Spicy Coconut Milk Brined Chicken

This recipe is a perfect dairy free alternative to the buttermilk brined chicken I posted a few days ago. The coconut milk and lime juice combo penetrates the chicken to create ultra luxurious and moist meat, and the chili crisp adds some irresistibly subtle heat. Serve with lots of fresh herbs and lime wedges for an easy and healthy weeknight meal.


  • Plan ahead! You will want to marinate your chicken for 12-24 hours. 
  • Chili crisp or Thai roasted chili paste work best for this recipe, but you can absolutely use sambal or even sriracha in a pinch. 

Makes 6 chicken legs

  • 6 whole chicken legs 
  • Chili crisp or chili paste, see note
  • 1.5 tbsp salt 
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 lime, plus more for serving
  • 1-2 cans coconut milk
  • Olive oil 
  • Curry powder
  • 1 onion, cut into wedges
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Cilantro and mint, for serving
  1. At least 12 and up to 24 hours before you want to eat, add the chicken to a large bowl
  2. Add chili paste and use your hands to coat all of the chicken in the paste. The chicken should be fully tinted red. For chili crisp, this was about 1.5-2 tablespoons. 
  3. Add the fish sauce, salt, and lime juice. 
  4. Add enough coconut milk to fully submerge the chicken. 
  5. Set in the fridge overnight. 
  6. The next day, Drain the buttermilk brine and pat the chicken semi dry. You want to remove some of the coconut milk without being excessive. Let come to room temp for about 30-45 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 450. 
  8. Lightly coat a baking tray with olive oil and place the chicken on the tray.
  9. Season the skin of each piece with some curry powder, and use your hands or a pastry brush to disperse the powder over the skin. 
  10. Add the onion pieces around the tray, and lightly coat with a little olive oil and salt. 
  11. Season with pepper. 
  12. Bake until a meat thermometer registers 160 closest to the bone, about 25-45 minutes depending on the size of your legs. For extra crispy skin, broil for a minute or two at the end. 
  13. Remove from the oven and let cool briefly. 
  14. Top with extra chili crisp, fresh herbs, and lime wedges.