Chicken in Coconut Sauce

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Average: 5 (1 vote)
Serves 4-5

Authentic Mombasa/Coastal (East African) dish...Kuku wa Kupaka...shortened to Kukupaka. Chicken cooked in spicy coconut sauce served with coconut rice and mandazi. One of the yummiest coastal dishes I know!

chicken without skin cut into 8-10 pieces
1 tsp.
garlic paste
1 tsp.
ginger paste
fresh coriander paste
(grind the coriander leaves n stems with a bit of water)
green chillies
1/2 tsp.
turmeric powder
1/2 tsp.
red chilli powder
juice of half a lemon
2 cups
heavy coconut milk
3 cups
light coconut milk
(If you're using fresh coconuts, you would need about 3-4 coconuts per chicken)
1/2 tsp.
garlic paste
salt to taste
some corn flour
2 tsp.
tamarind paste

First clean/wash your chicken then put the pieces in a pan. Add the ginger n garlic paste, salt and coriander paste. Add some water (about 1 cup) and boil on medium whilst covered until the chicken is almost tender. Drain and set aside. (you can use any leftover broth for soups or in the accompanying rice if you will be serving rice).

In a separate pan, pour the thin coconut milk, add salt, green chili, turmeric powder and garlic paste. Cook this milk on a gentle flame until it starts to thicken slightly, making sure to stir all the time so that the coconut milk doesn't 'break'. If it doesn't thicken, you can add a bit of corn flour. Immerse your chicken pieces into this mixture and let them boil together so that the chicken takes up the yummy coconut flavor and continues to cook plus the pieces will acquire a light covering of the sauce. I sometimes like to add some potatoes in this....just boil them separately in water and add them when you're adding the chicken pieces into the LIGHT coconut milk. This way they get enough time to get all the flavor.

Turn off the heat after a few minutes, now remove the chicken pieces and either grill them on a charcoal grill for about 5 minutes or use the coal smoking effect to give them a good bbq-type smokey flavor. Then return them back into the coconut sauce and set aside.

In a different smaller pan, pour the HEAVY coconut milk. Add juice of half a lemon and 2 tsp. of tamarind sauce/paste, salt, chili powder and a pinch of turmeric. Boil this on a low flame making sure to stir all the time until it thickens and cooks through. Adjust salt/lemon/chili. Now pour this thick sauce over the chicken pieces and mix together thoroughly. You can give the combination a quick simmer and you're done.

Serve with mandazi or rice...enjoy!! :))

Mandazi Recipe



Thank you for such amazing recipes,JazakAllah...
can u plz tell me for this one can we use coconut milk powder mixed with warm water??

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Yes you can.

for both light and heavy coconut milk, can we use coconut milk powder with water? by varying the amount of powder in water?

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Yes you can do that. :)

I made this and it's OH so delicious!! toooo good! :)

how can we make 1 cup coconut milk from coconut powder?

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

I think it is best to follow the instructions on the pack or can as different brands might have different instructions.

How do you know between heavy coconut milk and light coconut milk? All I saw on the grocery shelves are cans which say 'coconut milk' and doesn't say light or heavy....what do I look for?

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Normally coconut milk is sold heavy unless the can/box states otherwise. To dilute it you simply have to add warm water or milk just to thin it. :)

Asalam alaikum fauzia. Thanks a bunch for every thing. Just inquiring if it's ok to use fresh fish instead of chicken. Thanks

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, yes that is fine.

what about coconut cream? can I use that as the thick milk ?

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Yes that is fine although it may be a bit too rich, you can dilute it if it is too heavy in consistency.

Hi Fauzia,

Do we need to use yellow corn flour or just corn flour. These are the two variations so not sure which to use.

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Cornflour also known as cornstarch is usually always white in colour and has a very smooth consistency. Please make sure you are not using corn meal which is at times yellow or white and has a rough consistency.

Hi... This would be 1 kg chicken, right?
Also, if I have just one coconut milk, how much water should I add to make it light coconut milk? Should it be half and half?

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Hi, yes about 1kg to 1.5kg is fine for this recipe. Not sure what you mean by one coconut milk. One cup?

I meant one type of coconut milk only

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Oh yes, just dilute the heavy coconut milk half and half with either milk or water.

Also, when a recipe calls for tamarind paste, do you mean the pure paste, or the sweet and saucy chutney type one? I used the pure paste once, and it was extremely strong/pungent/sour.

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

The pure paste, not the chutney. Only a small amount is used so it does not turn this dish sour but you can reduce or omit it and the recipe will still be ok.