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How We Do Whole30 – Baked Coconut Curry Chicken Wings

October 8, 2014

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When Jules asked me if I wanted to do the Whole30 thing with her several months ago, my answer was an enthusiastic “Not a chance, but I’ll support you if you want to do it.” She’s asked me probably twice a month for the last 5 months, and my answer was always the same. That was, until a little over a month ago and she actually did attempt to do it on her own. That lasted a day. I mean, how could it possibly last longer? do the cooking! So as unenjoyable as it sounded, I dove in.

Honesty time: Whole30 will not be my new normal. My cravings for bread, cheese and everything else wonderful have not gone away. Where I work, we rarely have potluck lunches. Maybe two the entire time I’ve been there, before a month ago. Well they had two in the past 3 weeks alone, and it was straight up torture. This is not my new lifestyle, and I can’t wait for this weekend when the bars are lifted.

That said, I have seen some positive impacts, and I’m glad to have done the program. I’ve lost a little weight, as best as I can tell (you’re not supposed to weigh yourself during the thing, so I don’t know for sure), and my acid reflux is much easier to manage. I’ve also been surprised at how much will power I’ve gained, because that’s something I always struggled with. While I don’t plan on eating Whole30 all the time, I can see myself eating at least one Whole30 meal each day, and swapping out some rounds of candy with cashews or an orange or something. I feel confident in my ability to make better choices going forward.

Another thing I’ve learned over these past few weeks is how to pack some serious flavor in without using sugar or dairy as a crutch. So in honor of football season (which I seriously couldn’t possibly care less about) and our recent diet, I’m gonna share a new favorite recipe of ours. And it’s good enough to eat even if you aren’t Whole30’ing it.

You all know I love chicken wings (ahem, and ahem). But both of my previous recipes have sugar in them, so I came up with this little number. Seriously, really good.

Coconut Curry Chicken Wings


The prep on these wings is super easy. 6-7 ingredients, bingo bango bongo, done.

Coconut Curry Wings Marinade


Put this stuff in a blender:
1/2 yellow onion
1 can high fat coconut milk (for Whole30, use something that contains guar gum, instead of that other stuff)
4 garlic cloves
zest of two limes
juice of two limes
1.5 Tbsp red curry paste
1 red jalapeño (stem, seeds and ribs removed)
1/2 tsp fish sauce (not pictured)

Now blend it until smooth. Taste it, add salt if needed, and put it in a zip top bag or sealable bowl with the wings and toss to coat. This makes enough marinade for probably up to 50 wings or so, but you don’t need to make that many. Cut the recipe down if you need. Marinate 2-6 hours.

Coconut Curry Wings Marinade


About 45 minutes before dinner, put a pan in the oven and heat it to 425. About 35 minutes before dinner, quickly remove the pan from the oven and close the door (to prevent heat from escaping), spread the wings out evenly with the fatty sides down and quickly place back in the oven, to prevent heat loss. About 20 minutes before dinner, quickly remove the pan from the oven again (taking care to close the door etc) and flip the chicken so the fatty side is up, place back in the oven, bump the heat up to 450, and cook for another 15-20 minutes until the skin renders and browns. Remove from the oven and toss in 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion and 1/4 cup chopped cilantro. Serve with a salad of sorts (keep an eye out for the recipe for the one in the pictures – purple cabbage slaw with ginger almond dressing – fantastic).

Coconut Curry Wings


So, even though I crave candy and snacks and ice cream and snow cones and Dirty Dr. Pepper and grilled cheese sandwiches, it’s meals like this that kept me going. I even found myself, on occasion, thinking “Whole30 ain’t so tough.” And it’s a great meal to make when having guests over (as we frequently do), because it doesn’t feel “diet-y.” So give this a try, even if you’re not doing the Whole30. And if you are – you’re welcome.

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What do you think?

  1. Al says:

    These sound delicious! I can’t eat gluten or dairy (allergies) so I’m always excited for recipes I can actually eat. Pinned.

  2. I love coconut (and curry) anything! These look fantastic! But more importantly, I’m getting a laugh at your lack of football frenzy. I couldn’t agree more. I wish there were more people on our side of the fence, but hey. It makes things interesting.

  3. Lauren says:

    Is there any way you could make this more “recipe-friendly”? Like I just copy and pasted into word so I can print but I’m going to have to go back and change the timing to be something that makes a little more sense. 45 minutes before dinner then 30 minutes before dinner, etc. doesn’t tell me how long so I have to go back and change. it’s just me, sorry! just a teeny tiny suggestion. I do love you guys and want to try this recipe soon! :)

  4. Susan says:

    We are on the MIgraine Miracle eating plan and track carbs in My Fitness Pal.
    ( Poor hubby has been a LONG-time migraine sufferer)

    It’s basically a low-carb plan that eases up as the headaches leave–which for my better half, has been almost a month at 50 carbs a day. I stay around 100. We don’t sweat calories or fat grams, but we do keep sodium to the minimum/limit.

    We are losing weight; neither of us were chunky to start with, but it’s still a nice side effect.
    While we are eating a bit more meat, things like full fat cheese/dairy are not off limits.

    Like you, I love to cook/bake. It was weird that first week-such low sugar! I had cravings for a few days, then pfffft. It’s made both of us less”foggy-brained” and no one is sleeping after a meal LOL.

    We do a Saturday night meal at any restaurant we choose and we have Sunday morning bagels after our 5 mile walk around our local lake; otherwise we stick to the carb count.
    It’s not hard-and we feel really well!

    It’s good to try different eating plans and see what YOUR body does the best with-my BFF is vegan after having some high blood sugar numbers, and that took care of that.

    Diets suck, and I have no intention of ever being on one, LOL.

    • Chris says:

      Love it, Susan! For me, dieting to feel better is so much more motivating than dieting to lose weight. I’ve never been able to stick to something when weight loss was the goal.

  5. Allison says:

    I wonder if you could freeze half the marinade? Has anyone ever tried that, for any recipe? I’ve never tried it myself but the thought has crossed my mind a few times…..

    • Chris says:

      The biggest issue you could have would be the coconut milk. It freezes similarly to milk, where upon thawing it may separate. If it does, just put it in the blender and whir it up a bit – should come back together. If it doesn’t, you could also try warming it in a pan first.

  6. Hi Chris,

    I’ve been following your (plural!) blog for years and absolutely love it. I am a Nutritionist and a cooking instructor, so I especially enjoy your culinary tips and methods. I have read your blog through various spouts of diets: gluten-free, etc.

    So, I could write paragraphs and paragraphs about how your statement “I can’t wait for this diet to be over” summarizes the problem with ALL diets. Instead I would just like to leave this little thought here: Eating healthy doesn’t mean going on a diet. A diet is a WAY of eating that is balanced, full of fruits and veggies, makes your body happy, and makes mealtimes something to look forward to.

    I have a close family member who has been yo-yo dieting for the 28 years I’ve known her. She’s miserable on the diet, thrilled with the weight loss, drops the diet (no cured), and resumes the diet 12 months later. This is the frustrating, unhealthy, and torturous fate to which most diets lead.

    Diet is a way of being—I wish for you and your lovely family to be happy!

    okay thanks for letting me share :)


    • Chris says:

      Great insight, Lindsey! I definitely agree with you. While I don’t plan on sticking with the Whole30 diet, I am grateful for the will power I gained from it. Hopefully that’s something that sticks with me, so I can make better decisions going forward.

      Thanks for your thoughts!

  7. Meagan Briggs says:

    THIS LOOKS SO GOOD! Ryan and I love a good wing, and I am actually tempted to now make my own! We usually just bake them easy and do a mixture of Sweet Baby Rays and Red Hot for the sauce. Ryan would LOVE this. He loves anything asian inspired.

  8. Jenny says:

    Did Greta eat these and the purple salad? I’d be interested on a post about cooking interesting food for Greta (and Faye someday).

  9. With your specific oven-ing techniques, are you able to get a crisp crust on these? I’ve never managed to get my wings crispy! Thanks for the recipe!

    • Chris says:

      Hi Kelly! Yes, heating the pan before hand and cooking at a higher heat for a longer time helps to get the wings crispy. That said, because these are marinated in coconut milk, they won’t get AS crispy, so if you want a more crispy chicken wing and aren’t doing the Whole30, you should check out my dry rubbed baked chicken wings. Or, you could even do them on the Whole30 and just take out the tiny amount of sugar that’s in the rub. Not sure the sugar is necessary in those anyway.

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