Curried Chicken and Rice Casserole

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 2 hr
  • Prep: 25 min
  • Cook: 1 hr 35 min
  • Yield: 8 servings
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1 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

Golden raisins, for topping

1 cup basmati rice

1 1/2 cups coconut water

Kosher salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

2 bunches scallions, roughly chopped

1 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

5 cloves garlic

1/2 habanero chile pepper, seeded

2 tablespoons curry powder

2 teaspoons turmeric

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Freshly ground pepper

3 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

4 carrots, chopped

2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Combine the rice, coconut water, 1/2 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover; cook until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat; let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and toss with the butter and coconut; set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the scallions, cilantro, thyme, garlic, habanero and 1/2 cup water in a food processor or blender; puree to make a smooth paste. Transfer 1 tablespoon to a small bowl; stir in the curry powder, turmeric, cumin, 1 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 cup water. Transfer the remaining paste to a large bowl and add the chicken and 1 teaspoon salt; toss to coat.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the curry-scallion paste; cook, stirring, until the paste darkens and starts to separate, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken to the pot. Reduce the heat to medium; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost cooked through, 15 minutes.
  4. Increase the heat to medium high. Uncover and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 15 more minutes. Stir in 1 1/2 cups water, the carrots, chickpeas and spinach. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium. Simmer until the chicken is tender, 15 more minutes.
  5. Transfer the chicken mixture to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and top with the rice mixture. Bake until golden brown and bubbling, about 25 minutes. Top with golden raisins.