Anni’s Fragrant Coconut Chicken

My godmother and I shared a wonderful love of cooking and gathering in the kitchen. We’d chat about life and love while we chopped this, and sautéed that, bonding over our love of good food and hosting the perfect dinner party.

Whether she was crumbing ten kilos of chicken, filling a thousand profiteroles or baking twenty pumpkin pies, I was never far from her side, trying to let her wonderful kitchen spirit spill over to me so that I could be just that little bit more like her. This month I remember her fondly with one of her beautifully aromatic dishes that, when eaten, feels like a big warm hug.


1 Spanish onion, diced

½ bunch shallots, sliced (white part only, save green tops for the green sauce)

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

Splash of peanut oil

4 tablespoons Laksa paste (NB: each brand of laksa paste varies greatly, so please add this to taste)

1kg of chicken mince

400ml tin of coconut milk

Coconut flakes, toasted, to serve

Zest of 1 lime

Green Sauce:

1 bunch mint, leaves chopped

1 bunch coriander, leaves and stem chopped

Chopped green shallot tops (leftover from above)

6 tablespoons of lime juice (approx. 2 limes)

4 tablespoons fish sauce

  1. Sauté onion, garlic and shallots in a splash of peanut oil until soft and lightly golden.
  2. Add laksa paste and stir until fragrant.
  3. Add chicken mince to the pan and fry until cooked through, using a spatula to break up the meat if needed.
  4. Stir in the coconut milk and simmer until warm and aromatic.
  5. For the green sauce: Mix all ingredients well in a jug and add to the chicken just before serving.
  6. Serve on a bed of jasmine rice and top with toasted coconut flakes and lime zest.

Words and photos by Jada Bennett-Cross