This creamy almond butter sauce with coconut is bursting with flavors! Combined with the juicy chicken thighs...it's oh! so good.
This almond butter sauce is the perfect sauce for chicken, vegetables, and pasta. The pairing possibilities for this coconut cream sauce are endless.
Why you should make this recipe
It's aromatic and tasty
It comes together fairly quickly
Parts of the recipe can be made ahead of time
It pairs well with other dishes
It's a good substitute for peanut sauce
It is an easy freezer meal and would make for a brilliant gift to new moms or a sick friend.
The main ingredients for this coconut sauce are
- Chicken: skin-on chicken thigh is always my first option for sauces, whether it be bone-in or boneless. The dark meat has more fat and retains more moisture yielding a juicier protein. If you are worried about the fat content, which in my opinion isn't that much, you can always discard the skin after cooking. If your preference is chicken breast, by all means, use it. Make sure to marinate it ahead of time.
- Coconut Milk: NOT coconut cream or the coconut dairy milk in cartons found in the non-dairy section. Use the full-fat unsweetened canned milk. I swear by the Thai kitchen brand. (affiliate link)
- Almond butter: creamy smooth almond butter, preferably unsweetened. I love this MaraNatha brand. The almond butter doubles up as a thickener alongside the coconut milk.
- Tomato paste: this is what gives the almond sauce the beautiful reddish hue.
- Peppers: I used a combination of sweet peppers and green pepper. Red bell peppers are equally fine.
- Spices: cayenne, ginger, and cumin give the coconut milk sauce a distinct flavor.
How to make it
Start by making the marinade.
First season the chicken thighs with salt.
Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl, then massage all over the chicken. Cover in a bowl or ziplock bag. Allow to marinate for a few hours or overnight.
- Heat a heavy-duty pan on the stove, and sear the marinated chicken. Transfer into the oven.
- Make the sauce by sauteeing the onion, garlic, peppers, and tomato paste. Add coconut milk, almond, and more liquid. Add the chicken, then simmer until the sauce thickens. Serve over rice, noodles, quinoa, or couscous, or soak up the chicken sauce with some bread.
- Transfer the chicken into a casserole dish or baking pan before placing it in the oven if you don't have an oven-safe skillet.
- I used tomato paste to marinate the chicken to give it an extra kick. Feel free to modify the marinade as you wish, but I suggest leaving the sauce as is. I often place an "optional" wording beside an ingredient that won't alter the taste of the food if you leave it out, so keep an eye out.
- Tent the chicken loosely with aluminum foil while you prepare the sauce to avoid it from drying out.
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- Animal protein: if you are a seafood lover, use shrimp in the coconut sauce instead of chicken. Steak, fish, or tofu (for vegetarians) are great options.
- Vegetables: basically, I used what I had on hand. Feel free to add your favorite vegetables, but avoid overcooking them. Harder vegetables take longer to cook, so keep that in mind.
- Nut butter: Peanut butter sauce is a great option. Other nut butter to play around with are coconut butter (tropical overload!), cashew butter, or pumpkin butter.
- Greens: Add greens like kale, spinach, collard green, or swiss chard. Add it towards the end of cooking time to retain the nutrients and the luscious color.
Frequently Asked Questions
Strawberry cheesecake ice cream is made of heavy cream, cream cheese, graham crackers, sweeteners, and strawberries.
Yes. You can use a tablespoon of cream cheese to 8. oz per cup of whipping cream or milk.
Rhubarb is a spring vegetable. So you can find fresh produce from April till late July. However, you can find its frozen version in markets as well. It is available all around the year.
Absolutely! Freezing rhubarb is easy. Simply cut them in equal sizes, place them in a single layer on a baking tray, and flash freeze them for 4 to 6 hours. Now place them in freezer-safe bags and freeze for up to 12 months.
You can use rhubarb in every possible way. Just remember to wash the stalks to get rid of dirt. Dry them and cut them into equal sizes. Roast, cook, or bake them.
Peeling rhubarb depends on the time of the produce. Early-season produce tends to be soft, so you don't need to peel it. However, mid-season produce gets fibrous and a bit tough. As a result, you might need to peel them for maximum flavor.
PEACE & LOVE
CREAMY ALMOND BUTTER COCONUT SAUCE WITH GRILLED CHICKEN
FOR THE CHICKEN MARINATE
- 8 chicken thighs
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon cayenne
- salt and black pepper to taste
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice plus zest of one lemon
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon herb de Provence (optional)
FOR THE SAUCE
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil (any oil will do)
- 4 medium sweet peppers, sliced thinly
- 1 large green pepper, sliced thinly
- 2 cups coconut milk (from canned coconut, like Thai Kitchen)
- ¼ cup chicken stock or water (optional)
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 2-3 tablespoons almond butter, packed
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon cayenne
- salt and black pepper to taste
- Rinse and completely pat dry the chicken thighs with paper towel. Add salt and rub all over chicken
- In a small bowl, mix all the ingredients for the marinade until well combined. Pour the marinade over chicken, using your hands, rub the mix all over the chicken until well covered. Place in a zip-lock bag or cover in a bowl and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven 425°F
- Heat a large oven-safe skillet or cast iron pan over high heat. Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of olive oil or butter over the pan. Once the pan is heated up, add the thighs, skin side down, one at a time. Reduce heat to medium-high after a minute. Let cook untouched for 6 minutes or until skin is golden brown.
- Flip the thigh so the skin side is up and place in the oven. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until a thermometer registers 165-170°F. Remove the thighs from the pan and set them aside. Do not discard the fat rendered.
- Meanwhile, heat the same cast iron pan with the fat and the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the onion and fry for about a minute or until translucent. Add the garlic, ginger, and tomato paste. Stir to combine. Allow cooking for 2-3 minutes while scraping the bottom of the pan frequently to avoid burning. Add the peppers and cook for 2 minutes. Add the coconut milk, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the remaining ingredients (except water/stock) for the sauce and stir. Place the chicken in the pan one after the other to avoid splatter. Cover loosely and allow to cook for 7 minutes or until the sauce thickens. If the sauce is too thick for your liking, thin it out with chicken stock or water.
- Adjust taste and remove from heat. Serve with rice, potato, zoodles e.t.c