Aromatic Green Chilli Chicken in Six Easy Steps, With a Side of Sweet Coconut Rice

Every year, the Asylum Seeker Resource Center (ASRC) asks the nation to put on a spread for their mates and host a Feast for Freedom in their home or workplace. It’s a fundraiser for the not-for-profit organisation’s different programmes, while also spreading appreciation for the cultures and cuisines of the people they’re helping.

It’s easy to get involved: once you sign up, ASRC sends you a link to a fundraising page where you can invite guests to RSVP to your feast. You’ll also get a host kit in the mail containing a magnetic shopping list to prep for your meal, a silicone pot holder, teas by Madame Flavor, a table centrepiece, conversation starter cards for discussion around people seeking asylum, and a booklet with dishes from this year’s featured chefs and past feasts.

Half of this year’s new recipes comes from Manel, a full-time chef with social enterprise ASRC Catering and who was previously supported by the organization when she arrived to seek asylum in Australia. The dishes she’s decided to share are inspired by her Malaysian-Indian heritage, the result of migration from south India to Southeast Asia.

The mini-cookbook includes recipes for lemon tea with chilli pineapple, pakoda with sweet chilli sauce, black pepper okra, atjard (a refreshing cucumber salad) and sago pudding for dessert. But the star is undoubtedly her green chilli chicken with coconut rice.

“This is one of those dishes that you’ll just want more and more of. Whether using chicken or tofu, this dish is bursting with depth and flavor, whilst remaining balanced – especially when eaten with the sweet and moreish coconut rice,” the booklet describes.

The chicken is ready in just six short steps, while the coconut rice can be prepared entirely in a rice cooker (or there are easy instructions for making it without one).

You can cook whatever you want for your dinner party – mix and match recipes from the booklet, design your own menu or ask guests to bring dishes for a fun pot luck. But whether you make it for Feast for Freedom or just as a simple dinner at home, this one’s a winner.

Chilli chicken and coconut rice

Serves 4

Total time: 1 hour


For the coconut rice:

1 tsp vegetable oil

2cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled

2 cups uncooked basmati rice, rinsed and drained

400ml coconut milk

½ tbsp salt

1 tbsp caster sugar

For the green chilli chicken:

8 long green chillies, roughly chopped

1 brown onion, roughly chopped

5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

5cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely sliced

2 lemongrass stems (white part only), finely sliced

1 kg chicken breast (or tofu), diced into bite-sized pieces

2 tbsp vegetable oil

20 fresh curry leaves

1 tsp ground turmeric

1½ tsp salt

2 tsp white sugar

For garnishing:

2 green chillies, finely sliced

4 makrut lime leaves, finely shredded


For the coconut rice:

Add all ingredients into a rice cooker along with 800ml water. Cook until rice is soft and has absorbed all the liquid. Remember to remove the knob of ginger before serving.

If you don’t have a rice cooker, follow these steps:

Preheat the oven to 160ºC.

On the stove, pour the oil into a large oven-friendly pot with a lid and set over a medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add the ginger and fry for 1 minute. Add the rice and stir gently for 1 minute. Add 800ml water along with the coconut milk, salt and sugar. Bring to a rolling boil.

Cover the pot with foil, crimping the edges, and then with the lid. (If you don’t have an oven-friendly pot, transfer ingredients to an oven-friendly vessel and cover with foil and a lid.) Place in the oven for 30 minutes. Remember to remove the knob of ginger before serving.

For the green chilli chicken:

While the rice is cooking, prepare the green chilli chicken. Place chilli, onion, garlic, ginger and lemongrass into a blender and blend into a paste. (Manel’s tip: use a pestle and mortar if you don’t have a blender.)

Heat oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Sear chicken in batches until sealed on all sides. (If using tofu, heat a large frying pan and seal tofu in batches. You do not need oil for this step.) Remove and set aside.

Lower heat to medium-low and add the paste you prepared earlier. Stir and cook for 2–3 minutes. Add the curry leaves, turmeric, salt, sugar and stir to combine.

Return the chicken/tofu to the pan and add a little water to form a sauce. Cover and cook for 5–10 minutes or until the chicken is tender.

Turn out into a serving bowl and garnish with chilli and lime leaves.

Sign up to host a Feast for Freedom here.

Looking for more recipe ideas? Visit Broadsheet’s* recipe hub.