(Updated in 2021)
Portuguese Baked Creamy Coconut Chicken (焗葡國雞) is one of my favorites growing up. Tender chicken and vegetables cooked in a curry like sauce with turmeric, cumin and coconut milk. Hearty and so much flavors!
Although this dish has the name “Portuguese” in it, it’s actually a dish in Macau and likely with some influence of Portuguese cuisine. Macau is a tiny city in China, and very close to Hong Kong. Just like Hong Kong, Macau was a former colony. It was under the ruling of Portugal for more than 400 years.
With the Portugal influences, some culture and food also changed. Other than this chicken dish, Portuguese egg tart is another well-known one. Because of the close relation of Hong Kong and Macau, this chicken dish actually is very popular in Hong Kong. You can find this in many Hong Kong style cafes (茶餐廳).
Tender chicken braised in a turmeric and cumin broth along with carrot, potato and bell pepper. Then, finish with coconut milk. Top with cheese and baked until golden brown. It’s not spicy at all, instead it’s aromatic, creamy, rich, and little sweet. A scoop of steamed white rice is absolutely perfect with this dish. So satisfying! Hope you will give this a try!
Portuguese Baked Creamy Coconut Chicken
- 1 pound boneless chicken thighs (skin on or skinless) (cut them into 1 ½-inch cubes)
- 2 red potatoes (peeled and cut into 1-inch dices)
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1½ tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 carrots (peeled and cut into 1-inch dices)
- 1 onion (cut into large dices)
- ½ green bell pepper (seeds removed and cut into ½-inch dices)
- ½ cup low sodium chicken broth
- ¾ cup coconut milk
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 garlic gloves (minced)
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ground black pepper
- vegetable oil
Marinade for chicken:
- 1 ½ teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon corn starch
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine or sake
- ½ teaspoon fresh ginger juice
- dash of ground white pepper
- In a medium bowl, combine the chicken and marinade together. Marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 400˚F (200˚C).
- Place the cut potatoes in a large bowl. Soak in cold tap water for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch and water together. Set aside.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Stir in the onions, and cook until they start to soften, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Toss in the chicken cubes, and cook until no longer pink. Add potatoes and carrots, and stir for a few minutes. Put in the turmeric and cumin powder. Mix well and cook until aromatic. Add the chicken broth, and cover with a lid. When the broth comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low. Cook until the potatoes are almost fork tender, about 20 minutes. Add the bell pepper half way in. Stir in the cornstarch mixture. Add the coconut milk. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for a couple more minutes to thicken slightly.
- Transfer the mixture to an ovenproof baking dish. Top with grated Parmesan cheese. Bake in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes until the top is golden brown. If you have a broiler, do that instead, about 5 minutes. Keep an close eye. Served immediately with steamed rice.
- I like to cut my chicken pieces a little bigger. As they cook, they get smaller or sometimes even break apart.
- The cheese is not a must, but it adds a nice umami flavor to the dish.