Coconut Chicken with Sweet Potato Mash

Coconut Chicken with Sweet Potato Mash

by Executive Chef / Owner Glen Bent of Cariba Restaurant & Bar

This comforting coconut chicken dish was a summer special at Cariba, where Chef Glen Bent treats customers to his inspired island cuisine.

— Photography: Kenneth Theysen

Executive Chef / Owner  Glen Bent  of   Cariba Restaurant & Bar

The Huddersfield, England native discovered Bajan cuisine when he left home in search of hotter, spicier and sweeter pastures. “I always thought that the style of food I wanted to cook needed a warmer climate”, he says. After coming to the island for a short-term contract, he ended up meeting his wife and, as he says, the rest is history. He also cooks this dish at home because it pleases his biggest critics. “In a family of four, everyone has his or her own tastes. Plus you’re tired, you come home, you want to make something that’s tasty, flavourful and easy – and my wife will say there’s not much washing up afterwards.”


Coconut Chicken with Sweet Potato Mash
Serves 4

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Ingredients     

4 chicken breasts
2 sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons + ¾ cup coconut milk, divided
Pinch of salt and pepper
1 carrot, finely sliced
1 small onion, finely sliced
1 red sweet pepper, finely sliced

1 oz. butter
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup chicken stock
1 lime
½ teaspoon chilli flakes
½ teaspoon chopped fresh parsley


  1. Make a pocket in the chicken breast and add a teaspoon of bajan seasoning.

  2. Leave to marinate for 1 hour.

  3. Peel and boil the sweet potato for mash.

  4. Mash with 2 tablespoons of the coconut milk and a pinch of salt and pepper.

  5. Finely slice the onion, sweet pepper and carrot. Lightly fry in a teaspoon of butter.

  6. Add the chicken stock and reduce by half.

  7. Add the cream and reduce by half.

  8. Place the chicken breast in the saucepan and add the remaining ¾ cup of coconut milk.

  9. Cover with a lid and cook on low heat for 10-12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken.

  10. Remove the chicken from the sauce and place it in a bowl with the sweet potato mash.

  11. Add the chilli flakes, parsley and a squeeze of fresh lime to the coconut sauce left in the pan. Season to taste with salt and pepper before pouring over the chicken.


BAJAN AT HEART

Chef Glen still enjoys travelling to explore other regions, climates and cooking techniques, but he’s put down roots in Barbados. “It’s a beautiful island with friendly people. It’s nice to call Barbados home.”


Coconut Chicken with Sweet Potato Mash - Cariba Restaurant Barbados
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CHEF’S TIPS     

  1. For extra flavour, sear the chicken to crisp the skin before adding it to the stock.

  2. Chef Glen uses a hand-masher to mash the sweet potatoes while they’re still warm. “It doesn’t have to be silky smooth. If there’s some chunkiness, that’s fine. If you have some freshly ground nutmeg, that would aide as well.”


Bajan Seasoning

2 cloves garlic
½ onion, diced
½ small hot chilli, seeds removed
1 small bunch fresh parsley, stalk removed
1 small bunch fresh thyme
1 small bunch fresh marjoram or oregano 
2 stalks of spring onion
1 teaspoon black pepper 

  1. Place the oil in a food processor.

  2. Turn on the machine and add all ingredients through the feeder. Blend to a smooth consistency.


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