Coconut chicken with kimchi couscous and avocado

What is kimchi, I hear a few of you ask? It’s a tangy fermented cabbage side dish, and while popular in Korea, it’s slowly nudging its way into our appetites. This recipe uses kimchi paste rather than the fully on crunchy cabbage.

It packs a punch – but this is smoothed out by the tender coconut chicken and avocado. If you look beyond the hipster association, the avocado plays such a big part in this. It goes well with chicken and with spicy food, so this is an essential ingredient.

This was the first time I’ve poached chicken in coconut milk; I was inspired by a recipe I found in Donna Hay’s book Life in Balance which she serves cold with a salad. The milk itself doesn’t become a sauce, instead it’s just a way to cook the chicken that gives it a very subtle coconut undertone.

Serves 2

3 chicken breasts
400ml coconut milk (1 tin)
200g wholewheat couscous
200ml boiling water
2 teaspoons kimchi paste
1 chicken stock cube
1 handful of Thai basil, chopped finely
1 large avocado, sliced
3 spring onions
A sprinkling of black onion seeds
A sprinkling of sesame seeds

  1. Pour the coconut milk into a frying pan and place on a very low heat. Season the chicken and add to the pan. Bring to just below a simmer
  2. After 12 minutes, turn the chicken over and cook for another 12 minutes
  3. Once the chicken is cooked all the way through, leave aside while you prepare the couscous
  4. Dissolve the chicken stock cube in the boiling water before pouring over couscous in a bowl. Add the kimchi paste and mix well. Leave for 5 minutes until all the water has been absorbed
  5. Add the Thai basil to the couscous and using a fork, fluff the couscous up to loosen it before plating up
  6. Slice the chicken and place on top of the couscous before adding the avocado
  7. Sprinkle over the spring onions, sesame and black onion seeds, and enjoy!

Top tips

  • Be sure to use Thai basil instead of your average basil. Thai basil is less perfumey and tastes like a combination of basil and fennel – it works really well with both the couscous and chicken
  • Slice the avocado the second you’re ready to serve. It’ll discolour if exposed to air for too long – usually I sprinkle some lemon juice over the top, but lemon will just confuse the tastes of the dish.

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