Burmese-Inspired Chicken Braised in Coconut Milk & Turmeric with Sweet Potato

October 5, 2016

Test Kitchen-Approved

Serves: 4 to 6
Prep time: 8 hrs 20 min
Cook time: 1 hrs 20 min


For the soup:

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon dried ginger
  • 1 tablespoon dried turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil, such as grapeseed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 1-inch piece peeled ginger
  • 1 peeled shallot
  • 1 dried chile, on the hot side (I like de árbol)
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil or a neutral cooking oil, such as grapeseed
  • 1 cup cubed sweet potato
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 limes, 1 juiced and 1 quartered
  • 1 pinch salt, to taste

For the crispy shallot topping:

  • 1 peeled shallot, sliced thinly
  • 1 cup neutral cooking oil, such as grapeseed
In This Recipe


For the soup:

  1. Cut the chicken thighs into about 1-inch pieces and marinate overnight with the dried ginger, turmeric, coriander, and 1 tablespoon of neutral oil. I like the overnight marinade, but if you forget, simply toss the chicken pieces with the spices before you start cooking.
  2. In a food processor, mince the garlic, ginger, shallot, dried chile, and the roots and/or stems of the bunch of cilantro.
  3. In the bottom of a heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat, heat the coconut oil. Then add the cubed sweet potato. Fry until golden brown on at least 2 sides of each cube. Scoop out of the pan, leaving the oil, and set aside. Add the chicken pieces (a few at a time so you can brown them without having them cool the pan down) and let them begin to brown. Season with a pinch of salt. When they are mostly browned, add the minced shallot-ginger-garlic-cilantro stem mixture and let cook out a little. Add a couple tablespoons of the chicken stock and let reduce until the mixture is soft and cooked. Add the rest of the chicken stock and the reserved sweet potatoes and bring to a simmer.
  4. Meanwhile use the method below to fry the crispy shallots (this can also be done as much as a week ahead of time, as the shallots will keep in a closed container at room temperature for a week at least).
  5. Simmer the soup for about half an hour, until the chicken and sweet potatoes are close to tender. Stir in the fish sauce, lime juice, and coconut milk and bring up to a simmer. Stir in a quarter cup of cilantro leaves and taste for salt. Serve garnished with the crispy shallots, a couple of sprigs of raw cilantro, and the lime wedges

For the crispy shallot topping:

  1. In a sauté pan over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the shallots and stir frequently. As the oil continues to heat, the shallots will start to color. When they get to golden brown, scoop them out of the oil and drain on a paper towel. You want to pull them out of the oil a little before dark brown, as they'll continue to cook and crisp up on the paper towel.

More Great Recipes:
Soup|Southeast Asian|Cilantro|Coconut|Coriander|Milk/Cream|Shallot|Sweet Potato/Yam|Turmeric|Chicken|Chicken Thigh|Fry

Reviews (59) Questions (0)

59 Reviews

ashley July 8, 2018
Seriously amazing! Everyone who's eaten this at my dinner table has gone back for seconds or thirds. I especially love that this recipe is easily adapted for an AIP diet by omitting coriander and chile.
Reed May 6, 2018
Made this tonight. The most delicious curry I've ever cooked. I added some extra carrots and only 1 tbs of fish sauce. I served it with rice. The flavor is outstanding. You have to try it. Thanks Sara for sharing such a fantastic recipe.
tammy F. April 19, 2018
My favorite curry ever!!!
KLM February 3, 2018
Excellent! Prepared the recipe as written and do not find that it needs any additions/changes. It was simple to make and I will make it again...soon!
John November 9, 2017
Hardly nothing new to add after al this comments but this: I made it for the first time as component on a buffet for 40 hungry guests. And when they start to taste the complete pan of 15 liters was finished in no time, no leftovers unfortunately, but great response from all the guests and asking for the recipe or when I’ll be making it again. Which will be today!! Best recipe in a long time. And I also compared it with other Kaukswe recipes on the internet but this one i think is the best.<br />It also reminded me on the Thai dish Kow Soy which I tasted in Chiangmai. I think they are from the same origin don’t you think?<br />Thanks for sharing
JDO October 11, 2017
I wanted to note that I make a vegetarian version of this soup with cauliflower and chickpeas ("marinated" with turmeric, etc.) in lieu of chicken (and a scotch bonnet chili in the place of de arbol) that has become a regular favorite among my circle of friends. Such a wonderful recipe with room for experimentation!
Kristen G. October 8, 2017
Do you have any nutritional info on this recipe? I'm watching calories, but this sounds so amazing.
LL October 3, 2017
Made this for supper tonight. So, so delicious.
fearlessem September 8, 2017
Thank you --this was @#%#$#$ing fantastic!!! Best new (to me) recipe I've made in a long time. Hubby and I kept exclaiming with expletives as we ate. I made a few tweaks... Doubled the sweet potato, and added in a bunch of baby spinach at the end. I only used 1 Tbs of fish sauce which was enough for me. And I didn't have shallots, so I added fresh sliced green onions at the end, which were a nice fresh bite to contrast with the richness of the sauce (and I used green onions instead of shallots in the minced paste). Served it over rice and basically licked the bowl.
Beth H. April 9, 2017
So delicious! I ladled this over rice noodles and topped it with some sauteed Swiss chard. In the future, I'm going to increase the amount of sweet potatoes or use carrots and potatoes. This is a very versatile recipe.
Chris G. April 7, 2017
Sara Thanks so much for getting back to me! And really quick, to!<br />:-)<br />Chris
Chris G. April 7, 2017
Sara:<br />So, how much fresh Turmeric and Ginger root would I use instead of the dried? (would it be about double, like dried herbs vs fresh?) We have a very large S.E. Asian population here in N.W. Washington and pretty much all ingredients are available here, but so far i've never noticed dried versions of either roots around here! Just may not be looking in the right section of the H-mart! <br />(By the way, the Turmeric root would make a great natural dye source, I know it took forever to wear off my fingers the first time I peeled some root! It also has a lot more I think "better" flavor than dried powdered turmeric!)<br />Thanks, Chris <br />
Author Comment
Sara J. April 7, 2017
Yes I would probably double it since fresh is so much milder than dried. I would grate the tumeric and ginger and fry it just like the dry stuff<br />
This is wonderful! Making it for the second time in one week --this time for company. I doubled up the sweet potato, also added a small rutabaga -I had from my organic box, and several handfuls of small broccoli crowns (toward the end). <br />My oven was hot from something else, so massaged whole boneless chicken thighs with the marinade, and roasted them on a sheet pan for about 20 minutes, then cut them up when cooled.<br />While they roasted I did everything else.<br />Served on gluten free ramen noodles, YUM! Next day, the tiny bit left on top of brown rice, was a lovely lunch.<br />This is a winner!! Thank you for the recipe Sara...
Violet February 11, 2017
I don't usually leave reviews but this recipe was five stars. So flavorful and well balanced. I would recommend 2 cups sweet potatoes.
caarin January 8, 2017
YES! I used one can of light Coconut Milk - which worked wonderfully, and used a bit more sweet potato but otherwise made exactly as written and served over a bit of rice. Really nice bright flavor. I made a full recipe for just my husband and I. He went back for thirds. Thank goodness there are leftovers!! I can't wait to eat them tomorrow. (0;
Kevin F. January 3, 2017
Made a double batch of this last night and it was fantastic. While we enjoyed it as a soup, mid meal I pulled out some leftover coconut jasmine rice I had in the fridge and folded that into our bowls. Tasted amazing and was more like a SE Asian curry.
Lisa January 2, 2017
OMG, this was surprisingly delicious given the fact I do not like cocutnug based dish. I followed recipe completely except more sweet potatoes was used. I am still savoring the great taste. It was last minute decision. so I did not have time to marinate chicken cubes. But I " massaged" spices into chicken cubes. It turned out to be very tasty anyway. Thank you! It is going to be made over and over again.
Andrew E. December 31, 2016
Should you cover the pot while simmering it for 30 minutes and before adding the coconut milk, fish sauce, etc.? As I cook this, it seems like a lot of the liquid is cooking off without lid. Recipe doesn't make this clear.
Author Comment
Sara J. January 2, 2017
simmer means to just lightly boil, bubbling very gently. I don't usually lose a lot of liquid when simmering but if you are and its not that you are simmering to hard, by all means put a lid on it
Diane H. December 31, 2016
I had cooked, shredded. chicken on hand so I skipped the marinade step and sauteed the spices with the shallot mixture. The dish came together very quickly and was very flavorful. Like another reviewer suggested, I increased the sweet potato to two cups. This was a better ratio. Be sure to use Red Boat fish sauce.
Connie B. December 30, 2016
Will ground ginger and turmeric work rather than the "dried"
Author Comment
Sara J. January 2, 2017
aimi April 6, 2017
I was wondering the same thing.. How much should I use of both turmeric and ginger if I substitute with ground?