Lime and Coconut Chicken

July 29th, 2009 by katie

I have been trying to be more open minded about recipes lately.  I no longer reject a recipe just because it calls for curry powder or coconut milk.  In the past, I would turn up my nose at any recipe that didn’t have a flavor profile I immediately recognized.  Mix cumin and soy sauce? Never.  Makes no sense.  My attitude these days is more along the lines of: “I like cumin and I like soy sauce, so I why won’t I like them together?”  Also, I feel like I should trust the experts.  If Fine Cooking says these flavors taste good together, then I am willing to try it.

This turned out to be a really nice, quick dinner.  Serve over rice or couscous to soak up all of the juices and sauce.  The chicken is marinated for a few hours and then seared.  The marinade is reserved and then boiled and served as a sauce.  If you don’t like the idea of using the marinade as a sauce you can either double it and reserve half before adding the chicken or you can  serve it without the sauce.  I thought it was juicy and flavorful on it own, mrChaos liked the sauce a lot (and by the way if you asked him he would tell you he doesn’t like curry powder or coconut milk)-so it’s up to you.

Lime and Coconut Chicken

serves 4, prep 10 minutes, marinade up to 2 hours, cook 15 min, adapted from Fine Cooking, Winter 2006
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • pinch cayenne
  • 1 small fresh hot chili, such as Thai or Serrano, minced (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Fresh limes, cut into wedges
  1. Trim fat from chicken breasts.  Starting on thick side of the breasts slice the chicken breasts almost in half, then open each like a book.
  2. Place each open breast between two pieces of plastic wrap, wax paper or inside a large, open, Ziploc bag.
  3. Using a small heavy pan, bottle or smooth meat mallet lightly pound out each breast into even thickness.
  4. Mix all remaining ingredients except fresh cilantro and limes.
  5. Add chicken and marinade to a large bowl or ziploc bag and chill in the refrigerator for up to two hours.
  6. Your chicken doesn’t take long to cook so you can use this time to get your dishes prepped and ready.
  7. Once you are ready to cook the chicken, remove each breast from the marinade.
  8. Pour the marinade into a small saucepan and bring to a rolling boil.  Boil continuously for at least 2 minutes, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t burn.
  9. In a heavy skillet or grill pan, heat a splash of oil over high heat.
  10. Cook the chicken in batches to prevent over crowding the pan.
  11. Place the breasts in the hot pan and cook without turning for a couple minutes
  12. Flip the breasts over and cook until the other side is golden, it shouldn’t take long depending on the thickness of your chicken.
  13. Place cooked breasts on a plate in a warm oven or under foil while cooking the remaining chicken.
  14. Sprinkle with fresh lime juice and cilantro. Serve with sauce on the side.

If you typically have these ingredients on hand this is a quick, cheap main dish to throw together.  It would be delicious on the grill or as kabobs as well.

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Posted in Easy, Fast, Main Dish

69 Responses

  1. Cyndi

    “you put the lime in the coconut and drink it all up….” is now running through my head. I have the CD – love that song. I”m with you on the reticence to use coconut milk – I hate the soup you get at some Thai restaurants that’s got coconut milk in it. But I love coconut itself in desserts. Don’t know if I can be as open-minded as you to try this recipe. It sure LOOKS good, though!

  2. Hungry Jenny

    Mm, this looks and sounds gorgeous! Definitely want to try this, thanks for sharing the recipes.


    Hungry Jenny x

  3. Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary

    Looks great. I think those flavor combobs sound good. It wasn’t too coconutty huh?

  4. Carrie

    That sounds like a great marinade, and that photo looks awesome!

  5. Marisa

    Wow, thanks this looks delicious! Big fan of coconut milk and TheHusband LOVES chicken, so this is a win-win for everyone.

    Am bookmarking this and will definitely give it a go.

  6. Sara

    I used to be the same way about recipes. Now I’ll try just about everything once.

    These look really, really good. I plan on making this dish very soon.

  7. pontch

    What a refresh recipes its looks and sound. I never use coconut in a chicken.
    Thank you.

  8. heidileon

    wonderful, I will make a vegetarian version of this I just love coconut milk and curry

  9. Robin Sue

    Looks delicious Katie. I am open to new flavors lately too. Love that huge photo, I can’t get mine that big on my blog, but I am a goofball when it come with working with html codes.

  10. cheryl

    I would definitely make this… looks so lovely. Thinking a coconut-lime sorbet would also be nice… (I’d leave the chicken out of that one.)

  11. Sara

    This looks lovely!

    I do like to try recipes that are a little unfamiliar.

  12. Abigail

    I made this recipe with extra firm tofu and it was really wonderful.

  13. marguerite

    Mmmmm… that’s a flavor profile I not only recognize but love! YUMMY!

  14. Debbi Does Dinner Healthy

    I used to think the same way about recipes. I kept to my comfort items and dared not mix something that sounded odd. I just mixed cinnamon and cumin today. That weirded me out but it made a fantastic salad! This looks excellent, I’ll give it a try!

  15. jeanne

    Hi, I came over from Mary’s Blog as she gave you a shout out.

    I had a chuckle about your comment about strange ingredients. You described me. I am a bit more interested in trying those recipes but still hesitant to go forth. This recipe sounds fabulous but it is quite involved. We’ll see.

    I see some of your previous posts and just the titles are fun and different.

    Nice to meet you.
    Hugs, Jeanne

  16. Namcy

    I made this last night. Wow! This is such a flavorful dish. The chicken was so tender & juicy. I served the chicken with Jasmine rice that I cooked using the left over coconut milk as some of the liquid.I will be making this again. So,so delish!

  17. Kathryn

    I too am trying to be more open, but one thing I can not be open to is cilantro—-it is a torture for me to eat. What are your thoughts about subbing regular parsley or is it integral to the flavor? Thanks!

  18. Heather B

    This chicken is one of my new favorite recipes. I substituted thighs and drumsticks (bone in/skin on) for a more authentic feel and had my husband grill the marinated meat. It was AMAZING!!! Thanks!

  19. Heather B

    Kathryn…I’d try basil as it is part of the thai tradition that this recipe draws on.

  20. Semone

    This looks good…but its just curry chicken, in our Jamaican household we make it all the time. Soy sauce is needed to make it. The only diff, is instead of chicken breast we use chopped up chicken and minus the lime. But it looks good though!

  21. Becca

    This was *divine*–really flavorful and complex. Our whole family loved it with Jasmine rice. Thank you!!

  22. Leslie in VA

    Looks yummy! I will add it to my next month menu. Reminds me of chicken piri piri which is a huge hit in the house!

  23. torylynne

    #23 on the list of people saying “holy crap this was delicious”… yup, that’s me!

  24. Kellie

    Found you on Pinterest, thought this meal was delicious! My kids gobbled it down, which is always a bonus. Thanks for sharing!

  25. Michelle

    Made this for dinner last night and it was amazing! Thanks for the recipe!

  26. Denise

    Just finished eating this. SO GOOD!!! I doubled the sauce but wish I’d tripled it.

  27. Liz

    Absolutely deeeelllliiissshhhh!

  28. Van

    I just made this for dinner and it is fantastic. This will definitely become a favourite for something special on the weekends.

  29. Lisa

    Looks super yummy–I bet it would be great with fish as well–I just may have to try that this week ;)

  30. Noel J OKC

    If you’re concerned about marinade on your plate- grill this! It was awesome. Flavors go perfectly together. We seared both sides on grill, high heat, 3-5 minutes each side, then moved over to medium heat and checked. Because they’re butterflied AND pounded they actually cook pretty quickly. But we marinated at each turn- it used up the marinade but we didn’t need any sauce at all. It was more like a tandoori coating because of the coconut milk this way, but a beautiful spicy yellow color, thick, which preserved the juice inside. With a salad, saffron cashew basmati rice and grilled corn we had the best end-of-summer meal in a long time!

  31. Becky

    Made this for dinner tonight, with a few changes (due to missing ingredient and a 6 year old’s taste buds joining me for dinner!), and OMG!!! LOVE it!!!! So did she!

    This is going to be one of my new regulars!

  32. Nichole

    Can I marinade it for more like 9 hours while I’m at work?..

  33. Elmira

    could I barb-que this?

  34. Dianne

    Made it for dinner tonight, it was great. I would omit the kosher salt,as I found it a bit salty, and it doesn’t need extra salt with the soy sauce in it. It was very delish!!

  35. KIm

    Made this for dinner tonight. It was a huge hit with the whole family. Wonderful flavours and the chicken was extremely tender. Thanks for the great recipe!!

  36. Stephanie

    Sounds delicious! Like Kathryn, I too can’t take the taste of cilantro so thanksfor the idea to replace with basil :)

  37. Kelley

    I made this and then used the leftovers to make a Thai Lo Mein-it was fabulous!!!! I cut up the chicken, tossed it with steamed carrots. snow peas, peas, water chestnuts, red pepper & green onion and some spaghetti.

  38. Michelle

    I made this last night. I grilled the chicken after marinating and ended it in the oven. It was delicious.
    Thank you for the recipe!

  39. Nancy W

    I just made this for dinner and it was fabulous! I used boneless, skinless thighs. There was no need to flatten. I also used the Serrano pepper and it gave it flavor, but it was not hot. Hubby loved it! Thanks for posting this.

  40. Marianne Hanna

    My husband is such a picky when it comes to food! I made him this and his eyes simply glared while he was eating! great recipe!

  41. Valerie

    I made this for dinner tonight and…wow. This dish is incredible. I was expecting it to be good, but I couldn’t get enough. I wish I had doubled it!!
    To the ladies asking if they can replace cilantro with basil…I left the cilantro out completely (just forgot it), and I didn’t even miss it. It was that good!

  42. Emily

    I made this recipe for my family the other day and it was a great success! Thanks x

  43. Christine

    Wow! All my favorite flavors together; can’t wait to make this!

  44. Jaimi

    This was fantastic. Will definitely go into the normal rotation!

  45. Leslie

    This was wonderful!!! The flavor combinations were delightful!!

  46. Jan

    Made this for supper tonight. Delicious and easy too! I used a cut up whole chicken and grilled it. The flavors are so layered with just a nice spiciness. Similar to a jerk marinade I would say.The chicken stayed so moist. Yum!

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  48. Jennie

    This was amazing! Thank you so much for packing a punch with the flavor profile!

    Soy-free folks – used coconut aminos and it turned out great!

  49. kelly

    Looks so so so good. Can the chicken marinade longer than the two hours? Like all day?

  50. kelly

    Yes it can! Made it today. Loved it.

  51. mj

    Made this for my family tonight and all 3 kids and hubbs loved it! This is a keeper. Thank you for sharing.

  52. Rose

    So good! My husband and I both had 2nds and so did our 2 year old! Now I am bummed I didn’t make enough to have leftovers for lunch :-) Pinning this for sure!

  53. Lisa

    You probably don’t care because this post is so old, but I just saw this on Pinterest and it went to someone else’s website. She claimed to review pins and let the rest of us know if it’s good. She used your exact photo and some of your exact words. Weird! I don’t know because I’m not a blogger, but this would bug me.

  54. Courtney

    This dish is WONDERFUL! <3 I did change it up a bit because I didn't have everything I needed on hand. Instead of the curry powder I added fresh minced garlic, and instead of hot chilies I added a little crushed red pepper. It still came out delicious! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. It will definitely be added to my dinner rotations! :)

  55. Yvette

    I made this for dinner this week and it was wonderful! My husband calls it Thai chicken I just think its great. For all you who are scared to put in that hot pepper it didn’t really so anything crazy like make the dish really hot. I think it just added to the flavor. We marinated our chicken overnight and it still did excellent. This is 100% a keeper!! Thanks for posting.

  56. Rose

    What a great recipe! I am making this later this week because it was such a hit last time. Great left-overs too :-) Thanks!

  57. Chanda Ji

    I have made this recipe a lot of times now and it is always an all kill for whoever I make it for! They love it, I haven’t met one person who doesn’t love it and ask how to make it. I usually add a bit more spices and lime because I looove lime. I will make homemade mango salsa to go on top as well, one of my all time favorite meals.

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  59. Lee Heltemes

    This is one of the best recipes I’ve made in a long time! Now when I have get together everyone wants me to make this!

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  61. Pauline Park

    Hi Katie
    I dont known how you came to come up with these ingredients, but you got it spot on, I made this today, and it went down a treat!!
    we will certainly be having this again!!.
    Thank you.

  62. Pauline Park

    Hi Katie
    today I tried this recipe, the spices, lime and coconut were perfection!!my husband and I loved it! and will certainly be having it again!!
    Thank you.

  63. Kobe

    I made this the other day and it was quick and delicious. I used reduced fat coconut milk to lower the fat a tad. Butterflying the chicken was simple and made the chicken cook fast…just don’t overcook it :)

  64. Gina

    Great meal!!

  65. Pappa T

    I made this lime and coconut tonight. Oh what a meal. My wife thinks black pepper is too hot for her but she is full of praise for this meal. We had it with rice and my wife said you would probably pay £40 / $60 for that.
    She even wants me to cook it for her friends…

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  67. madcatcasey

    This is one of our favorite chicken dishes. It’s very flavorful but not overly spicy. I grill the chicken and add the remaining coconut milk to the marinade cooked up in step 8 and/or in the white rice I serve with the chicken.

  68. Karen

    Made this tonight and I really like the spice (I love curry!) but it was way too salty. Next time I’ll delete most of the salt since it has so much soy sauce in it already.

  69. Recipe Review: Lime and Coconut Chicken | 2 Cats and a Kitchen

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About chaos

cha·os -noun 1. a condition or place of great disorder or confusion. My chaotic kitchen is the result of three kids, two adults, dog, cat, and fish, a food obsession, a wine drinking hobby, and too few hours in the day. Between trying to feed a family of five healthy, happy meals, watching my weight, saving my pennies, and staying partially sane I have picked up a few tricks along the way. So here they are: the very best tips, tricks, and recipes from my chaotic kitchen-to yours!

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