Braising and warm weather don’t need to be mutually exclusive. This braised chicken includes tropical flavors like lime and coconut to keep the dish light yet vivacious.
“She put de lime in de coconut…” I always get this song in my head whenever I combine two of my favorite flavors — rich, nutty coconut and bright, acidic lime. They pair alluringly in sweet and savory dishes alike, including this warm weather braised chicken.
While braises are often associated with fall and winter, I continue to enjoy them when temperatures rise by preparing them with lighter, seasonal flavors. In this case, I gently cook the chicken thighs in coconut milk and finish off the dish with sweet mango, vibrant herbs and bright lime. Think a more refreshing coconut curry — rather than adding many dried spices I use only fresh ginger.
Lime and coconut chicken
I’m partial to chicken thighs, but you can use any cut of chicken you prefer. Typically I leave all the drippings in the pan before braising, but to keep this dish especially light and refreshing I discard all but enough chicken fat to sauté the scallions.
- 3 pounds bone-in chicken thighs
- 3 scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
- 1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
- 1 mango, peeled and cut into roughly 2-inch strips
- 1 lime, zest and juice
- 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh mint, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil, roughly chopped
- Salt and pepper
- Canola oil
- Rice or rice noodles, for serving
- Generously salt and pepper the chicken thighs. Coat the bottom of a large, heavy-bottomed pot (such as a Dutch oven) over high heat with oil. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken and, once deeply golden, turn and brown the other side. When the second side is deeply golden, move the chicken to a plate. Pour out the fat so that just enough remains to coat the bottom of the pot. Add the scallions and saute for 2 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to low and stir in the fresh ginger. Stir in the coconut milk. Return the chicken to the pot, cover, and cook for an hour, turning the chicken after 30 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the mango, lime zest and lime juice. Stir in the rice noodles or serve over rice. Add the fresh herbs at the last minute or serve with the herbs alongside so each person can add their own herbs.