Chicken with Coconut and Sesame Sauce

Chicken with coconut and sesame sauce

This easy and delicious dish has a slightly Asian flavour but it’s not overwhelming. It uses coconut milk, sesame oil and lemon juice to make a thick sauce that’s a wonderful base for the other ingredients.

I’ve used chicken and sugar snap peas here, but you could equally well do a completely veggie version, and use something like baby marrow, spinach, sweet potato, butternut, carrot or a mixture of just about any other veggies. I’m not sure about beef, but I can imagine that pieces of pork with veggies would also work really well.

Portion-wise, if you’re using chicken or pork, aim for about 50 – 100g of meat per person, depending on how many veggies you’re adding. The sugar snap peas are very light, but if you were using more carb-heavy veggies like sweet potato or butternut, you could get away with less meat (or none at all). The quantities here serve two, with a chicken breast per person, and can easily be halved, doubled or tripled as need be.

The fiddliest bit is peeling and chopping up the orange, but don’t let that put you off – it really doesn’t take long. If you want to fiddle a bit further, you can remove the membranes around each segment as well, before you chop it up into chunks. I usually don’t bother with that myself though.

I’ve served the chicken and sauce on cauli-broc rice here, which is very paleo/banting, and has the added bonus of all the extra nutrients that the cauliflower and broccoli provide.

If that doesn’t appeal (I personally think it’s delicious, but you might disagree), you could equally well serve it on normal white, brown, basmati or jasmine rice, pasta or even on mashed potato for a more substantial meal. If you do, you’ll want to put the rice/pasta/potatoes on first, to cook while you’re preparing the rest – just remember to keep half an eye on it.

Another great thing about this dish is that once you’ve tried the basic recipe, you can vary it to your heart’s content. Want a more Asian taste? Add more sesame oil and maybe some ginger and crushed lime leaves. Want a slightly more tangy taste? Use Greek yoghurt instead of coconut milk, etc, etc. Have fun playing with it to find your favourite variations!

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  • 1 orange
  • 2t sesame oil
  • 100 – 150g sugar snap peas, tops and tails removed
  • 1 small clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • ½ red onion, peeled and sliced
  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into pieces
  • ¾ – 1c coconut milk (to make your own, free of preservatives and any other junk, see here)
  • 2t lemon juice
  • Pinch salt and pepper
  • Pinch sugar
  • Chopped mint (optional)

For the cauli-broc rice:

  • ¼ head cauliflower
  • ¼ head broccoli
  • 1T butter or olive oil
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Salt


Start by preparing all your ingredients for the chicken dish. For the orange, use a sharp knife to peel it, removing all the pith (the white part under the skin). Halve it lengthwise, then slice it across into thin slices. If it ends up more chunky, that’s fine.

Prepared ingredients

If you’re making cauli-broc rice, prepare it now. Wash the cauliflower and broccoli (this picture shows only broccoli), and cut it up into pieces small enough to fit in your grinder/blender. Beware, it grows! So if you’re using a small grinder like mine, only fill it half-way and rather do it in batches.

Broccoli ready to blitz

Blitz for literally a few seconds until you have approximately rice-sized pieces. Be careful not to go too far or you’ll end up with mush.

Blitzed into rice

In a pan, heat the sesame oil on medium heat.

Heat sesame oil

Add the sugar snap peas in a single layer.

Sugar snap peas cooking

Cook until just browned – they should still be crunchy, which takes only about 2 to 3 minutes. Then remove from the pan and place in a bowl.

Just browned sugar snap peas

Set cooked peas aside

Add the garlic, onion and chicken pieces to the pan.

Add chicken, onion and garlic to pan

Cook, stirring often, until the chicken pieces are cooked through (cut one in half to check).

Half-cooked chicken

Cooked chicken

While the chicken is cooking, use a separate pan to cook the cauli-broc rice. Melt the butter then add the cauliflower and broccoli.

Melt butter

Add cauli-broc rice to pan

Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring now and then, until the veg is tender but not soft and mushy. Squeeze lemon juice and sprinkle salt over it, mixing well.

Add lemon juice to cooked cauli-broc

Set the cauli-broc rice aside – it doesn’t matter if it cools a bit as you’ll be putting hot sauce on top of it.

To the pan with the cooked chicken, add the coconut milk, lemon juice and sugar.

Add coconut milk, sugar and lemon juice

Cook over low heat, stirring often, until the dressing is thickened – about 5 minutes.

Cooking with coconut milk

Coconut milk starting to thicken

Now add the orange slices and cooked sugar snap peas into the pan to just warm through, and taste to see how much salt and pepper to add.

Add orange and sugar snap peas

Look at those beautiful colours!

Mix it all up

Spread your cauli-broc rice out on a serving plate, or individual plates. Place the chicken and sauce in the middle, then sprinkle with chopped mint if you like. Serve immediately and enjoy!


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© Alexandra Lawrence and Inspired Nourishment, 2015



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