Grilled coconut chicken with lemon basil (Ayam panggang)

Cravings for dishes cooked with coconut milk? Those smooth, creamy, coconut-y taste on your buds? Oh YUM YUM! I love dishes cooked with coconut milk! especially grilled! They are just so special! Creamy and sticky….salivating. Many said coconut milk is fatty and unhealthy. But you know what, I recon, it won’t kill once in a while :p
And when it’s cooked with turmeric (speaking from an expert point of view :p), I recon the health benefits from turmeric would outweigh the negative health effects of coconut milk.

Inspired by Rasa Malaysia again, this dish is a winner for those who loves curry-type foods.


serve 4-5
Cooking time: ~ 1 hour and 5 minutes
Preparation time: ~ 10 minutes

For the flavouring paste:

8 shallots
5 cloves of garlic
3-4 red chillies (adjust according to your taste)
2 stalks of lemongrass, pounded and cut into ~ 5 cm pieces long
8 whole kaffir lime leaves
6 unsalted macadamia nuts
2 teaspoons turmeric powder, you can use fresh turmeric root if you have it
3 1/2 teaspoons grated ginger
1 1/2 cups of unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh lemon basil (Thai basil can be used as an alternate)
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, ~2 medium sized limes
1 kg cut up chicken, I use chicken thighs pieces

Peanut oil or vegetable oil for frying
Salt to taste

Grilled coconut chicken serve over steam rice and vegetables with reduced broth at the sides


1) For the flavouring paste, place shallots, garlic, chillies, macadamia nuts, turmeric and ginger in a food processor. Pulse until a smooth paste.
2) Heat some oil for frying in any pan you like (non-stick for ease in cleaning) over medium-low heat. Saute the paste until the shallots and garlic no longer smell raw and the paste begins to separate from the oil. Saute for another 5 minutes.
3) Add lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves & basil, then saute for another 3 minutes until you can smell the lemony aroma. (It is such an amazing aroma! Trust me!)
4) Add coconut milk and salt, stir well to combine with the paste. Raise the heat slightly and let the coconut milk come to a steady, gentle simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Have a taste of the broth. It should be so YUMMY! spicy and rich. Tasting is very important so you can adjust your seasonings or salt to your likings.
5) While the broth continues to simmer and work its magic, rinse the chicken under cold running water and pat it dry. Poke the chicken flesh with a fork to aid in cooking.
6) Add the chicken to the coconut milk broth and cook in a steady simmer. Keep an eye on it and stir every 5 minutes to prevent from burning and until the chicken is 3/4th cooked. This will take about 30-40 minutes depending on the sizes of chicken. Chicken should be tender and all the way cooked but not mushy or falling off the bones. Transfer the chicken to a griller (I use grill in oven – see side notes).
7) Leave the broth on low heat to simmer to thicken the broth. It should gives a thick consistency by the time the chicken was done (grilled).
8) Grill the chicken for ~5-8 minutes each on both sides until you can the grill marks form! I use the oven grill. You can also use the outdoor BBQs grill which is even better but I don’t have one 🙁

Menu suggestions: Vegetables stir-fry & Rice

Cabbage, cut all to your likings
1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Salt & Pepper to taste
Oil for frying

1) Really easy and simple! Fry some oil, add garlic. Stir till fragrant. Add broccoli and carrots. Stir for ~3 minutes. Add cabbage and stir to mix well. Cover and let it cook for ~3 minutes or until to your likings. I like my vegies to still be slightly crunchy so I don’t usually cook it for long. Add few pinches of salt and pepper to taste 🙂
2) If you are not in the mood to stir-fry, just quickly blanch the vegies. Then add salt and pepper to season.

Side notes:

1) When grilling in oven, I often put an oven tray covered with aluminium foil in the bottom. This is to catch all the drips or sauces from the chicken. This will helps in the cleaning too.

Selamat makan!

Give that a go! It’s pretty easy! What is your favourite dish/recipe with coconut milk?

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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