Slow-Roast Coconut and Lemongrass Chicken


Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


    • Ready in

      1 hr 25

Appears in

My Asian Kitchen

My Asian Kitchen

By Jennifer Joyce

Published 2018

  • About

I stumbled on this gorgeous roast chicken in a buzzy food market in Kuala Lumpur where it whirled around on a rotisserie until shiny and lacquered like an old antique. The stallholder served it on top of fragrant rice with a drizzle of soy chilli sauce and cucumbers. I decided to have a stab at recreating it at home. Baby chickens work best as the meat doesn’t dry out.


  • 6 lemongrass stems, save the ends
  • 8 lime leaves, 3 finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 3 tbsp palm or soft brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander (cilantro)
  • 4 poussin (baby chickens)
  • 75 ml ( fl oz) coconut cream
  • zest 2 limes


Finely chop the inner part of the lemongrass. In a food processor or blender, make the marinade by blending the chopped lemongrass, chopped lime leaves, garlic, fish sauce, 1 tablespoon of the sugar and the coriander until it forms a fine paste.

Place the birds in a shallow baking dish or a large zip lock bag. Pour the marinade in and rub all over. Ideally leave overnight in the refrigerator, but if you only have a few hours, that’s okay too.

Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) or 170°C (325°F) fan forced. Drain the chickens and place in a roasting dish lined with foil, a cast iron frying pan or roasting dish. Stuff the leftover pieces from the lemongrass and the remaining whole lime leaves into the cavity of the birds.

Mix the coconut cream and remaining sugar with the lime zest. Microwave or heat for 1 minute to melt the sugar. Brush some over the chickens and bake for 10 minutes, and then brush more on. Keep repeating until the coconut cream has gone shiny.

Check the meat after it has roasted for 1 hour 15 minutes. When you pierce the skin near a leg, the juices should run clear. If not, give them another 15 minutes.

To make the sweet-and-hot sauce, mix all the ingredients together and set aside.

Serve the baby chickens with steamed rice and the sweet-andhot sauce to pass around.