Monday, July 14, 2014

Sticky Coconut Chicken with a Chili Glaze

Cool, windy, wet weather can dampen our enthusiasm for outdoor grilling. The Capt. is a hardy grill dude with a good set of rain gear, but swirling, gusty winds often rotate the boat and blow out the gas grill’s flame. Not fun. Well, whoever said you have to grill outside in the summer? This Southeast Asian chicken recipe wins rave reviews whether you use a charcoal or propane grill, stovetop grill pans or even an oven broiler. Tasty results shouldn’t be a surprise since the recipe is attributed to notable chef Christine Keff of Seattle’s Flying Fish restaurant.

The coconut milk/lime/ginger marinade flavors the chicken meat and the tangy, sticky glaze adds an amazing finishing touch.  Layers of flavor plus a gorgeous appearance make this dish a winner in my galley.

Note to self: double the quantity of Chili Glaze; it makes a tasty topping for the coconut rice side dish.

Sticky Coconut Chicken
Based on a recipe found in Sunset Recipe Annual, 2002

Accompany with fresh tropical fruit and a bowl of steaming Coconut Rice for a dinner that will win you rave reviews from family and friends.

Serves 6

6 to 8 large chicken thighs, trimmed, boned & skinned (or use breast pieces pounded to an even thickness, about 1.5 lbs.)
6 ounces canned coconut milk (stir or shake well before measuring)
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger (or use paste from a tube)
1 teaspoon lemon grass stalks, smashed & minced (or use paste from a tube)
grated zest of 1 lime
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon fresh-ground pepper
1 teaspoon Sriracha or other hot sauce (or hot chili flakes)
Chili Glaze  (see below)
4 – 5 green onions, trimmed & cut into long slivers or rounds (white & green parts)
1 lime, cut in wedges to serve alongside

For the chicken:
1.   Rinse the chicken pieces, pat dry and place in a large non-metallic bowl or large ziploc bag. Mix together the coconut milk, ginger, lemon grass, lime zest and juice, pepper and hot sauce or chili flakes. Pour the coconut milk blend over the chicken parts and turn to coat all surfaces. Cover or seal airtight and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight.
2.   Remove the chicken from its container, reserving marinade to use while grilling. (Nuke the reserved marinade in the microwave or bring it to a boil on the stovetop if you worry about contamination from raw poultry.) Spread the chicken pieces flat and lay on a preheated, lightly oiled grill pan over medium-high heat or on an oiled barbecue grill. Cook, turning often, until the meat is no longer pink in the center (about 10-12 minutes), basting often with the reserved marinade to keep moist. Go ahead, use it all.
3.   Remove the cooked chicken pieces to a warm serving platter and pour the warm chili glaze over each piece. Garnish with green onions and serve with lime wedges.

Chili Glaze:
¾ cup sweetened rice vinegar
3 tablespoons Ponzu (or soy sauce)
1 teaspoon Sriracha or other hot sauce (or hot chili flakes)
2 tablespoons lime juice

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until the mixture thickens slightly and is reduced to ½ cup, about 10 minutes. Watch the pan and adjust heat as necessary so the glaze doesn’t boil over or reduce to a sticky, burnt-caramel sludge. (You’ll thank me for this warning.)
Use the glaze while it’s warm. If preparing ahead of time, reheat before using.


  1. I made this for the SRC and we really loved the coconut marinated chicken. I've tried to add it to the link up and it isn't letting me but hopefully it'll get sorted out later today.

    1. Delighted that you loved the chicken - it's quickly become one of our favorites.


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