Everyone has their favourite pantry staples and one of mine is coconut milk. I’m not sure why, but a can of coconut milk makes me feel safe. So much so that I have back-up cans, just in case. You may get a strange look from the checkout person with your abundance of cans, but you’ll be the one laughing when you’re at home, looking into the pantry and spying your coconut treasure trove. Coconut milk is seriously versatile – sweet or savoury, breakfast or dinner, it can handle it all. I especially love it in stews or braises.
What’s even tastier is when you pair coconut with miso. Miso is definitely another one of my pantry staples and my miso of choice is shiro, or white. It’s a bit milder than the other varieties you can get (yellow or red), but it adds a lot of earthy, mellow flavour to any soups, stews, or braises.
My first intro to miso, like most people I know, was that standard watered-down complimentary bowl of soup you get from a subpar Japanese restaurant. Needless to say, I wasn’t impressed with the flavour. When I did have a REAL bowl of miso soup however, I was blown away. Miso is subtle, salty, and incredibly addictive. I’ve been known to spread it on toast, mix it into dressing and have it with eggs and asparagus. This post started out as a ode to coconut milk, but I think miso is quickly taking over! How about you guys? What are your pantry/fridge staples?
Oh, by the way, this miso coconut chicken stew is best eaten with lots of white rice — I prefer Japanese koshihikari. White rice might not be the healthiest, but really, it should be your only go-to for soaking up this saucy, creamy, coconuty deliciousness.
Miso Coconut Chicken
serves 3 to 4
- 4-6 skin on boneless chicken thighs
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 large onion, diced
- 1/2 inch piece of ginger, minced, about 1 tablespoon
- 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-2 tablespoons miso paste, depending on miso salt level
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 14-oz can unsweetened coconut milk*
- sliced green onions, to garnish
- crushed red peppers, optional
- rice, quinoa, greens, bread or your favourite starch, to serve
Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat a bit of oil in a heavy bottomed pot over medium-high until hot and shimmery. Add the chicken to the pan skin side down. Brown deeply, 5-6 minutes and then transfer to a plate.
Turn the heat to medium and if there is a lot of fat that has rendered out, remove it until you have about a tablespoon of oil left. Add the onion, ginger and garlic to the pot and cook until slightly soft, 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook.
Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the water and miso, being sure to scrape up all the brown bits. When the brown bits are dissolved and the miso is smooth, add the coconut milk. Bring to a gentle simmer, add the chicken and cover. Cook until the chicken is cooked through and can be easily pulled apart with a fork, about 30-40 minutes.
Taste, season with salt and pepper if needed and enjoy with green onions and crushed red peppers (if using).
Note: If you want to make this recipe cook up even more quickly, just cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. Not only will they cook faster, but when it’s time to eat, everything is already bite-sized, which means the trip from your bowl to your mouth is that much more quick! If you do opt to go the bite-size route, reduce the simmering time down to 20 minutes.
*Make sure you’re using coconut milk and not cream.