Thai Coconut Chicken Lettuce Tacos
I love lettuce wraps because you get to really taste the ingredients in the taco! However, you can also use regular corn and flour tortillas too with this meal. I also LOVE coconut! The great thing about this recipe is that there is no breading, it’s just coconut!!! Less calories, but SO MUCH COCONUT FLAVOR! The chicken is also juicy from marinating and the fact that it is chicken thighs instead of breasts.
I also love this recipe because it is so colorful and fun to do if you have people over. Your friends and family will be amazed at the presentation, and it actually isn’t that hard to make! The hardest part is rolling the chicken in the coconut. The balance of the sweet and spicy sauce, with the sour slaw and sweet chicken will put your mouth in Nirvana…enjoy the food bliss!
PS: I put in the recipe how to make it 100% gluten free. Also, if you need this recipe to also be 100% lactose free, omit the butter milk and add 1/2 cup of coconut milk with 1/2 tbsp white vinegar.
Marinade Ingredients + Chicken:
8 Boneless and Skinless Chicken Thighs
3/4 cup Pineapple Juice from a 20 oz can (reserve the pineapple for the sauce)
3/4 cup Full Fat Coconut Milk
1 1/2 cup Light Buttermilk (or 1/2 cup coconut milk + 1/2 tbsp white vinegar for dairy free)
Juice of 1 Lime (2 tbsp juice, 1 tsp zest)
Zest and Juice of 1 Lime (2 tbsp juice, 1 tsp zest)
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Granulated Garlic
Sweet and Spicy Pineapple Thai Chili Sauce Ingredients:
1/2 cup Thai Sweet Chili Sauce (use a Taste of Thai)
2 tbsp Low Sodium Soy Sauce (or Tamari if gluten free!!!)
1/4 cup Crushed Pineapple, No Juice (from the can used for the marinade)
1/4 tsp Granulated Garlic
1/2 tbsp Sriracha
2 tbsp Lime Juice (about 1/2 a juicy lime)
Vinegar Slaw Ingredients:
2 tbsp Rice Vinegar
1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tbsp Sesame Oil
1/2 tsp Granulated Garlic
1 tbsp Olive Oil
1 - 9oz bag Shredded Cabbage Mix with Carrots (I got mine from Trader Joe’s)
2 - 7 oz bags of unsweetened coconut flakes
2 heads of baby butter leaves or baby Romain for lettuce tacos (optional)
Corn or Flour tortillas (optional)
Salt for seasoning
1. Make the marinade in a large bowl and marinade the chicken for at least 4 hours in the fridge.
2. Preheat the oven to 375 and line two sheet trays with parchment paper.
3. Thoroughly mix and combine the slaw ingredients in a medium bowl and let sit, stirring occasionally.
4. Pour 1 bag of coconut flakes in a medium bowl. Cut the thighs into 1/4 inch strips. Roll the strips in the coconut and evenly place on the sheet trays. Refill the bowl with more coconut flakes when empty and continue the process until you have fully coated each strip with coconut (I don’t put all of the flakes in at once because then the flakes will all get soggy).
5. Bake both sheet trays for 20 min and then switch the trays so the bottom tray can also get brown and cook for an additional 20 minutes. Broil each tray for 1-2 min or until the coconut has lightly browned.
6. While the chicken is cooking, use a small bowl to make the sweet and spicy sauce; set aside for later. Also, peel off your leaves for the lettuce tacos, or prepare the tortillas for presentation on a platter.
7. Once the chicken is done, season with salt and place everything on a platter (I show in the photo above how I presented it) and serve! People can assemble their own tacos…it is more fun that way!