Sri Lankan coconut crusted chicken

Serves: 4
Course: Main Course
Cooking Time: 0 hr 10 mins


  •  6 chicken breasts, halved lengthwise
  • 100ml buttermilk
  • 2tsp chilli powder
  • 1tsp ground ginger
  • 2tsp ground coriander
  • 2tsp curry powder
  • 200g rice flour
  • 3 eggs beaten
  • 200g desiccated coconut
  • 100g ground almonds
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 red chillies, deseeded
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 thumb- sized piece of ginger
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander
  • 2tbsp tamarind paste
  • 2tbsp soy sauce
  • 2tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 100ml coconut milk
  • 150ml vegetable oil for frying

1. To make the chicken brine, put the buttermilk, chilli powder, ginger, coriander and curry powder in a deep dish or plastic container and whisk until everything is evenly incorporated.

2. Add the chicken to the brine mixture and marinate for at least two hours - the longer the better, overnight in the fridge is best.

3. Set up three bowls – filling one with the rice flour, one for eggs and the last for desiccated coconut. Add the ground almonds to the desiccated coconut and season with salt and pepper.

4. Carefully remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry. Dredge the chicken, one piece at a time, first in the flour, then the egg and finally the coconut crumb.

5. Place onto a plate until ready for frying.

6. Make the sauce by placing the chillies, garlic, ginger, coriander, tamarind, soy, sesame oil and coconut milk into a blender. Blitz on high until the sauce is smooth. Set aside.

7. Put the vegetable oil in a deep frying pan and heat on high for five minutes until the oil is hot enough for frying.

8. Shallow fry two chicken breasts at a time. Fry on either side for three to five minutes, carefully turning using tongs. Remove from the oil when the coating has turned golden brown and the chicken is cooked through. Place on a plate lined with kitchen paper.

9. Once all the chicken is cooked, garnish with more desiccated coconut and toasted sesame seeds and serve immediately with the Sri Lankan sauce.

Jess Murphy

Jess Murphy

Jess Murphy, a contributor to The Irish Times, is a Kiwi chef living on the west coast of Ireland