cooking with essential oils
Essential Oils

Cooking with Essential Oils | Coconut Chicken | Turmeric and Lemongrass

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Coconut Chicken | Turmeric and Lemongrass


I love this dish! It sounds really fancy and grown-up, but it’s super easy to make and absolutely delicious! It’s also a great way to feel more travelled and helps kick this cabin fever everyone at my house has had (it’s been raining a lot. Super muddy outside). It’s Spring though and the time of year for cool showers and pollen, and while the kiddos play I may seize the opportunity to set the table out on the back covered porch so we can in the clean air while eating this amazing chicken.

Here’s what you’ll need to follow along:


  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 chicken legs, drumsticks and thighs separated
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves (optional)
  • 1 3-inch cinnamon stick
  • 2 drops of cardamom oil (found here)
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 1 15-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon coconut sugar or light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • Chopped cilantro and chives (for serving)


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  • Remove tough outer layers from lemongrass. Finely grate bottom third of 1 stalk and set aside; discard the rest of the stalk. Trim and discard top third of remaining stalk, then bruise stalk by giving it a few whacks against a cutting board (this helps release the essential oils). Tie it in a loose knot; set aside.

  • Pulse reserved grated lemongrass with shallot, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, turmeric, and 2 Tbsp. water in a food processor, adding a splash or two of water if needed, until a paste forms.

  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Season chicken with salt and pepper and cook, skin side down, until skin is lightly browned and crisp, 8–10 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

  • Cook spice paste in same skillet, stirring, until very fragrant, about 5 minutes (it will begin to darken slightly as the water evaporates and the paste begins to fry in the fat left behind).

  • Add kaffir lime leaves (if using), cinnamon, cardamom, star anise, coconut milk, coconut sugar, and reserved knotted lemongrass to skillet. Bring to a simmer, add chicken, and cook, turning pieces occasionally and scraping bottom of skillet often, until chicken is falling-apart tender and coconut milk has broken (the fat will separate from the liquid and start to brown the chicken and other aromatics), about 1½ hours.

  • Toast shredded coconut in a dry small skillet over medium heat, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Let cool.

  • Arrange chicken on a platter and spoon any braising liquid over. Top with cilantro, chives, and toasted coconut.



Credit: This recipe was originally published by BonAppetit. Although we’ve tweaked it a bit, all credit goes to them.

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