I generally think of pressure cooking and slow cooking as winter cooking methods, but there’s no reason you can’t use those methods in the warmer months as well! This Thai Coconut Chicken bowl is a perfect lighter spring chicken recipe. While you don’t have to make it in a pressure cooker, it definitely helps!
After all, the nice thing about pressure cooking is that it doesn’t take much time so you can spend more time outside!
I like to serve these chicken bowls over cooked basmati rice, but you could also serve this coconut chicken in lettuce wraps or even in a burrito for on-the-go meals! These are a great gluten-free, high-protein option that work for lunches or dinners.
Watch and Learn: Video of Thai Chicken Bowls
How to make the coconut chicken in a pressure cooker
Sometimes I will saute proteins before adding them to a pressure cooker, but for this chicken recipe, it isn’t really necessary since we are just shredding it up anyway.
Add your chicken thighs (or chicken breasts) to a pressure cooker along with the curry, coconut milk, salt, ginger, garlic, water, and honey.
Lock the lid and cook for 15 minutes on high pressure. Then let slowly cool and release the steam after 10 minutes.
You might find that the cooking liquid is really watery or even looks a bit curdled after you cook the chicken, but that’s not a problem! After you remove the chicken and shred it you can switch your cooker to the sautee/brown method and simmer the sauce until it thickens slightly.
Stirring back in the shredded chicken will re-form the sauce and everything will work great. The coconut and milk curry gives the sauce such a great flavor. You’ll want to drink the sauce straight!
I served my Coconut Chicken Rice bowls over rice with fresh cucumbers and cilantro. You could also serve this with lettuce wraps or even in a burrito! Yum!
Thai Chicken Bowls in a slow cooker
You could easily make this recipe in a slow cooker. Just cook the ingredients on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6 hours. Then I would transfer the sauce to a saucepan to simmer and reduce it for serving and then add the shredded chicken back into the sauce so it can thicken together.
How to make these without a pressure cooker
If you don’t have a pressure cooker, no worries at all. I would just saute the ginger and garlic in a pot over low heat. Then add the liquids and the chicken. Cover and poach the chicken until it’s cooked through, maybe 20 minutes, and then remove and shred.
If the pot seems really dry you might need to add more liquid to bring the sauce together if you are doing this on a stovetop.
What rice works best for Thai chicken bowls
I like to serve these rice bowls with cooked basmati rice which is slightly floral and goes really well with the coconut flavors.
That said, you could serve these over many varieties of rice like brown rice or skip the rice altogether and serve the chicken over quinoa or even in lettuce wraps!
Thai Chicken Rice Bowls
- 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 tablespoon mild yellow curry
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 can, 14 oz. coconut milk
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 cup basmati rice
- Fresh cucumber, garnish
- Fresh cilantro garnish
- Add the chicken, curry, ginger, garlic, salt, coconut milk, water, and honey to the cooking pot of your pressure cooker. Stir together to make sure ingredients are combined evenly.
- Lock the lid in place and press the chicken button. Pressure cook the chicken for 15 minutes. Then turn off the cooker and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Then release pressure.
- Unlock the lid and remove the chicken from the cooker. Shred chicken and set aside.
- Press the sautee button on your cooker and simmer the remaining liquid for 8-10 minutes until it thickens to coat the back of a spoon.
- When sauce has thickened a bit, stir in shredded chicken and keep warm until serving.
- Serve Coconut chicken over cooked basmati rice garnished with cilantro and fresh sliced cucumber.
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Substitutions for this recipe
These chicken bowls are incredibly flexible. Here are a few ideas for substitutions!
- I prefer to use a mild curry for the spice, but you could use a spicier red curry if you wanted to add more heat to the dish.
- Change up the serving options for the bowl with rice noodles or even cauliflower rice.
- Sweet/Spicy: Feel free to add some additions to the sauce for this recipe to make it sweeter or spicier. You could add some brown sugar and lime juice to give it a sweet tang or some sambal oelek with a dash of fish sauce to boost the umami flavors.
- I garnish these bowls with cucumber, but you could use many vegetables like shredded carrots, slivered kale, or chopped peanuts.
Storing the leftovers
These Thai chicken bowls keep great in an airtight container in the fridge for 5 days but I would recommend storing the chicken and the leftover rice separately. Otherwise, the rice will soak up all the extra juice from the chicken and you’ll have no sauce and soggy rice!
The bowls reheat really well though in the microwave so they make for great quick lunches.