Baked Coconut Chicken Thighs with Noodles and Quick Pickles

published Nov 1, 2022
Freezer-Friendly Coconut Chicken Thighs Recipe

Chicken thighs baked with noodles and a full can of coconut milk, then hit with crunchy quick pickles.

Serves4

Prep45 minutes

Cook45 minutes to 55 minutes

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Coconut chicken thighs in bowl on top of noodles.
Credit: Photo: Yunhee Kim; Food Stylist: Jessie YuChen

If I’m putting meat in the freezer, I’m most likely adding it to some sort of marinade first. Having pre-marinated meats in your freezer is a great hack for an extremely easy dinner. And boneless, skinless chicken thighs work particularly great because they are a perfect blank canvas for big flavors. Plus, they don’t easily dry out in the oven.

This easy coconut marinade is spiced with cumin and coriander, with some lime juice for brightness and balance. A full can of coconut milk may seem like too much, but trust the process! Unlike many other marinated meat recipes, this calls for cooking the chicken in the marinade. It creates a deeply flavored sauce, perfect for noodles. Make a double batch and freeze half — your future self will thank you.

Credit: Photo: Yunhee Kim; Food Stylist: Jessie YuChen

If You’re Going to Make this Recipe, a Few Tips

  • Make it ahead. The marinated chicken can be frozen for up to a month. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before cooking.
  • Don’t worry if the sauce separates. It’ll come back together quickly after you pull it from the oven. All it needs is a quick stir.
  • Substitute the crunchy garnishes. Fennel, cucumber, or radish can be substituted for the carrot. Can’t find savoy cabbage? Napa cabbage works, too.

Freezer-Friendly Coconut Chicken Thighs Recipe

Chicken thighs baked with noodles and a full can of coconut milk, then hit with crunchy quick pickles.

Prep time 45 minutes

Cook time 45 minutes to 55 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the chicken and marinade:

  • 4 cloves

    garlic

  • 1 (1-inch) piece

    ginger

  • 2

    medium limes

  • 1 (about 13-ounce) can

    full-fat coconut milk

  • 3 tablespoons

    packed light brown sugar

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons

    kosher salt

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    ground cumin

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    ground coriander

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 6)

For serving:

  • 2

    medium limes

  • 1/4 cup

    water

  • 2 tablespoons

    packed light brown sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1

    medium jalapeño pepper

  • 1

    medium carrot (about 4 ounces)

  • 1/2

    medium head savoy cabbage

  • 8 ounces

    dried rice vermicelli or soba noodles

  • 1/2 bunch

    fresh mint

Instructions

  1. Prepare the following, adding each to the same large bowl as you complete it: Finely grate or chop 4 garlic cloves (about 1 tablespoon). Peel and finely grate or chop 1 (1-inch) piece ginger (about 1 tablespoon). Juice 2 medium limes until you have 1/4 cup.

  2. Add 1 (about 13-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk, 3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar, 2 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, and 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander. Whisk until the sugar and salt are dissolved.

  3. Cut 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs crosswise into 1/2-inch strips. Add to the marinade and toss to combine. If freezing the chicken, transfer everything to a gallon-sized freezer bag and seal the bag. Lay flat on a baking sheet and freeze until solid; freeze for up to 1 month. If cooking the chicken the same day, let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes, or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 hours.

  4. If the chicken has been frozen, let the package thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

  5. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 450ºF. Transfer the chicken and marinade into a 9x13-inch baking dish and arrange into an even layer. Bake until the sauce is bubbling and the chicken is cooked through and browned in spots, 45 to 55 minutes.

  6. Meanwhile, prepare the remaining ingredients: Juice 2 medium limes until you have 1/4 cup and place in a medium bowl. Add 1/4 cup water, 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Whisk until the sugar and salt are dissolved.

  7. Using a mandoline or chef’s knife, trim and thinly slice 1 medium jalapeño pepper crosswise. Peel and cut 1 medium carrot into matchsticks (about 1/2 cup). Add both to the lime mixture and toss to combine. Let sit until ready to serve.

  8. Cut 1/2 medium head savoy cabbage in half through the core. Cut the core out of each piece. Thinly slice the cabbage crosswise into fine ribbons until you have about 3 cups. Pick the leaves from 1/2 bunch fresh mint until you have 1 loosely packed cup.

  9. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add 8 ounces dried rice vermicelli or soba noodles and cook according to package instructions. Drain and divide between 4 bowls (no need to rinse).

  10. When the chicken is ready, divide the cabbage, chicken, and coconut sauce over the noodles. Garnish with the pickled carrots and jalapeño and mint leaves, tearing the leaves into bite-sized pieces if large.

Recipe Notes

Substitutes:

  • You can use any herbs you love to top this, fresh basil or cilantro would be great substitutes for the mint.
  • An equal amount of your favorite crunchy vegetable, such as fennel, cucumber, or radish, can be substituted for the carrot.

Make ahead: The chicken can be frozen in the marinade for up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before baking.

Storage: Refrigerate the chicken and sauce, noodles, and pickles in separate airtight containers for up to 4 days. Reheat the chicken and sauce in a 400ºF oven until warmed through.