This baked chicken dish is the perfect summer comfort food. It's easy to make but it feels like you've actually made an effort. The creamy rice is laced with chilli and it sort of 'hugs' the chicken as it bakes and the skin crisps, soaking up all of the coconut milk and juices along the way. If you're having a tough day and need cheering up, make this the second you get back from work and it'll do the trick.
Baked coconut chicken (serves 2, but scales easily)
Preparation time: 1 hour
Cooking time: 40-50 minutes
- 4 large chicken thighs on the bone (skin on, trust me)
- 1 tin coconut milk
- 4 birdseye chillies
- 25g grated ginger
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp ground fenugreek
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 150g rice
- 100ml water
For the spiced red onion garnish (optional, but it's tasty and will give your dinner a bit of colour):
- 1 small red onion, finely sliced
- 1 finely chopped red chilli
- 1 tsp chopped mint
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- Pop chicken thighs in a large, deep baking tray, making sure there's still lots of room around the edges.
- Mix the coconut milk, chillies, ginger and garlic together and pour around and over the chicken. Leave in the fridge for at least an hour (you could do this overnight or before you went to work in the morning, but the coconut milk works its magic surprisingly quickly, so you can still make this if you get back from work late).
- When you're ready to cook, preheat your oven to 180C/ 350F /Gas Mark 4 and let your chicken come up to room temperature. Mix up your spices in the meantime.
- Smear your spice mix all over the chicken and then cover with foil and pop in the oven for about 30 minutes.
- When the chicken is almost done add your rice to the coconut milk in the gaps around the chicken. Mix the rice and coconut milk and then add a little water if needed. You want to make sure the rice is just covered with liquid.
- Put back in the oven uncovered and let the rice cook while the chicken skins crisps. Check after about ten minutes, you might need to stir and add a little more water. The chicken won't dry out, it will be moist from the coconut milk, but you need to make sure you don't burn the rice as it cooks.
- Mix up the ingredients for your spiced red onion garnish if you're using.
- After about 20 minutes your rice should be perfectly fluffy and your chicken skin's super crispy. Serve with the red onions on top.
Photograph by Caleigh. She's an excellent recipe tester.