Colombian Coconut chicken

Is a typical Colombian recipe that has its origins in the Colombian Caribbean, specifically in Cartagena de Indias, a Unesco World Heritage site.


  • 1 lb chicken (breast or thighs)
  • 1 cup tomato puree (or crushed tomatoes)
  • ½ red bell pepper , diced
  • 1 large onion , diced
  • 2 cloves garlic , crushed
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • ½ vanilla bean (or ½ teaspoon vanilla extract)
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds , ground
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • A few thread of saffron , diluted in 2 tablespoons of hot water
  • Cilantro (for garnishing)
  • Olive oil


  • White rice
  • Fried plantains


  • Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Place the chicken and cook for a few minutes or until golden brown on all sides.
  • Remove chicken from pan and set aside.
  • Add onions, garlic and red pepper to the pan.
  • Cook, stirring occasionally for a few minutes.
  • Add tomatoes, coconut milk, cumin, mustard seeds and saffron and cook, stirring constantly for 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Return chicken to the pan.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, add vanilla, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until chicken is tender.
  • Add salt and pepper.
  • Stir in chopped cilantro and serve hot with white rice and/or fried plantains.