Chicken with Coconut Sauce

Updated September 29, 2016



Everyday Chinese Cooking

Published by Clarkson Potter

This image courtesy of Bruce Nimmer

Editor's Note:  Impress your Chinese-food loving friends with your very own version of this chicken recipe. This delicious and spicy dish can be a wonderful meal for someone with little time to make immediate preparations. You can actually fry the chicken twice when you have the time and then freeze the pieces ahead, for up to five months, to pull out on any occasion. There is no issue of spending a good part of a day preparing this dish, which will wow your company. You can refry the chicken in hot oil quickly, prepare the incredibly tasty coconut sauce and you can serve a chicken with coconut sauce no one will ever forget.

This is a convenient dish to prepare ahead. Since the chicken must be fried twice, you can prefry the chicken pieces and store them up to 5 months in the freezer. Thaw pieces in the refrigerator overnight and at dinnertime, you simply refry the chicken in hot oil, prepare the coconut sauce, and you’ve got a fast, delicious dinner.


Cooking MethodFrying



Total Timeunder 1 hour

Make Ahead RecipeYes

OccasionBuffet, Casual Dinner Party, Family Get-together

Recipe CourseMain Course

Dietary ConsiderationHalal, Kosher, Lactose-free, Peanut Free, Soy Free



Taste and TextureCreamy, Crisp, Meaty, Savory, Sweet


  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast
  • 1 small egg
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 3 to 4 cups vegetable oil, divided
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ¾ cup Chicken Broth
  • ¾ cup coconut milk
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 6 maraschino cherries (optional)
  • 1 lime, thinly sliced


Cut the chicken in half lengthwise and pound to flatten the thick part so the chicken is of consistent thickness. Place the chicken in a shallow dish. In a small bowl, mix together the egg, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, 1 teaspoon salt, the pepper, and the ginger. Pour the egg mixture over the chicken, turning the chicken to coat all sides. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes. Remove the chicken from the marinade; reserve the marinade. In a small bowl, mix together 4 teaspoons cornstarch and 4 teaspoons water. Set aside.

To prepare the sauce, in a small saucepan over high heat, add 1 tablespoon oil and the garlic. Cook the garlic until fragrant, 10 to 15 seconds (do not brown). Add the chicken broth, coconut milk, lime juice, sugar, and vinegar and bring to a boil. Stir in the cornstarch mixture. Cook and stir until thickened, about 10 seconds.

Heat all but 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil, 1 to 1½ inches deep, in a wok to 350°F. (If using a skillet, be sure to use a pan 4 inches deep to prevent splattering.) Mix the reserved marinade, the flour, ¼ cup water, the remaining 2 tablespoons cornstarch, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, the baking soda, and the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. One at a time, dip the chicken pieces into the batter to coat all sides. Fry the chicken pieces for about 3 minutes, or until light brown, turning 2 to 3 times. Drain on paper towels.

Increase the oil temperature to 375°F. Fry the chicken pieces again until golden brown, turning once, about 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Using a very sharp knife, cut each piece crosswise into ¾-inch pieces. Place in a single layer on a heated platter. Reheat the sauce over high heat and pour over the chicken.

Garnish the edge of the platter with the cherries, if using, and thin slices of lime.



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