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

71 Responses

  1. mj

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

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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! 🙂

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. The Joy of Cooking & the Internet | Megnanimously

    […] Above: Chicken with a lime & coconut milk sauce.  The recipe can be found here. […]

  9. 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!

  10. Grilling Recipes Roundup | Jonesin' For Taste

    […] Lime and Coconut Chicken-Chaos In The Kitchen […]

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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 🙂

  14. Gina

    Great meal!!

  15. 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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  17. 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.

  18. 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.

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  21. Crista

    The first time I made this, the sauce was so salty (I may have doubled the salt… not sure) and gritty(old spices) I added another 1/2+ cup coconut milk and 1/2 a lime worth of juice. Still way to salty. I almost threw it out without even marinating any chicken.

    A friend thought it would be ok so I used 1 chicken thigh. It was decent.

    However, I went and got fresh spices from The Spice Merchant (local spice store) and cut the Salt and Soy Sauce (I use low sodium) by 1/2-1/3. Think I added some additional lime.. but not sure. Oh and my coconut milk is the 70% cream kind.

    Marinated for 5 hours (/ashamed I was too lazy to pound or fat trim my chicken thighs) Chicken was really tasty, especially with the lime squeeze and cilantro.

    Boiled the sauce for a few minutes. It broke :(. Thankfully I still had Coconut Milk so added 1/4-3/4 cup and low low simmered for a few. Seriously… I could drink the sauce! Great over the chic and rice.

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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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