As a wife/mom of two girls/housekeeper/cook/part-time blogger/chauffeur, I sometimes find that I don’t have as much time as I would like to cook meals for my family. I have been using rice cookers and the oven more this year to give me more “hands-free” cooking options since my kids often desperately need something from me just as I start to get dinner going. And let’s face it–we can all use more simple, healthy recipes that our families will love and that don’t require standing over a hot stove. In fact, I recently made this dish on a day that reached a whopping 90F (a rarity where I live), so cooking was the last thing I wanted to do.
One of the things I love most about Rice Cooker Coconut Chicken and Kale is that it is super easy—just toss all the ingredients into the rice cooker and turn it on! I also love that it is a meal in itself: no side dish required. The coconut milk adds a creamy richness with a hint of Asian flavor from the ginger, and you can always add some hot sauce when you serve it if you want it spicier (that’s what B does). My mouth is watering…wish I had leftovers!
This recipe is based on one I found in the July 2010 issue of Food & Wine (see original here), but I made some changes to make it more nutrient-dense and suited to my taste preferences. It is one of my go-to meals for busy days when I want something simple that the whole family will enjoy and that just tastes good. I hope you enjoy it, too.
Rice Cooker Coconut Chicken and Kale
- an 8-cup or larger rice cooker
- 1 cup jasmine rice
- 1 ¼-2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 2 inches of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
- 3-4 cups leafy green vegetables, either roughly chopped or sliced thinly (I usually use dino kale, but this time I used some Rapini that I picked up at the farmer’s market; tougher greens like kale, chard, or rapini hold up better than more delicate greens like spinach or bok choy)
- ¾-1 cup chicken broth (homemade if possible)
- 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
- sea salt, to taste
- Put rice in the rice cooker bowl and rinse it several times until the water runs clear. Drain off as much water as you can.
- Add chopped chicken and ginger and stir to combine.
- Top with 3-4 packed cups of the greens. I basically fill the rice cooker to the top with the greens.
- Pour the chicken broth and coconut milk over the top and then season to taste with sea salt.
- Put the top on the rice cooker and turn it on.
- When the cooker turns off, it is finished cooking (this takes about 40 minutes). Lightly stir the contents and serve.
Note #1: If you like your rice on the drier side, use only ¾ cup of chicken broth. The extra ¼ cup will make the rice more moist and sticky.
Note #2: You can use brown rice for this recipe, but you will need to add ¼ cup more liquid and it will take a bit longer to cook.