JOIN! 12 Weeks for $1

Colombian Coconut-Braised Chicken and Coconut Rice

4 Servings

40 minutes

Made This Recipe? Write a Review.
Thank you for submitting your review! A member of our team is confirming the review meets our site's Community Guidelines. It will be posted on the site shortly.

On the coast of Colombia, coconut milk is made from scratch by an arduous process of grating, mixing (with water) and pressing. The result is transformative coconut milk that lends silky texture and bright flavor to every dish it's used in. For the same results via a simpler method, we turned to the blender and shredded unsweetened coconut. After soaking the coconut in warm water for a few minutes, we blended and strained it, yielding a light, bright, smooth-bodied milk that was as good as any we tried near Cartagena. In this recipe, we used the coconut milk to braise chicken and to steam rice. Fresh tomatoes and lime contrast with the rich, velvety texture of the chicken and rice.




Don’t use cold water to puree the shredded coconut. Warm water slightly softens the shreds so they break down more easily.

40 minutes


  • cups unsweetened shredded coconut, divided

  • 2

    tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil


Pardon the interruption

You need to be a Milk Street Digital Member to see the full recipe


and get access to all of our recipes and articles online, as well as in print.

How we use your email.

Your email address is required to identify your subscription. We will use it for customer service as well as other communications from Milk Street. We will not share, or rent your email address.

Lawson D.
April 17, 2024
One of my Favorite Dishes!
This has to be one of my favorite dishes! The sauce was fantastic, and that's even with me using canned coconut milk (barbaric, I know). Make sure to really let it reduce to emphasize the flavors. For anyone like me who somehow bought cherry tomatoes without a size on the label, a pint is roughly 10-12oz according to the internet.
Brady S.
June 5, 2022
Deliciously balanced Colombian dish
This dish took me right back to Cartagena! Salty, sweet, sour and with savoury elements from the spice and garlic - it was absolutely delicious. The coconut milk processing is a bit labourious and feels slightly wasteful but I do not regret it one bit. Highly recommend.
Brent T.

This is absolutely one of my favorite recipes on this site. My wife and I gobble this down like it's going out of style!

Sara S.

Loved the coconut milk hack . I grew up in Cartagena and only learned to make the rice from scratch. Now will also try for arroz con coco "frito y titote".
Add only a half to a cup of warm water to soak the coconut pulp and press extract the " first milk". Then add the rest of the water to the pulp and repeat the extraction to obtain the necessary liquid for cooking the rice .
Cook the first milk with a Tb of sugar until caramelized releasing the oil to then use to fry the rice before adding the rest of the liquid with the salt. Some people add raisins to this version which is served with roasted meats
Love all your recipes
Thank you
Sara Duque

Mimi R.

Another trick is to use panela. Take the equivalent of 4 Tbs and brown it then add the liquid “coconut milk”

Myrna A.

Tried this today - good flavor! I cut the salt in half - i use kosher coarse salt and it always ends up too salty. Another family favorite.

Thomas M.

isnt there some way to use the "discard" coconut!? I dislike wasting food ... wondering about macaroons or ... ??? I don't think my lake turtles would eat it, but I could try LOL

Jessica G.

The flavors are so fantastic and satisfying. Definitely making this one again!

Donna W.

I loved this. I make coconut rice all the time but I have never braised in coconut milk. The flavor with the tumeric, allspice and soy sauce was just wonderful. So many more recipes to try, but this one will definately be a keeper.