier meal. Slice finely and add to the frying onions with the garlic. The creamed coconut block can be substituted by canned coconut milk, but this is much more expensive.