Curried chicken and coconut rice casserole with lime-yogurt sauce recipe

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Classic chicken and rice is always a favorite, but we wanted to develop a version of this dish with a bit more pizzazz. To liven things up, we looked to the warm, complex flavors associated with Indian curries. We built a flavorful poaching liquid chicken broth, onion, curry powder, and minced garlic and used it to gently cook the chicken through, infusing the meat with flavor. We then removed the chicken and added our rice and coconut milk. While the rice cooked, we shredded the chicken into bite-size pieces. Tasters liked a combination of cauliflower florets and sweet red bell peppers (cut into small pieces so they would tenderize when baked). Once the casserole was baked, we decided to add a few simple accompaniments to give the dish more of the complex flavor we were looking for. We whisked up a light and tangy yogurt sauce seasoned with tart lime zest and juice and cilantro. A sprinkle of scallions provided a fresh, savory bite, and toasted almonds provided a crunchy contrast to the tender rice. We prefer to use whole-milk yogurt in this recipe; however, low-fat or nonfat yogurt will also work.

  • Yield: 8 Servings
  • Preparation Time: 1 Hour 45 Minutes


  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro or mint
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest plus 1 tablespoon juice
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2½ cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
  • 1½ cups long-grain white rice
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • ½ head cauliflower (1 pound), cored and cut into ½-inch florets (3 cups)
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • ⅓ cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 2 scallions, sliced thin
How to Make It
  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine yogurt, cilantro, lime zest and juice, and ¼ teaspoon salt in bowl; set aside. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and 1½ teaspoons salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in curry powder, garlic, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Whisk in broth and water.
  2. Add chicken and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until chicken registers 160 degrees, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer chicken to cutting board.
  3. Stir rice and coconut milk into pot with broth, cover, and cook, stirring often, until rice has absorbed much of liquid and is just tender, 15 to 20 minutes. When chicken is cool enough to handle, shred into bite-size pieces using 2 forks. Off heat, stir in shredded chicken and any accumulated juices, cauliflower florets, and bell pepper. Pour mixture into 13 by 9-inch baking dish.
  4. Bake until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, 20 to 30 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking. Fluff rice with fork and sprinkle with almonds and scallions. Serve with yogurt sauce.

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