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Coconut Fried Chicken with Sweet Hot Sauce and Platanos

Marcus Samuelsson
Cook Time:
50 mins
Prep Time:
3 hrs


  • 1 cup mole verde, divided
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans unsweetened coconut milk, divided
  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened coconut flakes, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup rice flour or all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • 2 ripe plantains, black with some yellow

Chef notes

Guyana is in South America; the language is English; the culture is Caribbean; and it's a cultural mix of Chinese, indigenous Guyanese, African and European. This recipe is dedicated to Chef Tavel Bristol-Joseph, and Tavel is a product of all of that. Coconut was a recurring motif in his early life, when he sometimes climbed coconut trees for breakfast. I love that his recipes go from comforting and simple to whimsical and imaginative, and that I'm able to bring all these things together in this recipe.

Technique tip: In this recipe, coconut milk is key to making delicious fried chicken, and the hot sauce packs a ton of flavor in the sweetness of the honey, so make sure to layer it in with the mole. You can add a few pieces of garlic or rosemary to the oil to add a bit more flavor.

Swap option: The platanos and hot sauce also make a great snack on their own. This recipe can be made gluten-free with gluten-free panko flakes, tamari or coconut aminos in place of soy sauce, and rice flour instead of all-purpose flour.



In a large mixing bowl, add 3/4 cup of mole verde and 1 can of coconut milk and whisk to combine. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 4 hours.


Remove the chicken from the marinade and transfer to a large saucepan. Add 2 tablespoons of the remaining mole verde, the remaining can of coconut milk, soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of coconut flakes and garlic powder. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Decrease the heat to maintain a low simmer and cook for 15 minutes, or until chicken is partially cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pot, shaking off excess sauce and set aside. Continue to cook the coconut milk mixture until it has reduced by half. Set aside and keep warm.


In a small bowl, combine white pepper, cumin, cinnamon, coriander and salt.


In a large zip-top bag, add the remaining 1 cup coconut flakes, panko breadcrumbs, rice flour and 2/3 of the seasoning mix. Shake to combine. Add the chicken, a few pieces at a time, and shake to coat. Transfer the chicken to a baking sheet and cover until ready to fry.


In a small bowl, combine the honey and remaining 2 tablespoons mole verde and set aside.


Heat 1-inch of oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot to 350 F. Cut the plantains into 1-inch pieces on the bias and toss with the remaining seasoning mix. Add four or five plantain pieces at a time to the oil and fry for 4 to 5 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and keep warm. Repeat until all plantains have been fried.


Add the chicken to the oil, a few pieces at a time, and cook until golden brown and cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes, turning halfway through cooking.


Drizzle the chicken and plantains with the honey sauce and serve with the reduced coconut sauce alongside.