Wednesday 19 November 2014

Feral chooks and a coconut chilli chicken dish

Did I ever tell you about the feral chooks that lived next door to us when we were children?  We lived in a poor, rural area with lots of "interesting" residents. Some were escaping the city, some were escaping the War in Europe (long before my time of course) and some were just escaping.  Our neighbourhood included many Dutch refugees who had come to Australia during and after the War.  There were also a lot of hippies, a lot of druggies, a witch's coven or 2 and apparently a fair bit of wife-swapping!  Oh, and our immediate neighbour was a convicted felon, in and out of gaol, who kept chooks in his yard. I am not sure what he did to them to make them so savage, but when we were ensconced on the outdoor loo, we would suddenly have mad chooks crashing through the door with huge claws at the ready.  It was a terrifying experience and didn't do much for your internal system.  We usually had to go down in pairs so one sibling could fend off the mad chooks with a broom.  Not sure why mum or dad didn't think this was unusual.  Happily this experience did not leave me with mixed emotions about chooks, only with recalcitrant, recidivist neighbours!  I do love a good chicken dish, and here is one that I have adapted from the winning recipe in the Sample Food Fair macadamia competition.  (sadly I didn't win, but this savoury one deserved to!)  There are 3 parts to this dish - the chicken, the rice and the sauce.  I suggest making the rice before the chicken goes into the oven to bake, as it can sit and rest awhile before the chicken comes out.
Remember that you need at least 30 minutes to marinate the chicken before baking so give yourself plenty of time for this.



4 chicken breasts (about 1.2 kg)
1 tbs olive oil
2 tbs lemon juice
1/2 cup coconut chilli sauce
1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander leaves


2 tbs butter
2 cups long grain rice
2 tsp chicken stock powder
1 tsp turmeric
1.5 tbs lemongrass paste (or a stalk of fresh lemongrass finely chopped)
1.75 cups water
1.5 cups coconut milk


1/2 cup macadamia butter
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup coconut chilli sauce


Dice the chicken into 2cm cubes  (Mr Pickings suggested I had cut them too big- the cheek!)
Place them in a bowl and stir in the olive oil, lemon juice, chilli sauce and coriander
Leave in the fridge to marinate for at least 30 minutes; 45 would be better!

yep I wear gloves to chop chicken, and I keep a separate cutting board

Just before you are going to put the chicken in the oven, start on the rice.  It takes about 20 minutes to make, and it needs to rest for 15 minutes before eating.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan
Throw in the rice and give it a good stir
Add the stock powder, turmeric and lemongrass paste
Stir everything till the rice grains are glistening and turning opaque
Pour in the water and coconut milk - the liquid should be 2cm from the top of the rice grains - you may need to adjust the liquid quantities given above
Bring it to the boil, then turn down as low as you can
Let it simmer away, covered with a lid for 15 minutes
Turn off the heat, and leave to rest for 15 minutes, covered
Do not sneak a peek says Mr Pickings!  Leave the lid alone while cooking and resting!

Mr Pickings is the rice and pasta king in our household-I leave it all to him!

Now that the chicken is beautifully marinated, you can put it into the oven at 190C for about 15 minutes

excuse the shadow of the phone folks!

So before you are going to serve, you will need to get the sauce together.  It is really quick and easy.  Grab a bowl, throw in the macadamia butter, coconut milk and chilli sauce and whisk!  Done!

throw in the ingredients and whisk 

You will now have a dish of delicious, spicy chicken, along with a nutty sauce and fluffy rice.  So put them together!

all ready to eat; bowl being held by the lovely Princess Pia neighbour extraordinaire

Add some plain yoghurt and more chopped coriander leaves; eat with gusto.
Next time I will add some roasted, chopped nuts upon serving, maybe macadamias but cashews would do nicely too. And I am thinking of adding steamed green beans to the chicken 'cos I think it needs a bit of healthy and crunchy vegetable goodness.


  1. What is coconut chilli sauce? I've never heard of it before but I'm so eager to try this dish.

    1. hi maureen
      byron bay chilli co. make a fiery coconut chilli sauce. I bought a bottle at my local Woolies. Or was it Coles? :)


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