Coconut Poached Chicken with Mango and Avocado Salad

Coconut Chicken Salad, Gather and Graze

If you are open to it, food inspiration flies at you from all four corners of the globe. It enables you to explore far-flung locations in one of the most beautiful ways possible… by discovering what nourishes and brings happiness to the people who live there. To understand what warms their hearts and puts smiles on their faces. The multiculturalism that exists here in Australia is something I respect whole-heartedly and I seem to naturally find myself cooking a wide variety of cuisines because of it. My ancestors are European, yet my nearest neighbours are Pacific Islanders, Asian and New Zealanders, so it’s no wonder my home-cooking may seem a little all over the place!

Today, on ‘Australia Day’, I give thanks to the traditional custodians of this ‘Wide Brown Land’ who have loved and cared for Australia over many thousands of years… as well as holding up a glass to celebrate the wonderful country that we have become, an island nation that seems in some strange way to encompass the world.

Wide Brown Land, Gather and Graze

Wide Brown Land, Gather and Graze

Wide Brown Land, Gather and Graze

The following recipe comes from a fabulous restaurant up in Southern Queensland (on the Sunshine Coast hinterland) called ‘The Spirit House’. A taste of the tropics is always a fine thing when you feel like celebrating and the sunshine is strong and warm!

Happy Australia Day! M.xx

Coconut Poached Chicken with Mango and Avocado Salad | Gather and Graze

  • 400ml Can of Coconut Milk
  • 500g Free-Range Chicken Breasts
  • 2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Palm Sugar (or firmly packed brown sugar)
  • 1 Tablespoon Lime Juice
  • 1 Small Green Chilli
  • 1 Small Red Chilli
  • 3 Spring Onions/Shallots
  • 1 Mango (diced)
  • 1 Avocado (diced)
  • Handful Fresh Basil Leaves
  • Lettuce leaves to serve
  • Handful Toasted Shredded Coconut

In a medium saucepan, bring the coconut milk to a gentle simmer. Add the chicken breasts and allow to simmer for approximately 10 minutes until cooked through. Allow both the chicken and coconut milk to cool. Shred the chicken and be sure to reserve a ½ cup of the coconut milk cooking liquid.

Place the fish sauce and palm sugar into a mixing bowl and stir until the sugar has completely dissolved. Add the lime juice, green and red chillies and shallots. Add the ½ cup of reserved coconut milk and stir to combine. Gently fold in the shredded chicken, mango, avocado and basil leaves.

Arrange lettuce leaves on the bottom of a plate and top with the chicken salad and a scattering of the toasted coconut.

Coconut Chicken Salad, Gather and Graze

* Recipe from ‘The Spirit House’ Cookbook

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45 thoughts on “Coconut Poached Chicken with Mango and Avocado Salad

    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      That’s so lovely to hear! It’s hard to go wrong when you combine these beautiful ingredients together on a plate! Food to make you happy… 🙂

      Reply
  1. The Daily Cure

    This looks fantastic! There’s not a flavor in there I don’t love, so it stands to reason that the whole thing would be great…and how gorgeous are those radishes? Beautiful photo.

    Reply
    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      Thanks so very much – the flavours really do come together perfectly in this salad!
      Holding the little posy of radishes took me back to my childhood, when I used to bundle together a small bunch of flowers from the garden and present them to my Mum! Such a pretty colour aren’t they!?

      Reply
  2. gotasté

    Margot, you know I will love this recipe! As an Asian, I can so relate coconut with chicken. Be it curry, stew or soup, these two ingredients always make a loving pair without fail. I will certainly try out this recipe. So well created. When I was in east malaysia, I cooked chicken soup with just 2 coconut juice and some salt. It taste amazing. Warmly, Danny

    Reply
    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      They really are the perfect match aren’t they Danny!? and so versatile in the dishes they can be adapted to. I’d love to know your thoughts if you do give it a try!
      How is life going in Hong Kong? Are you finding the time to visit new and exciting places? I hope very much that you are feeling more and more settled as the days go by! 🙂

      Reply
      1. gotasté

        Will certainly let you know after I’ve tried it out. 🙂 I am getting more settled to this environment as days goes by but not the food. Other than dim sum, I find the rest of their common food too oily. But work is busy so I do not have a lot of time to cook often. Thank you for asking Margot. Always warm my heart. I love nature. Have been doing a lot of hiking to get away from the city during weekends. Oh, I’ve cooked a chicken curry over the chinese new year holidays. It’s another chicken and coconut combination. Will find time to post it soon. Warmly, Danny

        Reply
        1. Gather and Graze Post author

          I look forward to seeing this recipe Danny! 🙂
          Lovely to hear that you’re finding some ‘You’-time on the weekends to get away and do some walks! Must be very picturesque… and rather hilly, I imagine!? Perhaps you’ll post some photos one day of some of the scenery you’ve enjoyed??

          Reply
    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      They do cooking classes at the Spirit House too… which I’ve always thought would be a wonderful thing to do! Perhaps next time I’m up that way…
      Hope you guys had a fun Australia Day too! Not long ’til Waitangi Day! 🙂

      Reply
  3. jothetartqueen

    Happy Australia Day!

    I love those photos of the sculptures.. Beautiful!

    The salad sounds multicultural. Love the sound of the flavours. Sounds like a perfect blend of flavours and ingredients!

    Reply
    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      Thanks Jo, hope very much that you had a fabulous Australia Day too!
      The salad is kind of a mix of Islander and Asian flavours – perfect for cooling down over summer! It’s 38degC here today… not much fun… lots of ice-blocks being eaten and another salad for dinner!

      Reply
    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      Thanks Mary! Poaching the chicken really makes such a difference to how juicy/moist it turns out and allows extra flavours to be infused – not sure why I haven’t been poaching meat in all these years gone by…

      Reply
  4. laurasmess

    Aw, I didn’t end up doing a specific Aussie day recipe. I feel like I should have now! I love this post, everything about it from the ‘wide brown land’ pictures to the quintessentially Queensland combination of mangoes, lime and coconut. Yum!!! I ended up spending most of the day in the pool as it’s been so darn hot here recently. We saw the fireworks in the evening and ate sausages and steaks off the barbie. Happy Australia day for Sunday, thanks for sharing this gorgeous post with us! xx

    Reply
    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      Sounds like a fabulous Australia Day to me Laura! The salad is such a versatile one, it would work perfectly with some chilled cooked prawns as well and a variety of different veg. – but the flavours of the dressing make it all come together so beautifully. Thanks for your very sweet comment as always! 🙂 Margot

      Reply
    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      Thanks so much Lidia – I know it’s not really what you’re looking for to cook at this time of year in Canada, but hopefully a few months down the track you’ll be able to revisit it! 🙂

      Reply
  5. teamhay

    I am going to absolutely try this Margot as it is perfectly up my flavour preference alley. I think the warm version with noodles and veges would actually work really well for my tribe so I will let you know how that goes!!! PS Good to see your model stood still long enough for a photo!! x

    Reply
    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      Let’s compare notes dear Carol… I’m keen to put a warmed version of this dish on the table sometime this week to see how it turns out!
      So lovely to see your comment here today and look forward to catching up hopefully later this week! M.xx
      PS. Yes, quite a rarity to see the model standing with 2 feet planted on the ground/sculpture! 😉

      Reply
  6. Johnny Hepburn

    Really lovely flavours. I agree with Suzanne and yourself, so easy to turn this into a hot dish. Not that I can think of any ingredients to go with poached chicken in coconut as I’ve never had that before. I’ve been making Tom Ka Gai recently, which is supposed to have chicken in it. I’m still off meat/fish. So lots of peanuts for me. As I still haven’t found a sub.
    Too late to wish you Happy Australia Day. Hope it went well. And what a fabulous sculpture!

    Reply
    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      I’d be thinking possibly mushrooms or green beans (snow peas when in season)… julienned fresh ginger, lemongrass or fresh coriander leaves… a little chilli jam stirred through? topped with some chopped, roasted cashews or peanuts… substitute chicken for prawns or white-fleshed fish? I’m really just thinking aloud here… 🙂
      Are you thinking about remaining vegetarian for the time being? Feeling better for it? I’m not sure that I’d manage to keep my iron levels high enough if I wasn’t eating at least small portions of meat… that’s my excuse anyway… 😉
      Thanks for your Australia Day wishes – it was a fun day!

      Reply
      1. Johnny Hepburn

        Not that I’d forgotten to respond to this, but I decided to check up on ingredients that are high in iron. Both oats and barley to a lesser extent. Cashews – love ’em. Most nuts, that I’m always munchingon. Pumpkin and sesame seeds. Cocoa?! That surprised me. Green leafy veg. Most pulses/lentils. Apparently it’s better regulated if iron’s obtained from plant form. Never knew that either. There we go! And no, I’m never going to be vegetarian. Have to admit, and this galls me (sort of), energy levels for this time of year are generally much better than normal. It’s February that really gets to me. That wretched month – that also happens to contain a certain date I dislike intensely! Only ‘cos no one sends me a card.

        Reply
        1. Gather and Graze Post author

          A few things there that I definitely should be eating more of! Thanks so much for your research Johnny – I will certainly up my levels in some of these foods!
          V Day usually passes by in much the same manner here too – not a card in sight! All a bit over the top in commercialism (or has my husband subtly brainwashed me over the years to say that and not to have any expectations whatsoever?! 😉 ) Funny that when our kids were at school in the USA, there was an unwritten rule that on Valentine’s Day they would bring in a little card (usually attached to a small treat) for each and every one of their classmates! Aaargh!

          Reply
  7. Fig & Quince

    I relish the tropical flavors of this chicken salad. Sounds so yummy. Happy Australia Day Margot! You put it so beautifully: Island that encompasses the world (ps those sculptures are stunning. had not seen the likes of it before)

    Reply
    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      Thanks so much Azita! The words ‘Wide Brown Land’ are so very apt for Australia (particularly as we seem to be so often in drought), they are taken from the 2nd (but most well-known verse) of Dorothea Mackellar’s wonderful poem called ‘My Country’.

      I love a sunburnt country,
      A land of sweeping plains,
      Of ragged mountain ranges,
      Of droughts and flooding rains.
      I love her far horizons,
      I love her jewel-sea,
      Her beauty and her terror –
      The wide brown land for me!

      The rest of the poem can be read here (if you’re interested) – http://www.dorotheamackellar.com.au/archive/mycountry.htm

      Reply
  8. limeandbarley

    I recently poached a whole chicken for the first time and loved the flavour and texture – it’s such a gently way to cook. I’ll be trying chicken poached in coconut milk next – it sounds just delicious as part of the salad you describe 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      Thanks so much for your kind comment Becky! It’s only in the past year that I’ve started poaching chicken too – doesn’t it give the most moist, flavourful, tender meat!? The coconut milk gives that little extra bit of lusciousness that I’m sure would be perfect in so many other dishes too! Cheers, Margot

      Reply
    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      Ciao aj! I had to snap that shot rather quickly, before any inappropriate photo antics rendered the pictures useless for the blog! 😉
      Hope you try the salad, I think you’ll love the flavours! M.xx

      Reply
  9. Chica Andaluza

    Happy Australia Day to you and yours! I agree with what you say about the influences you have – I loved the variety of food options when I was in Australia. Gorgeous recipe – anything with mango wins my vote!

    Reply
    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      Cheers Tanya! It was a rather relaxing Australia Day, finishing with a glass or two of wine and a delicious BBQ dinner with friends.
      I hope you enjoyed your travels here in Oz and that the locals were all friendly and welcoming… do you have family or friends living here? Always makes such a difference to have that insider goss on where to go and what to do. 🙂

      Reply
  10. apuginthekitchen

    Happy Australia Day, I think coconut poached chicken sounds wonderful with the mango and avocado salad. I bet you could make this into a lovely hot dish with rice maybe. So cold here in NYC hard to think about cold food. Brrrrr…… Mango and chicken go so well together.

    Reply
    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      Thanks Suzanne, I think you’re absolutely right – this could really easily be turned into a fabulous hot dish, perfect with rice to soak up some of the coconut milk sauce and the avocado and mango just tossed through to warm at the end. If you try it before I do, please let me know how it turns out!
      Hope it starts warming up a little for you very soon in NY! It’s going to be 99degF on Wednesday here (in fact, another hot week!), so our summer days are definitely not over yet. Might have to post another cooling salad… 🙂

      Reply
  11. saucygander

    Is that Telstra Tower in the background of the sculpture photos?
    Love coconut poached chicken, but haven’t served it with mango and avocado before, it sounds like a great combination. Happy Australia Day! (and next week is Chinese New Year, 2014 seems to be flying by!)

    Reply
    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      It is indeed the Telstra Tower… the photos were taken up at the new Arboretum, after a picnic in the Himalayan Cedars. 🙂
      The flavours all come together so perfectly in this salad – lovely for a weekend lunch with friends! and tasted fab the next day too!
      Hard to believe that January has pretty much disappeared in the blink of an eye! I need to work on that seemingly impossible task of harnessing time a little better, so that there’s at least the PERCEPTION of time slowing down… Happy Chinese New Year – enjoy the festivities!

      Reply

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