Chicken in coconut and peanut sauce (african recipe)

by Paula Casimiro
From the trip to São Tomé and Príncipe I brought so many good memories of the places, people and, of course, the food. This recipe, chicken in coconut and peanut sauce, was one of the souvenirs I brought back home.

At one of the dinners in São Tomé, I ate in the house of Dona Hortênsia, a famous cook, who serves both a dinner for two, as was the case, as a feast for 100. For this dinner Dona Hortênsia made a succulent chicken cooked in an absolutely delicious creamy sauce, prepared with coconut milk and peanut butter.

Back in Portugal I tried to know a little more about the dish and in some of the recipes I read were added vegetables, such as sweet potatoes or yams. Dona Hortênsia’s dish hadn’t any of them but I love sweet potatoes and it seemed to me that it was a very interesting addition to the dish.

This chicken in coconut and peanut sauce is a typical west african dish, with a sweet taste, where the nutty aroma from the peanut butter stands out. It doesn’t get too spicy with the amount of cayenne indicated in the recipe, which I undercalculated trying to please all palates. In the end, taste and add a little more if you like.

Chicken in coconut and peanut sauce (african recipe)
Chicken in coconut and peanut sauce (african recipe)

Chicken in coconut and peanut sauce (african recipe)

serves 4

Prep time:

Cook time:


  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (you may use another vegetable oil)
  • 500g chicken, skinless and cut into pieces
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small can (400 g) peeled tomato
  • 400g sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 piece of fresh ginger (about 5 cm), peeled
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 125g (1/2 cup) peanut butter
  • 500ml (2 cups) chicken stock
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 can (400ml) coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup of fresh coriander, chopped
  • Sea salt, to taste



  1. In a pot, heat the coconut oil and brown the chicken. Remove the pieces of chicken and saute the onion in the same oil, not letting it gain color.
  2. Add the tomatoes and crush them slightly with a wooden spoon. Add the sweet potatoes, ginger, garlic, peanut butter, chicken broth, cayenne pepper, chicken and season lightly with salt. When boiling, cover with the lid and cook on low heat for 30 minutes.
  3. Add the coconut milk and cook, uncovered, for another 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
  4. In the end, rectify the salt and cayenne pepper and serve with chopped coriander. Accompany with white rice.

For another fragrant and spicy suggestion check these baked sweet potatoes stuffed with a meat and black bean chilli
chilli baked sweet potatoes



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