I am in serious need of a non-sweet-treat post. I feel like apologizing for all the desserts I’ve posted lately…but I just can’t apologize for something like that. This meal fits the bill for a healthy and delicious weeknight dinner. It is easy to prepare and you don’t have to slave away in the kitchen all afternoon to get it done. Plus, it tastes fantastic. Don’t be scared off by the coconut milk and pistachios, they are essential to this dish. The coconut milk gives a subtle sweet flavor that is delicious with the crunch of the pistachios. We love chicken and rice dishes around our house and this has been made several times already!

What To ServeA simple side salad (or something more fun like these simple Caprese Skewers)
A good dinner roll, like these Parker House Rolls
Fresh Fruit

Chicken and Rice with Coconut Milk and Pistachios

Chicken and Rice with Coconut Milk and Pistachios

Note: Be sure to use chicken breasts that are about the same size to make sure the chicken cooks evenly.


  • 4 (5 to 6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon garam masala (an Indian spice blend found in most supermarkets)
  • 1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (13.5 ounce) can coconut milk
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup chopped pistachios, lightly toasted
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves


  1. Pound each chicken breast between two sheets of plastic wrap to a uniform 1/2-inch thickness. Place the flour in a shallow dish and pat the chicken breasts dry with a paper towel, then season with salt and pepper. Dredge each chicken breast in the flour, shaking off excess.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until the oil is rippling. Carefully lay the chicken breasts in the skillet and cook until lightly browned on both sides, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
  3. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet and return to medium heat until rippling. Add the onion, garam masala, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Stir in the chicken broth and coconut milk, scraping up any browned bits. Nestle the chicken into the rice and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the chicken is done, about 10 minutes.
  5. Transfer the chicken to a clean plate, brushing off any rice back into the skillet. Tent the chicken loosely with foil to stay warm. Cover the skllet and continue to cook the rice over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender, about 10 minutes.
  6. Off the heat, sprinkle the peas over the rice, cover, and let warm through, about 2 minutes. Add the pistachios and cilantro and gently fold into the rice. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with the chicken.

Recipe Source: adapted from The Best Skillet Recipes

27 Responses to Chicken and Rice with Coconut Milk and Pistachios

  1. […] of those dishes that doesn’t look very beautiful, but tastes delicious… Originally from here, this dish takes only about 35 minutes to put together, and has great flavor. For those living in […]

  2. Shannon says:

    This is probably a silly question: can you buy chopped pistachios? I only found unshelled pistachios at my grocery store, and shelling that many pistachios did not sound fun! I’ve never cooked with them but love them. Do you buy them shelled and then put them in a food processor?

    • Mel says:

      Shannon – Not a silly question at all. I’ve never seen chopped pistachios though. I usually just buy them shelled and chop them on a cutting board. Good luck!

  3. anne says:

    I made the Chicken and Rice with Coconut milk and Pistachios today. Well i saw coconut milk and garam masala with rice and chicken and just had to try it.I am from India, the southern part of India, and from where i come from, we use A LOT of coconut milk..It was super easy to make, and tastes wonderful!!! Waiting to see what my husband and daughter would have to say when they have it for dinner tonight!!! I just happened to come across your blog, and now see myself coming back often..Thank you so much for sharing:)

  4. Teresa says:

    This is the best recipe ever! I love it. It took a little planning to make sure I had everything, but it was well worth it. My husband said it was better than any restaurant.

  5. Kimberly says:

    Some of your recipes just need a like button–like facebook. 🙂 Made this tonight with instant brown rice for an even faster meal and it was delish!

  6. Mel says:

    Terri – that’s a good question. I haven’t tried it, so you’ll have to experiment. I think it would work fine, but I’m guessing you might need to increase the liquid by just a bit and watch cooking time. Let me know if you try it!

  7. terri says:

    mel, would this work with long-grain brown rice? would the cooking times change? i typically soak my brown rice for 30 mins before cooking (directions i got from Bob’s Red Mill).

  8. Reyna says:

    So, this is one of those lame reviews where I tell you all the things I did differently—but not for the reasons you think! It’s because I didn’t plan anything for dinner, was scrambling at 5pm to get dinner started and I of course came to you hoping you could help me think of something awesome at the last minute. This recipe sounded super tasty…except I didn’t have any chicken, or pistachios–two the the things in the title!! So, I improvised and used flank steak and almonds. And I’ll tell you what–it was fantastic. I loved the garam masala in the rice. I never thought to do that! Thank you for saving the day yet again….

    • Mel says:

      Reyna – I love these kinds of reviews. First, I’m just straight-up impressed you could make it work with such different ingredients. Way to go! I’m happy it worked out for you. I love the flavor of this rice, too.

  9. Melanie says:

    Candace – glad you liked this and impressed with your homemade chicken broth. I bet that really enhanced the flavor of this dish. Thanks for letting me know (and so bummed about your food restrictions!).

  10. grace says:

    things to love: PEAS, little green orbs of goodness. PISTACHIOS, wee green ovals of crunch. COCONUT MILK, smooth and succulent sauce-maker. great dish.

  11. madfam says:

    one more thing i was thinking you should put cooking time and prep time i think it would help!!

  12. Melanie says:

    JoAnn – bummer that the kids didn’t like this! At least you and your husband did so that it wasn’t a wasted meal. Thanks for letting me know.

  13. teresa says:

    Oh this is just lovely. OUr family is crazy about chicken and rice too!

  14. Melanie says:

    Sarah B. – fun to get your comment, my friend! Brian would like your change since he isn’t a fan of cilantro, either. Thanks for letting me know you tried it!

  15. Sara says:

    This looks delicious! I love coconut rice. What a great family meal.

  16. madfam says:

    k am trying this one today we will see..i did curry in a crock pot the other day and it was oh so yummy!! i love this blogg!!!

  17. cindy says:

    This looks like a winner. I will make it soon!

  18. Candace says:

    I love your blog! We have very similar tastes. This had rave reviews with the family. I used homemade chicken broth from a leftover 40 garlic chicken recipe (and actually just used leftover chicken instead of breasts).

    I just found out I can’t have dairy, soy, or eggs anymore thanks to my sensitive breastfeeding baby. So this was good timing.

    Thanks so much!!

  19. Sarah B. says:

    Melanie, this recipe is soooooo good. The only change I made was parsley for cilantro becoause I can’t stand the latter. My entire family loved it. Even my 3 year old. Thank you so much for all the fabulous recipes. You are my hero, I hope all is going well for you after the big move!

  20. JoAnn says:

    Husband and I liked it…the kids didn’t. I think they were a little put off by the “back of your throat” taste of the garam masala.

  21. Michelle says:

    Love your recipes! I left you an award on my blog!

  22. cindy says:

    My daughter cooked this for us while she was visiting. It was amazing!!

  23. Melanie says:

    Cindy – what a nice daughter to be cooking everyone dinner. Glad this was well-received!

  24. Gina says:

    Melanie- I made this last night and it was DELICIOUS!! The flavors were amazing!My husband is from India so when he come home from work, he commented on how the house smelled great and said it reminded him of his mother’s cooking! He loved it as well as my 3 yr old and 15 month old.

  25. Melanie says:

    Hi Gina – that’s high praise from your husband! I’m glad that your whole family liked this meal. Thanks for letting me know.

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