Each year we hold a number of conferences in the South Pacific so I wanted to share a recipe from this area with you.

Then I couldn’t decide which one to share. Then I thought what one ingredient reminds me of the South Pacific and that is coconut – there are coconut palms everywhere.


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 750g chicken thigh fillets, trimmed, cut into thirds
  • 1 brown onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons red or yellow curry paste
  • 1 small red chilli, deseeded, thinly sliced
  • 400ml can coconut milk – use coconut cream if you like a thicker sauce
  • 15 fresh curry leaves
  • 1 cup coriander leaves
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • Steamed jasmine rice, to serve
  • Coriander sprigs, to serve
    Lime wedges, to serve


1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Add the chicken. Cook, turning occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a plate while you make the sauce.

2. Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining oil to pan. Add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes. Add turmeric, curry paste, and chilli. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until aromatic.

3. Stir in coconut milk or cream and curry leaves. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Return chicken to wok.

4. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until chicken is tender. Stir in coriander and 1 tablespoon lime juice. Spoon over rice and top with coriander sprigs. Serve with lime wedges.

5. If you want a vegetable-friendly version then replace the chicken with eggplant and add in a cup of peas or beans when you add the curry leaves. You could also add capsicum and carrot if the mood takes you and substitute noodles for rice if you prefer.

Tips and Tricks

You can leave the lime juice out if you don’t like the taste and serve the lime wedges on the side so that people can add as much as they like.

If you like a thick sauce use coconut cream instead of milk. If you like a medium sauce then use half coconut milk and half coconut cream.

If you don’t want to use a dead animal in your cooking then substitute the chicken for eggplant – it tastes great!