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Colombian Coconut Braised Chicken

4 Servings

40 minutes

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Traditionally, pollo con leche de coco is made with fresh coconut milk. We found that canned coconut—both regular and light—was so rich and heavy they eclipsed the other ingredients in the braise. We opted instead to make our own coconut milk with unsweetened shredded coconut and hot water. The process took only a few minutes and yielded a light, flavorful coconut milk that worked wonderfully. If you require a shortcut, 1½ cups coconut water is an acceptable option, but the flavor will be less complex. We liked this paired with coconut rice, but plain rice is good, too.




Don't use cold water when pureeing the shredded coconut. Warm water slightly softens the shreds so they break down and release their flavor more easily.

40 minutes


  • cups unsweetened shredded coconut

  • 2

    tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil


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Dan D.
November 27, 2022
Unique family favorite
Smells amazing while cooking! One of our family favorite recipes.
Kira T.
July 25, 2022
Weeknight cooking at its best
I make this at least once a week for my family. It's easy and deliciouss!
Benjamin S.

This is an excellent recipe with impressively sharp acidity. The only tweak I made was to cut up the chicken thighs before adding them back to the pot so that we could eat the dish with a spoon over rice.

Benjamin S.

P.S. Another facet of the dish that I liked was creating the coconut milk by blending dried coconut flakes with warm water. I always keep dried coconut on hand but never thought of creating a coconut milk this way. This method might be particularly attractive technique for for people who don't have canned coconut milk on hand or otherwise don't want all the calories of the canned kind.

Kelly G.

Outstanding! The flavor of the sauce is rich with flavor but not too heavy. If you are watching your sodium intake like myself, I found that using low-sodium soy sauce and omitting the kosher salt still resulted in a perfectly seasoned dish. I sprinkled a small amount of fresh flat-leaf parsley at the end along with the lime wedge because I enjoy that flavor combo. I don't even eat meat/poultry/pork very often at all, but when I make an exception, this recipe will be at the top of the list.

Cynthia G.

This dish was super tasty and I would make it again.

Tricia S.

This is a good dish as written, but the coconut was undetectable. I was happy to skip the high fat content of canned coconut milk by making my own as instructed, but the strong turmeric, garlic, and allspice [all yummy]overpowered it. I’ll try it with stock next time and see if there is a difference.