Easy, healthy and delicious Costa Rican inspired coconut chicken stew. Made with courgettes, bell peppers and tomatoes as well as a combination of desiccated coconut and Koko dairy free milk, instead of canned coconut milk or cream, to cut down on calories.
As you know if you’ve read any of my recent posts or follow me on social media, I’m currently on a (moderate) low carb diet. And I’ve been trying to come up with interesting recipes to make meal times more exciting. Because seriously, unlike popular beliefs, dieting (or simply just eating healthy) doesn’t have to mean living off boring plain salads! 😀
And I’ve also been focussing on cooking big batch friendly foods like stews, tomato sauces and curries to save myself some food preparation time and avoid giving in to cravings. If you’re trying to lose weight and you’re not already doing this, I highly recommend it! If there’s always a batch of tasty healthy food ready to eat in the fridge, you’re much less likely to give in to cravings or find yourself cheating on your diet in an irrational moment of extreme hunger. lol
The great thing is these meals are delicious and what I would normally eat anyway. It’s by no means a dish for dieters only! It’s just a great dish that happens to be diet friendly; basically the best kind! 😉 A few tweaks where necessary are all that’s needed. Like using less oil when pan frying, substituting canned coconut milk for coconut drinking milk or simply eating less rice than I usually would along with my meals, etc.
So yeah, I’ve been really into Latin American style food lately and decided to improvise this dish based on a Costa Rican stew I had recently. It’s not an authentic dish by any stretch of the imagination, just inspired by its flavours. And it’s so yummy!
Healthy Coconut Chicken Stew Recipe:
Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 45 mins to 1 hour
Yields: 8 servings
Calories (per 315g serving): 260 | or 460 when served with a 1 cup of steamed rice
- 600g chicken breast (3-4 breasts)
- 2 onions (265g)
- 3 courgettes (410g)
- 1 red bell pepper (200g)
- 1 green bell pepper (200g)
- 55g garlic (fresh or frozen)
- 55g ginger (fresh or frozen)
- 6 salad tomatoes (490g)
- Chicken stock (I used 2 Kallo chicken stock cubes)
- 600ml water
- 2 Tbsp tomato purée
- 30g desiccated coconut
- Bay leaves (the equivalent of 2 Tbsp)
- 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 3 Tbsp lime juice (fresh or bottled)
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp dark muscovado sugar (or any sugar)
- 300ml coconut milk (I used Koko dairy free to cut down on calories)
- 1 Tbsp corn flour (optional)
- 1/2 black pepper
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- Fresh chillies
- 1 shot of rum
- Fresh coriander (to garnish)
Note: I chose to use Koko dairy free which is a coconut based drinking milk rather than canned coconut milk/cream to dramatically cut down on calories. And it has the added bonus of being fortified with vitamin D2, calcium and B12. If you’re on a diet or looking to cut down on calories, I highly recommend to do that!
But feel free to go all the way with ‘proper’ coconut milk if you prefer. It will yield a creamier texture, but also add quite a lot more calories. 😉
- Roughly chop all the vegetables and dice the chicken breasts.
- Heat up one tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat/high heat and pan fry the chicken just enough to seal the outer layer.
- Lower the heat to medium/low and add the onion, bell peppers, courgettes, garlic and ginger and pan fry until they start to soften up.
- Add the tomatoes, stock cubes, water, desiccated coconut, tomato purée, bay leaves, red wine vinegar, lime juice, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, sugar, salt and black pepper. At this point you can also add some rum for extra flavour, but I chose not to this time.
- Turn the temperature back up, cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Then lower the temperature back down to medium/low and simmer for 30-45 minutes or at least until the tomatoes have fully broken down.
- Add the coconut milk and cook for another 10-15 mins or until the sauce has mostly reduced.
- This step is entirely optional, but if you want to thicken the sauce a bit, mix 1 tablespoon of corn flour with a bit of water (just enough to form a liquid paste) and stir into the stew.
Serving suggestions: with rice, cauliflower ‘rice’ (for a truly low carb option), black beans, salad, fufu dumplings or just like that on it’s own. 🙂