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Grilled Chicken with Spicy Brazilian Tomato and Coconut Sauce

Redolent of ginger and jalapenos, the tomato sauce is a lively addition to plain grilled chicken. If you like less heat, use only one jalapeno.

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

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  • 4 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 chicken (3 to 3 1/2 pounds), quartered
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeds and ribs removed, minced
  • 1 1/4 cups canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree
  • 1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro or parsley


  1. Light the grill. In a shallow dish, combine 3 tablespoons of the oil with two-thirds of the minced garlic. Coat the chicken with half of the garlic oil and season with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Grill the chicken over moderately high heat, basting with the remaining garlic oil, until just done, about 10 minutes per side for the breasts, 13 for the legs.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining garlic, the ginger, and the jalapeños, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute longer. Add the tomatoes, the coconut milk, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and serve with the chicken.

Serve With

Rice and beans or refried beans are typical Brazilian side dishes that taste especially good with chicken, as well as a crisp salad.

Suggested Pairing

This spicy dish will demolish any subtlety in a wine. Go for something straightforward and gulpable: a fresh white wine such as a Pinot Bianco from northern Italy, a slightly chilled red such as Beaujolais from France, or a beer.

Photo © The Jewels of New York Published December 2012

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