This easy Thai Coconut Chicken and Rice dinner has just the right amount of spice from jalapeño and ginger to flavor this creamy coconut sauce for a simple all-in-on meal.
Thai Comfort Food: Thai Coconut Chicken and Rice
“Make it with extra sauce!” my husband always says.
Those are the words I hear ringing in my ears every time I cook any of my Thai recipes made with coconut milk like Shrimp in Thai Coconut Sauce or Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Soup. He’s a saucy kind of guy and simply can’t get enough of the Thai flavor-infused coconut flavors. And since every month those two recipes are in the top 10 recipes readers make from my site, it’s obvious you love them too.
The sauce is one reason why this creamy ginger and coconut chicken recipe has been a favorite of ours literally for years. I originally tore it out of a 2006 issue of Real Simple magazine, and like any magazine addict who also has a penchant for
saving hoarding, I’ve kept it all these years.
The recipe page is now a little kitchen war-torn and splattered so it was high time to add it to the blog so I could refer to it more easily. See, this blog isn’t just a place for me to make recipes for you, it’s a place for me to keep track of my many favorites.
And hopefully like this Thai chicken recipe, you’ll love ’em and make them all as much too.
Thai Coconut Chicken Ingredient List
I’ve made this chicken dinner recipe for fast weeknight dinners and because it’s easy and keeps on the stove, it’s great for entertaining, too. It’s one of those recipes any home cook can easily master.
The ingredient list for this recipe is simple and sweet, just like the dinner itself:
- boneless skinless chicken breasts
- a big bunch of fresh cilantro (leaves only)
- ginger (look for the plumpest, freshest knob you can find)
- red bell pepper (or any color you like best)
- soy sauce (use Thai fish sauce if you like)
- coconut milk
- cooked rice
see more: 31 Days of Weeknight Chicken Dinners
I intentionally kept this ingredient list basic because I was trying to veer away from my usual way of really zhooshing things up by adding even more vegetables and flavors. I didn’t want to overwhelm you with my imagination gone wild.
But…there are loads more ingredients you can add to this dish to adapt it and make it your own:
- Add more hearty vegetables like mushrooms, other bell peppers, peas, corn, green beans, carrots, yams, potatoes, bamboo shoots
- Add leafy veggies in the last few minutes of cooking like spinach, kale, cabbages, or bok choy
- Try a different protein such as shrimp, tofu, fish or scallops, diced beef, or ground chicken instead of sliced
- Mix up the herbs and add in Thai basil or mint
- Garnish with a spritz of fresh lime wedge, chopped green onion, and the crunch of crushed peanuts or cashews
see more: 31 Winter Winner Chicken Dinner Ideas to Make Now
How to Make Creamy Thai Coconut Chicken
One of the attractions of this recipe is that it uses real fresh ingredients as the flavorings in the sauce instead of a jarred version, and the taste shows.
The only thing that really takes any hands on time with this recipe is separating the cilantro leaves from the stems. But this step gives you time to think about who will steal The Bachelor‘s heart this season.
The cilantro, fresh ginger, and jalapeño are chopped fine in a food processor or high powered blender. You want this mix to be pretty fine to meld into the sauce. Depending on your own personal heat index, use 2-3 medium jalapeños. The heat is in the seeds and veins, so be sure to trim them out to keep tastes manageable.
The chicken isn’t browned but instead gently simmers in the coconut sauce, giving it a gently poach for a tender and flavorful bite. The sauce is plentiful for soaking up steamed white or brown rice, or rice noodles, or simply slurping on it’s own.
see more: 31 Days of Comfort Food Favorites to Make Now
The Best Coconut Milk to Cook With
All coconut milk is not created equal. A low quality coconut milk can cause your sauce to break and become watery. But it’s hard to tell it one is good over the other when you’re staring at the label of a can.
I’ve cooked with a lot of coconut milks and this is what I’ve found:
Check the date. If you open the can and the cream that has risen to the top isn’t bright and white, or has a gray cast, ditch it. It might be too old and past it’s best of date.
Coconut milk separates, but should blend back together easily and fully. If the cream aka fat at the top of the can is in a hardened, waxy clump hovering over the clear liquid below, it’s likely to be tough to get those two to incorporate once they’re out of the can. Steer clear. I’ve found it’s better to just dump it than risk ruining my dinner.
see more: 30 Dinners to Make When There’s No Time to Cook in September
Some popular coconut milk grocery store brands are not of the best quality. My favorite grocery store brand I’ve found to be rich and creamy and most consistently isn’t separated in the can is Kroger’s in-store Simple Truth unsweetened coconut milk.
The same can’t be said for the popular Thai Kitchen coconut milk. I’ve had problems with it separating and being way too viscous right after peeling away the lid and poking though the coconut cream.
I’ve had better success with other brands found in the Asian grocery stores such as Sun Luck that’s imported from Thailand and has a shorter ingredient list.
Low-fat versions of coconut milk reduce the calories but are also more likely to separate. Dishes made with coconut milk have a tendency to break if they get too hot, and the low-fat versions seem even more likely to do so.
So if you’re cutting calories, just eat a little bit less, but use the best quality coconut milk. It definitely makes a difference in taste and your cooking success.
More Thai Dinner Recipes to Try Now
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Thai Ginger Chicken and Rice
Servings 4 servings
- 1 bunch cilantro, stems removed
- 3 medium jalapénos seeded and roughly chopped
- 1 2-inch fresh ginger peeled and sliced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped
- 1 red bell pepper seeded and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
- 2 13.5 ounce cans unsweetened coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 1/2 treaspoons kosher salt
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1/2 inch slices
- 3 cups cooked rice
- chopped green onion and sliced red serrano or Thai chili peppers if desired
Reserve 2 tablespoons of the cilantro leaves and place the rest of the cilantro, jalapeños, ginger in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and cook the ginger mixture for 2 minutes or until fragrant and season with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Add the onion and red bell pepper and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add the coconut milk and soy sauce and bring to a simmer. Add the chicken and the remaining salt and simmer until cooked through, about 10 minutes, and so the sauce thickens.
Spoon rice into bowls and serve with the ginger chicken. Garnish with the remaining cilantro leaves, green onion, and sliced serrano peppers.
Calories: 372kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 783mg | Potassium: 583mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 965IU | Vitamin C: 41.4mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 1.1mg
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