Caribbean Style Chicken – Cooking with the Locals

Jonathan enjoying some caribbean style chicken we cooked together with his mom.



While in Punta Uva a couple of weeks ago, we met some wonderful new friends, Jonathan and Eliza, who taught us how to make two delicious Caribbean style dishes.  The first was breadfruit, which was simple and delicious.  This caribbean style chicken dish is a bit more involved, but well worth the trouble. The caramelized sugar and coconut milk make for some wonderful flavors unlike anything I had ever tasted before.

2 coconuts for making coconut milk (or 10 cups of coconut milk)
2-3 lbs chicken
4 cloves garlic
2 small onions
2-4 tbs salt
1-2 tbs chicken bouillon
1/8 cup sugar
2-3 tbs salsa Lizano
1 bundle fresh thyme
2-3 fresh celery tops
4 Panamanian chiles
1 small red bell pepper
1/4 cup shortening or cooking oil
3 cups red beans
5 cups white rice
1 head cabbage
1 tomato
2 lemons
2 ripe plantains

Step 1: Make coconut milk
a. grate 2 coconuts, hand-massage shavings with 6-8 cups of water to extract flavor, filter out shavings and keep the milk
b. open can of coconut milk :)

Step 2: Make Chicken
a. Cut 2-3 lbs of chicken into large chunks.
b. Mix 4 cloves chopped garlic, 1 chopped small onion, 1 tsp of salt, pinch of sugar, 2-3 tbs Salsa Lizano, and fresh thyme into the chicken.
c. Heat 1/8 cup shortening or cooking oil.
d. Add 1/8 cup sugar to oil and cook until darkly caramelized.
e. Add seasoned chicken to hot, caramelized oil. Cook and stir for a couple of minutes.
f. Add chopped fresh celery tops, and 2 whole Panamanian chiles to chicken, careful not to break open chiles while stirring (or food will get very spicy). Cook for 10 minutes.
g. Add 3 cups coconut milk. Cook for 5 minutes.
h. Add chopped red bell pepper, and about 1 tbs chicken bouillon. Cover and simmer until chicken is done.

Step 3: Make rice and beans
a. Boil beans with salt and fresh thyme. (actually this should probably be the first thing you do :))
b. Heat 1/8 cup shortening or cooking oil.
c. Add 1 small chopped onion and fresh thyme. Stir and cook for a couple of minutes.
d. Add 5 cups white rice. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
e. Blend 2 cups coconut milk with 2 cups of beans. Stir this into the cooking rice.
f. Add coconut milk to completely cover rice.
g. Add 2 tbs salt. Stir.
h. Add 2 Panamanian peppers, being careful not to break them open. Cover and simmer until rice is done.

Step 4: Make Salad
a. Combine cut tomatoes with shredded cabage in a bowl.
b. Add salt and lemon juice to taste.

Step 5: Make Plantains
a. Heat cooking oil in pan on high heat.
b. Add diced ripe plantains to hot oil and cook until browned to taste.

Serve and enjoy!

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