This succulent coconut yoghurt chicken is incredibly easy and requires only a handful of ingredients. It’s paleo, Whole30, keto and gluten-free friendly and can be served with a lovely salad, cauliflower rice or zucchini noodles.
You might have heard of yoghurt or buttermilk marinated chicken and wondered why?
Yoghurt and other fermented dairy are often used to marinate meat and poultry because they are natural tenderizers. The acidity helps to break down the tissue and protein, creating pockets in muscle structure that also allows the meat to absorb more of the flavours in the marinade, while the fat helps to keep the meat from getting tough (this is why if you’re doing a citrus or vinegar based marinade for meat, you should also add some oil). Learn more about marinating meat in yoghurt here.
I had a big tub of dairy-free coconut yoghurt in the fridge and decided to use that to marinate some chicken tenderloins. I wanted a super simple recipe so the only ingredients I added to the chicken yoghurt marinade were a bit of salt, mild curry powder and crushed garlic. That’s it! With a bit of lime drizzled over the top, you’re looking at 5 main ingredients to make this dish.
I had some desiccated coconut in the pantry, so I toasted a couple of tablespoons in a small pan to garnish the chicken (mostly for presentation). The same goes for the spring onions and coriander (cilantro). You don’t need to have those ingredients to enjoy this amazing coconut yoghurt chicken. Simply serve over cauliflower rice, zucchini noodles, a side of greens or a salad.
The cooked chicken keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days and you can also marinate and freeze the uncooked chicken for later use. Enjoy!
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This dairy-free coconut yoghurt chicken is made with a handful of ingredients and can be served with your favourite veggies sides or a salad. See notes below for coconut yoghurt alternatives.
- 150 g / 5 oz. coconut yoghurt, unsweetened (dairy-free)
- 3 heaped teaspoons mild curry powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 500 g / 1 lb chicken tenderloins (about 6 pieces, you can also use sliced chicken breast or chicken thighs)
- Cooking oil such as macadamia or coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons desiccated coconut, toasted or raw (optional)
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- A small handful of fresh coriander and chopped spring onions/scallions (optional)
Combine coconut yoghurt, curry powder and salt in a bowl. Add the chicken pieces and coat well with the marinade. Transfer the chicken and any leftover sauce to an airtight container and allow to marinate overnight or for at least 2 hours.
To cook the chicken, heat 2 tablespoons of coconut oil or macadamia oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the chicken pieces (don’t worry about brushing off the marinade) and cook for 5 minutes until golden brown on one side.
Use a spatula and slide it under the chicken, making sure to scrape the cooked marinade with it and turn over the pieces. Cook for another 3-4 minutes on the other side. If the pan is small, you might need to do the chicken in batches.
After 8-10 minutes of cooking, add the remaining marinade in the gaps between the chicken pieces and cook over high heat for about 30 seconds to a minute. The sauce will start to bubble and thicken, caramelising on the bottom. At this stage, remove from heat.
Finish the chicken by drizzling the juice of half lime over the top and sprinkling with toasted coconut and some fresh coriander and spring onions.
If you can’t get coconut yoghurt, use thickened coconut milk (coconut cream from the top of the can) and add two tablespoons of lemon or lime juice. There will be enough marinade for extra pieces of chicken.
To toast the coconut, add the raw meat to a small hot pan. Cook over medium heat for about 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. Be careful not to burn it! It should be ready when it’s light brown, caramel colour.
Nutrition per 2 chicken pieces: 400 cal, 39 g fat, 7 g carbs,2 g fibre, 4 g sugars, 38 g protein.