Chicken Stewed in Coconut Milk (Kuku Wa Nazi)

  • Serves

    serves 4


Coconut milk is used in chicken stews from Southeast Asia to Africa, from which this fragrant dish hails. The recipe was given to us by Lela Abdulaziz, a home cook in Mombasa, and we included it in Shane Mitchell's tribute to East African cooking, Kenya's Bounty (May 2010).


  • 14 cup canola oil
  • 1 12 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 green or red Thai chiles, stemmed, seeded, and minced
  • 4 plum tomatoes, cored and minced
  • 1 medium red onion, minced
  • 4 skinless bone-in chicken legs and thighs, separated
  • 14 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 (14-oz.) cans coconut milk
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups cooked rice, for serving
  • Finely chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish


Step 1

Heat the oil in a 6-qt. pot over medium-high heat. Add the turmeric, garlic, chiles, tomatoes, and onions and cook, stirring often, until the onions are caramelized, 20-25 minutes. Add chicken to pot along with lime juice and coconut milk. Bring mixture to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, stirring occasionally, until chicken is tender, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Step 2

To serve, put rice into 4 serving bowls and spoon chicken and sauce over rice. Garnish with cilantro and season with more black pepper.