May 18th, 2009


Coconut and Coriander Half Roast Chickens

It’s nearly the barbecue season or braai weather, as my family would say.

Cooking the chicken on the bone is the best way for me as the bone helps keep the delicate flesh moist and gives it that extra injection of flavour.

This dish can be cooked over the coals or in the oven. If you decide to barbecue , I would definitely recommend  that you part cook the chickens in the oven for at least 30 minutes to ensure that the skin does not burn and that you are not left with raw meat on the bones.

I have cooked these half chickens at a low temperature in the oven and not only does it ensure that the meat is moist and tender but it ensures that the marinade does not burn and become bitter.

The marinade becomes sweet as it gently caramelizes and the coconut toasts and becomes nutty.

This is a perfect Sunday recipe for me, it reminds me of a relaxing lazy day with a lovely glass of chilled rose wine under the parasol on the patio with the news paper.

I have served this coconut and coriander half-roast chickens with a creamed coconut drizzle and a large bowl of curly kale and mung bean slaw.

  • 1.5 kg whole free range chicken

Wash the chicken and dry with kitchen paper.

Cut the chicken in half through the breastbone. Flatten the two halves and remove the wing tips and slash the thigh and leg's with a sharp knife, about three or four slashes. This will allow the meat to cook all the way through and the marinade can penetrate the flesh.


  • 20g desiccated coconut
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 50g groundnut oil
  • 30g fresh coriander
  • Zest and juice of 2 limes
  • ½ tsp madras curry powder
  • 10g honey
  • 1tsp fish sauce
  • 1 clove of garlic crushed
  • 10g flaked almonds
  • Salt and Pepper

Wash the coriander and drain in a colander.

Chop the coriander and crush the garlic.

Mix all the ingredients together; it does not matter if the almonds get crushed.

Season the marinade lightly with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Rub the marinade all over and well into the chicken, use your hands.

Let the chickens rest for 1 hour before you cook them.

The marinade will penetrate the chicken.

Preheat the oven to 150°C. Place the two half chickens on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.

Roast the chicken for 1 hour.

Cooking the chicken at this low temperature ensures the meat is moist and the marinade does not burn and become bitter.

While the chicken is roasting prepare the drizzle.

Creamed Coconut Drizzle

  • 50g coconut cream
  • 140g natural yoghurt
  • 2tbs chopped fresh mint
  • 2tbs chopped fresh coriander
  • Salt and pepper

Mix all the ingredients together and season with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Let the drizzle chill in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving.

Once the chicken in ready to serve slice the chicken arrange on a serving plate and serve the drizzle on the side.

I have served this dish with Curly Kale and Mung Bean Slaw

Serves 4

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5 Comments to “Coconut and Coriander Half Roast Chickens”

  1. Marisa says:

    Have made this and it was a HUGE hit. In fact, I’m making it again tonight.

  2. jo says:

    The ingredients to this recipe makes the entire dish so exotic. I like the idea of slow roast and then finishing off on the coals. I think it gives that extra smokey flavour to the chicken as well as crisping up the edges. Delicious and love the 1st picture of the dish.

  3. them apples says:

    I’ve always roasted chicken at a fairly high temperature, say 200c, but recently I’ve been doing a lot of slow roasted pork belly and loin, in the oven for up to four or five hours and the results have been superb.

    I’ve never thought of slow roasting a chicken and then finishing it on the coals, but I can see how that would keep more of the marinade intact.

  4. Margaret says:

    This is a great summer recipe – waiting patiently for warmer weather now.

  5. Louby Lou says:

    Oooo this sounds really good! We’re having friends over for Bank Holiday weekend for a BBQ and this looks spot on… Thanks :o )

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