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Calypso Chicken on a plate with fried plantains and salad on a wooden board
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5 from 1 vote

Calypso Chicken

The most incredible Calypso Chicken is creamy and punchy with tropical flavour. Crisply spiced chicken thighs are braised in a delicious rum and coconut sauce, flavoured with cumin and garlic and simmered with sliced onions and green peppers. Serve with fried plantain for food heaven.
Prep Time8 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Caribbean
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 983kcal


  • 4 chicken thighs boned
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon chilli powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1 green pepper de-seeded and sliced
  • 500 ml chicken stock
  • 50 g creamed coconut
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum
  • good dash of angostura bitters
  • pinch of saffron
  • 1 green chilli sliced
  • Handful of fresh parsley


  • Mix the cumin, garlic powder, chilli powder and salt and pepper together then rub generously over the chicken thighs.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large casserole dish on the hob and as soon as it’s hot add the chicken, skin side down.
  • Fry the chicken for 10-12 minutes until the skin is crisp and golden. Then with a pair of tongs remove the chicken, set aside and add the onion and green pepper to the casserole dish.
  • Heat the stock in a small saucepan until boiling, then remove from the heat and add the creamed coconut, rum, angostura bitters and saffron until they are well mixed together.
  • Pour in the stock mixture as soon as the onion and green pepper has softened and are staring to colour, stirring in well.
  • Bring up to a gentle boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer. Add the chicken on top of the stock, flesh side down and simmer for 40 minutes until the sauce has reduced to thick and creamy.
  • Sprinkle with the green chilli and parsley.


Adapted from Taste magazine’s ‘Calypso Chicken’, March 1987
  • Use free-range chicken if you can for the best flavour and provenance. If you eat meat you want to know where it’s coming from.
  • The recipe states to use 2 boneless chicken thighs per person. However it totally depends on your size of chicken thighs. The ones we buy really vary in size. You are looking for 2 small to medium chicken thighs per person.
  • Pat the chicken dry with kitchen towel before adding the spice mix. It will mean really crisp chicken skin and help the spices stick better to the chicken.
  • Make sure the olive oil is hot before adding the chicken so the meat doesn’t stick to the pan.
  • Use creamed coconut, not coconut cream or coconut milk. We want to add flavour not liquid. The creamed coconut is just the coconut solids.
  • And if you can, use homemade chicken stock or good shop bought. Preferably not a stock cube.
  • I recommend serving with crisply fried plantain and fresh green chillies sprinkled on top which sparks it off deliciously.
  • If you want to serve to more than 2 then you can double the recipe. If you are serving for a family then you can leave out the fresh green chillies at the end. The alcohol in the rum burns off in the braise so don’t worry about serving to little ones.


Calories: 983kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 46g | Fat: 72g | Saturated Fat: 28g | Cholesterol: 229mg | Sodium: 1212mg | Potassium: 1084mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 545IU | Vitamin C: 55mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 4mg