This recipe came about because I was in the mood to combine two of my favorite flavors, basil and coconut, but not in the mood to have it in curry form, which is how I have normally had this flavor combination (as a Thai curry dish). I was in the mood for a simple dish that essentially consisted of basil and coconut milk with chicken as my protein. So, because I couldn’t find a recipe that was exactly what I was looking for, I came up with this one. Simple, easy to make and super tasty. I have already made it once more since making it for the first time last week and I thought I would share it here in case others are having a craving like mine. :)
One of my favorite parts about the dish is that the chicken is poached right in the coconut milk. Poaching chicken is something that I have only recently started doing and I am having a lot of fun with. Of course, with this dish, it would be easy to change the protein to suit your taste. I am planning on changing this recipe up next time and using either shrimp or tofu (but if I use tofu, I would pan sauté it first before adding it to the coconut milk).
Coconut-Basil Stew with Poached Chicken (serves approx. 4)
1-2 chicken breasts, cut into chunks (you can use more chicken if you like)
1 small or medium onion, cut into thin slices
large bunch of basil, cut into ribbons (I used about 20 large leaves)
15 oz can coconut milk (I used light coconut milk)
1 tsp salt
freshly squeezed lime juice
pepper to taste
shredded, toasted coconut flakes (optional)
crushed red pepper flakes (optional, for some added heat/spice)
1. Sauté onions over medium heat until they are translucent. Add coconut milk to the onions, turn up the heat, and bring the mixture to a boil.
2. Turn heat down to medium (so there is a soft, rolling boil) and carefully add in the cubed chicken, salt and pepper and optional red pepper flakes. Cook until the chicken is no longer pink and the sauce begins to thicken, approximately 20-25 minutes. Once chicken is cooked through, turn off the heat and add in the cut basil and stir. Then add lime juice to taste.
3. Serve the stew with rice and topped with some basil and optional toasted coconut flakes. Enjoy!
This stew reheats really well so it makes for a great lunch the next day.