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Creamy Coconut Lime Chicken

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Creamy Coconut Lime ChickenCoconut and lime is a classic flavour pairing. The acidity of the lime balances the fatness of the coconut milk beautifully. Consequently, with just two simple ingredients you can truly elevate your meal. A few decades ago I bought a book called The Flavor Bible. It chronicles the flavour pairings and other tips top chefs use to make food taste great. The entry on limes describes how acidity awakens flavours. And among all the pairings listed, the strongest recommendations included coconut/coconut milk, chili peppers and cilantro. All of these are included in this recipe for Creamy Coconut Lime Chicken, so no wonder it tastes so good!

Fish was also strongly recommended as a flavour pairing, so feel free to substitute fish or shellfish in this recipe (just be sure to adjust the cooking times). Ginger pairs beautifully, too. If you have fresh ginger on hand to grate into this dish, I’d go for it. To make the dish vegetarian/vegan, swap in chickpeas or tofu.

Sign up to my newsletter today to receive the recipe for Creamy Coconut Lime Chicken. And read on for what to look for when purchasing coconut milk and for these bonus recipes to round out the menu:

  • Roasted Curried Cauliflower
  • Cucumber & Lime Fresca

I hope you enjoy the recipes! And I highly recommend you have a look at the book as well. It includes “Flavour Matchmaking Charts” that are extremely handy. As the authors write, “understanding what herbs, spices, and other seasonings will best bring out the flavor of whatever it is you’re cooking is some of the most important knowledge any cook can master.”

You put the lime in the coconut  …

The lime part is pretty straightforward.  Fresh lime juice is best and, if you use organic limes, you can even grate some lime peel over the finished dish as well for an extra zesty presentation. When it comes to coconut milk, however, there are a lot of options out there and some are better than others.  So here’s the skinny on coconut milk.

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Creamy Coconut Lime ChickenFirst of all, avoid light/lite coconut milk. In order to arrive at the appropriate creamy texture, these “lite” versions include additives and thickeners that aren’t very savoury. So buy full-fat. And, whenever possible, choose a brand that contains only coconut and water. Cha’s Organics Premium Coconut Milk fits the bill. It’s ingredients are: organic coconut, water. That’s it, that’s all. Always purchase unsweetened. Even if you are buying it to make a dessert, you are far better off adding your own sweeteners so you can control the quality and amount you use.

When buying any product, it is important to read the label. Be sure you don’t accidentally purchase coconut cream, which is significantly higher in fat and would make this recipe far too rich. Finally, consider the packaging as well as the contents. When buying canned coconut milk, be sure the cans are BPA-free.

And drink ’em both up.

This Cucumber & Lime Fresca is a refreshing lime-based drink to serve along with this recipe. And it’s alcohol-free. Other good non-alcoholic beverage pairings include low/no alcohol beers (such as Partake) or low-sugar kombuchas. One of my favourites with this dish is the Pear Ginger Kombucha from The Alchemy Pickle Company. I like to dilute my kombucha with sparkling water so a little goes a long way.

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Roasted Curried CauliflowerThe recipe doesn’t include any vegetables, so don’t forget to prepare some to round out the meal. One easy way to do this is to add handfuls of baby spinach or baby kale at the end and stir them until they wilt down. Or, for something a little more Caribbean in style, you could sauté up some callaloo or collard greens. When I made this the other day, I served it up with this Roasted Curried Cauliflower and it was delicious!

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