Coconut Chicken and Rice

Coconut Chicken and Rice

Coconut Chicken and Rice is a dump-it-and-forget-it kind of meal! Toss uncooked rice and veggies in a pan and be amazed as they get cooked to perfection in creamy coconut milk broth. Top the coconut rice and veggies with rotisserie chicken and a coconut-cilantro sauce– and enjoy!

Overhead image of the Coconut Chicken and Rice

Overhead image of the Coconut Chicken and Rice

This Coconut Chicken and Rice is part of our Back-To-School Lifesavers — a series of recipes that are intended to have little (or no) veggie chopping, minimal prep time, around 10 ingredients or less (not including pantry staples), and use kid-friendly ingredients. Click here to see all the recipes in the series!

Coconut Chicken and Rice

This recipe took a ridiculous amount of trial and error; while I’d usually throw in the towel and pivot the idea, I was determined to make this work and couldn’t be more excited with the results.

Talk about a life-saver meal — we’re putting everything into ONE dish, sliding it into the oven, and forgetting about it! Yes, there is a sauce involved, but I promise it is so simple! The sauce is only five ingredients and uses two ingredients from the actual meal, so you’ve already got ’em out! You could even make the sauce ahead of time, which, come dinner time, would make the actual hands-on time for this recipe 10 minutes or less!

Ingredient shot-- image of all the ingredients used in this dish

Ingredient shot-- image of all the ingredients used in this dish

Coconut Chicken and Rice Ingredients

We’ll highlight a few of the ingredient short-cuts below, but in this section, we’ll discuss important ingredients for this dish.

  • Basmati rice. This is non-negotiable in this recipe! We tested with all different kinds of rice and none worked out very nicely except for basmati rice. If you don’t have this particular variety of rice I wouldn’t recommend making this recipe, it won’t work out very well. Truth!
  • Coconut milk. It can be overwhelming to navigate the many coconut milk choices in the grocery store. Look for shelf-stable, not refrigerated, cans of coconut milk. You’ll find canned coconut milk on the international aisle, with Latin or Asian products. I recommend Imperial Kitchen® since it typically has a nice separation of thick coconut milk at the top which we’ll skim off and use in the sauce. Be sure to use full-fat coconut milk for the best flavor and thickness. Lite coconut milk won’t thicken and give you the rich, full flavor that regular coconut milk will. Cream of coconut is far too sweet and coconut cream tends to be too thick (and overpoweringly coconut flavored) for this recipe.
  • Chicken stock. A high-quality, flavorful stock adds loads of flavor and allows us to cut down on spices or other additions. We highly recommend Swanson’s® chicken stock in this recipe.
  • Soy sauce. We like using Kikkoman’s® regular soy sauce (not lite/low-sodium or dark) in this recipe. Lite soy sauce doesn’t offer enough seasoning (saltiness) and dark soy sauce will be too intense of a flavor. 

Process shots-- images of the rice, veggies, garlic, ginger, coconut milk, and chicken stock being added to the pan and it all being baked

Process shots-- images of the rice, veggies, garlic, ginger, coconut milk, and chicken stock being added to the pan and it all being baked

SHORTCUTS

Shortcut Ideas

Here are the main shortcuts we use in this Coconut Chicken and Rice recipe.

  • There are two options for quick garlic and ginger. We love Dorot® cubes, which have crushed garlic and crushed ginger in them. You can keep them handy in the freezer and pop them into this (and other) recipes when needed. (Check if your local store carries them; they’re typically found with frozen veggies in the grocery store.) Another option is to use refrigerated garlic paste and refrigerated minced garlic. And if you’re all about fresh, simply grate fresh ginger and garlic with a microplane right into the casserole dish — no need to saute first.
  • Rotisserie chicken. Pre-cooked and seasoned chicken is a total time saver on its own, but to save even more time on the chicken, you can purchase rotisserie chicken meat already pulled from the bones and shredded or diced — a lot of grocery stores sell this conveniently prepared chicken. It’s a total lifesaver and game changer for busy cooks!
  • Frozen veggies. Instead of chopping veggies for this quick coconut rice dish, we use pre-chopped and frozen produce — frozen corn and edamame. Admittedly corn is a little bit of a strange ingredient in this dish, but when we tried the coconut chicken and rice without it, it was missed.

Process shots of Coconut Chicken and Rice-- images of the chicken, lime, and zest being added and it all being mixed together and finally the sauce being blend together

Process shots of Coconut Chicken and Rice-- images of the chicken, lime, and zest being added and it all being mixed together and finally the sauce being blend together

Coconut Chicken and Rice Sauce Tips

  • Don’t shake the can of coconut milk to combine (like most recipes call for) since we’ll remove the thickened milk at the top of the can to use in the sauce. If there is no cream separated from the liquid in your can, it’s okay; the sauce will just be a little less thick. 
  • Use fresh cilantro — stems and leaves. Twist off about half of a large bunch of cilantro and loosely pack in a 1/2 cup measuring cup to get the amount of cilantro needed in this sauce.
  • Don’t over blend. This sauce can go from perfect to chunky if the coconut milk is over-blended. As soon as the cilantro is broken down and ingredients are emulsified, stop blending.
  • Taste and adjust. The sauce is tangy and a bit sweet. Add a touch of sugar or honey if the sauce is too tangy for your liking and a pinch of salt to cut down on the sweetness.

Overhead image of a plate of the Coconut Chicken and Rice

Overhead image of a plate of the Coconut Chicken and Rice

Coconut Chicken and Rice Tips

  • Don’t rush the process. The bake time is long on this dish, but it’s all pretty hands-off. Don’t try to rush the process; you may end up with unevenly cooked or mushy rice.
  • Rice needs to rest. Just like cooking rice in a pot on the stovetop, it needs time to stand and steam. This keeps it from getting mushy. This recipe is no different — allow time for the rice to rest and become fully tender. This is the perfect time to warm the chicken.

Overhead image of the dish showing off the sauce on top

Overhead image of the dish showing off the sauce on top

QUICK TIP

This Coconut Chicken and Rice is supposed to be a quick, life-saver recipe, but if you have an extra minute, we highly recommend making this Asian Cucumber Salad — it makes the BEST side/topping!

More recipes using coconut milk

Coconut Chicken and Rice

Coconut Chicken and Rice is a dump it and forget about it kind of meal! Throw uncooked rice and veggies in a pan and be amazed as they get cooked to perfection in creamy coconut milk broth. Top the coconut rice & veggies with rotisserie chicken and a coconut-cilantro sauce and enjoy!

Coconut Chicken and Rice

Coconut Chicken and Rice is a dump it and forget about it kind of meal! Throw uncooked rice and veggies in a pan and be amazed as they get cooked to perfection in creamy coconut milk broth. Top the coconut rice & veggies with rotisserie chicken and a coconut-cilantro sauce and enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 can (13.66 oz., 400mL) coconut milk separated Note 1
  • 1-1/2 cups (316g) UNCOOKED basmati rice (no other types of rice work!) Note 2
  • 1-1/3 cups (330g) chicken stock Note 3
  • 2 tablespoons (32g) regular (not lite) soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, separated
  • 2 teaspoons each: minced garlic & ginger paste Note 4
  • 1 pkg (12 oz. 340g) frozen edamame
  • 1 cup (137g) frozen corn
  • 2-1/2 cups (290g) diced rotisserie chicken
  • 1/2 cup (8g) loosely packed cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon (9g) jalapeno Note 5
  • 3 tablespoons (49g) fresh lime juice + 1 tsp zest ~2 limes
  • Optional toppings: thinly sliced Persian cucumber, ripe avocado, additional cilantro &/or lime wedges

Instructions

  • PREP: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Very generously spray a glass or ceramic (not metal) 9×13-inch pan. Without shaking, open the can of coconut milk and remove 1/3 cup of the coconut milk solids and put into a small blender or food processor. Pour the remaining coconut milk into the prepared 9×13-inch pan.

  • BAKE: Right into the pan with the coconut milk, add the uncooked basmati rice, chicken stock, soy sauce, 1 tablespoon olive oil, ginger & garlic, salt to taste (I add 1/2 teaspoon) entire package of un-thawed edamame, and unthawed frozen corn. Stir with a wooden spoon until ingredients are incorporated. Spread in one even layer and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, remove the foil and bake for 15 more minutes.

  • SAUCE: Meanwhile, shred/chip chicken into small pieces and prepare the sauce by blending together the 1/3 cup coconut milk, remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 cup cilantro, 1 tablespoon jalapeno, 3 tablespoons lime juice + 1 teaspoon zest, and salt to taste (I add 1/4 teaspoon). Blend until JUST combined and cilantro is broken down (don’t over blend) and place in the fridge until ready to use.

  • ADD CHICKEN: Once dish has baked for 15 minutes without the foil, remove from the oven. Don’t stir. Sprinkle the chicken over top of everything and then drizzle 2 tablespoons lime juice and 1 teaspoon zest over everything. Cover dish again with foil. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes.

  • ENJOY: After 10 minutes, gently mix everything together and lightly fluff rice with a fork. Serve on plates and generously drizzle sauce over everything on individual plates.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: I recommend Imperial Kitchen’s coconut milk. Be sure to not shake it up to combine — we want to pull out the cream for the sauce. If there is no separated cream from liquid in your can, it’s okay, the sauce will just be a little less thick. 
Note 2: We tested this recipe with all different kinds of rice and the only one we found success with is basmati rice. Other grains of rice gave very inconsistent results — ranging from very mushy to unevenly cooked (some hard grains/some mushy)
Note 3: Chicken stock is very important to flavor — use a full bodied (not low sodium) stock. We love Swanson’s stock best.
Note 4: OR use fresh ginger and garlic; simply grate (with a microplane) ginger root and individual garlic cloves into the dish — no other preparation necessary.
Note 5: Coarsely chop a jalapeno without seeds or ribs and measure to get 1 tablespoon.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 418kcal | Carbohydrates: 27.9g | Protein: 27.1g | Fat: 23.4g | Cholesterol: 45.3mg | Sodium: 273.5mg | Fiber: 4.1g | Sugar: 4.6g

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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