Curried Chicken with Pineapple, Cucumber, and Coconut

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Curry and coconut, star anise and saffron—here is a recipe that demonstrates the powerful union of Caribbean and Asian food so often found in New World cuisine. The coconut milk’s richness inclines me toward a simple starch accompament. I often serve it with basic white rice

NotesRecommended wine: An off-dry Riesling will stand up to the spices and heat of this dish.


Cooking Methodbraising


Total Timeunder 2 hours

OccasionCasual Dinner Party

Recipe Coursemain course


Taste and Texturecreamy, fruity, hot & spicy, savory, spiced


  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • One 4-pound fryer chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 2 ounces smoky bacon, cut into medium dice
  • 3½ tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 Scotch bonnet chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Madras curry powder
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 star anise
  • A pinch of saffron threads
  • 1 cup Chicken Stock
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1 bay leaf, broken in half
  • 1½ cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 1 European cucumber, peeled, cut lengthwise in half, seeded, and cut into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1½ cups ½-inch pieces fresh pineapple (golden or regular)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

  2. If you are making the seasoned flour, simply mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Dust the chicken with the flour, shaking off any excess. Reserve.

  3. In a large skillet, cook the bacon in the canola oil over medium heat, until it has rendered some of its fat. Add the chicken in batches, skin side down, and sear, 2 minutes per side, turning once, until golden on all sides. Transfer the chicken to a roasting pan; set the skillet aside. Bake the chicken for 25 to 35 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, make the curry sauce: Set the skillet you seared the chicken in over mediumhigh heat and add the garlic, Scotch bonnet, and red onion. Stir well to coat and cook until caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add the curry powder, stir well, and cook for 30 seconds.

  5. Add the orange juice, star anise, and saffron and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, as the juice reduces by half.

  6. Add the chicken stock and stir, then add the vanilla bean, bay leaf, and coconut milk and stir. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes until the sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.

  7. While the sauce is simmering, put the cucumber in a colander and toss with the salt. Let stand for 20 minutes, stirring now and then to distribute the salt. (The salt will pull excess water out of the cucumber.) Rinse the cucumber well under cold running water and drain. Blot with paper towels.

  8. Pass the curry sauce through a fine-mesh strainer into a smaller skillet. Add the tomatoes and heat through. Keep warm over very low heat.

  9. To serve, put 2 pieces of chicken on each plate. Spoon the curry sauce over and scatter the cucumber and pineapple over the top.

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