This moist and flavorful coconut chicken skillet recipe is spiced much like a curry; there’s cumin, coriander, turmeric and for a little kick, cayenne pepper which coats the chicken before it is pan-fried and simmered in coconut milk together with vine-ripened tomatoes, fresh red chilies and baby spinach leaves. It’s super easy to prepare and together with whole grain rice it makes a tasty and healthy mid-week meal for flexitarians and meat-eaters alike.
It’s not that often that I cook something like this. But some days, you just need to make something that will be pleasing to others. And that would be teenagers. Albeit, teenagers, that don’t mind a little spice. And that my friends, is how this coconut chicken skillet came about. Since chicken isn’t something I often cook, I owe my inspiration for this recipe to All Recipes from which it has been lightly adapted.
How to adapt this coconut chicken skillet recipe
I wouldn’t say this dish is overly spicy as the coconut milk tones it down, as do the tomatoes. Feel free to further reduce the amount of cayenne depending on your heat tolerance. And if you don’t have fresh tomatoes on hand, or can’t find any decent ones, you can substitute a drained can of diced tomatoes instead. I like baby spinach with this chicken recipe, but you could also substitute the spinach for any green you have on hand (such as kale or Swiss chard, or even try topping it with a handful of young arugula leaves). Looking for something on the milder side? Try my coconut chicken with herbs.
Spicy Coconut Chicken Skillet Curry
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 4 organic skinless boneless chicken breast halves
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 small yellow onions, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 2 fresh chili peppers, membranes and seeds removed, and thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped
- 1 x 400 ml can organic coconut milk
- 2-3 generous handfuls spinach, stemmed and coarsely chopped
In a medium bowl, mix together the cumin, coriander, turmeric and cayenne pepper. Place the chicken in the bowl, season with salt and pepper, and rub with the spice mixture until coated on all sides.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Transfer the chicken to the skillet. Sear the chicken for 6 to 8 minutes on each side (depending on size of breasts), until no longer pink in the middle and juices run clear. Transfer the chicken to a plate and cover loosely with tin foil to keep warm.
Heat the remaining olive oil in the skillet. Add the onion, ginger, chili peppers, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until onion is tender. Add the tomatoes, plus a pinch of salt and increase the heat slightly. Continue cooking for 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk. Add the chicken and simmer for 1-2 minutes, stir in spinach and simmer until wilted.
Taste sauce and season with more salt and pepper, if needed.
Serve with brown rice, pearled barley, or even pasta. Enjoy!
- Juicy, ripe tomatoes are best for this recipe. I get mine at the farmers market. If you don’t have fresh tomatoes on hand, you can substitute a drained can of diced tomatoes, instead.
- Removing the seeds and membrane will reduce but not eliminate the heat. If you like things spicy then leave the membranes in tact.
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