Baked Chicken and Leek in Turmeric-Coconut Sauce
Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: Thai
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6 servings
  • 1 3- to 3½ chicken with the backbone trimmed off and cut into 2 bone-in breasts, 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks, and 2 wings
  • 1½ tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 cups, packed, ½-inch slices leek (from about 4 medium, only the white and light-green parts)
  • 1½ cup coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric or curry powder
  • 3-4 red Thai long chilies, jalapeño, fresno, or Serrano peppers, sliced crosswise on a slight diagonal about ¼ inch thick
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves
  1. Prick the chicken all over with a fork and rub 1 tablespoon of the fish sauce into the flesh. Cover and chill 1-2 hours.
  2. Put a rack on the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  3. Scatter the leek slices all over the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking pan.
  4. Stir together the coconut milk, the remaining ½ tablespoon of the fish sauce, and 1 teaspoon of the turmeric; pour the mixture all over the leek.
  5. Arrange the chicken, skin side up, on top (if there's any liquid at the bottom of the bowl, pour that into the pan as well). Sprinkle the remaining 1 teaspoon of the turmeric on the chicken skin. Scatter the pepper slices on top. (Pouring the coconut sauce over the chicken may seem more logical, but I don't recommend that unless you use freshly extracted coconut milk. Canned coconut milk, even a good brand, would form an unsightly white paste on top of the chicken which is the same phenomenon I've explained on page 161 of Simple Thai Food.)
  6. Bake, uncovered, until the chicken is done, the leek has become meltingly tender, and the coconut sauce has reduced somewhat and browned slightly around the edges; this should take around 40-45 minutes.
  7. Remove the pan from the oven. Tent the chicken pan with foil or large kitchen towel and leave it for 15 minutes. Scatter the cilantro on top. Serve warm with jasmine rice.
Recipe by SheSimmers at