Spicy Coconut Lime Chicken

The sauce in this dish is a variation of a typical pan sauce. What is a pan sauce? Well it starts with a heavy-bottomed sauté pan. Ideally this is a pan that meat will stick to, not a non-stick pan. Usually a bunch of oil is used to cook the meat, then once the meat has been browned on both sides it is removed to a hot oven and all of the blackened bits (called fond) left in the pan are used to make a delectable sauce. Often times pan sauces use high calorie ingredients like wine, heavy cream and olive oil. This recipe replaces those with lower calorie alternatives: lime juice, coconut milk and non-stick spray. In addition this recipe uses a lean cut of meat in order to decrease the saturated fat in the recipe as well as all the toxins found in fatty meats.

Makes: 2 servings

Preparation time: 5m
Cooking time: 5m
Total time: 30m


  • 1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1" pieces)
  • 2 garlic cloves (diced)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil (sliced into ribbons)
  • 1 teaspoon dried ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (1 fresh lime)
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted coconut
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

Equipment: heavy bottomed sauté pan (do not use non-stick)


  1. Prepare and measure out all of the ingredients before you begin and place into separate bowls. Once you get started everything moves along quickly and you will not have time to do it later. You can put the basil, ginger and cayenne powder in the same bowl if you wish because they all go in at the same time.
  2. Spray a heavy-bottomed sauté pan with non-stick spray and heat over medium-high.
  3. Sprinkle the chicken with a little salt and pepper and place into the preheated sauté pan. Cook the chicken 3-5 minutes on each side until browned and just cooked through then remove from the pan and place into a 200ºF/95ºC oven to keep warm while you cook the sauce.
  4. In the same pan that you had the chicken, toss in the garlic and cook over medium heat for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly so it does not burn.
  5. Add the basil, ginger and cayenne powder. Stir it around until it becomes fragrant, about 10 seconds.
  6. Pour in the lime juice and let it sizzle for 30 seconds. Stir it and scrape the bottom of the pan with your spatula to get all the spices mixed in and scrape up any chicken fond that hopefull is stuck to the pan.
  7. Add the coconut milk, stir and turn the heat up to medium-high. Reduce the sauce until thickened, about 10 minutes. Try to resist the urg to stir while it is reducing. This slows down the process.
  8. Taste and add a little salt if needed. The sauce will probably taste quite a lot like lime juice, that is ok. By itself it is too limey but once you add it to the chicken it is perfect. If you feel that it is way too much lime then add a half cup of coconut milk and reduce an extra 3-5 minutes.
  9. Remove the chicken from the oven, put it onto a plate and pour the sauce over it. Sprinkle INLINE-LINK-START title="toasted coconut" href="http://www.wafflehearts.com/howtos/how-to-toast-coconut" target="_blank">toasted coconut INLINE-LINK-END on top and serve warm with a big leafy green salad.