Akoho sy Voanio – Chicken in Coconut Milk from Madagascar

The rain in not so sunny California has momentarily stopped.  More is on its way for the later part of next week, however in the meantime we are enjoying the sun again.  California doesn’t really have a white Christmas unless you go up north and into the mountains, even though we do have a mild winter.  We have vacationers who come here to get away from the snow and cold, much like Australia and other parts of the southern hemisphere.  Madagascar in another one of these spots, an island off the coast of Africa, known for its beautiful color and foliage.  It’s very warm at Christmas time, but common decorations still include holly, robins and snow.  Interestingly, Poinsettias are the national emblem of Madagascar.  They don’t just flower at Christmas, but also grow as large outdoor shrubs in Madagascar.  Much like the rest of us, Malagasy families like to eat Christmas dinner together in large groups and the meal is normally Chicken or Pork with rice followed by a special cake.  A special Malagasy dish is Akoho sy Voanio.  Considering our Christmas time similarities, I tried this subtly flavored dish with my family this Sunday.


Here is my recipe of Akoho sy Voanio or Chicken in Coconut Milk.








1 lb of chicken cut into small pieces (I used boneless pieces as a preference)

1 tbsp Salt

1 tsp Pepper

1 tsp Cayenne pepper

Lemon juice (from 1 lemon)

1 tsp Grated lemon zest

1 tbsp Coconut oil (for frying)

2 Onions (sliced)

2 Cloves of garlic (minced)

2 tsp Ginger root (grated)

2 Tomatoes (chopped

8 oz Coconut  milk


In a large bowl, place the chicken with salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, lemon juice and zest, let it marinate for a few hours.

Heat oil in a wok or heavy pan and fry the onions and garlic until the onions are soft, add the chicken and continue cooking until the chicken is browned on all sides.  Reduce the heat and add the tomatoes and the ginger, stir for a few minutes before adding the coconut milk. Allow to simmer until the chicken is tender and the sauce becomes thick.

To serve this dish Malagasy style, it should be served over a bed of rice.

Mirary Krismasy

 – ‘Merry Christmas’

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