Coconut-Lime Curried Chicken

As an up-and-coming chef, I did several stints cooking on cruise ships in the Caribbean. I loved getting out at each port and tasting the local food. That's when I discovered Trinidadian curry, which I've re-created here, adding touches of Asia with the ginger and lime. You can serve it with noodles, couscous, quinoa, rice -- whatever you've got on hand that is quick and delicious -- but my choice would be roti (Indian flatbread).
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 30 min
  • Active: 20 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Ingredients

2 tablespoons canola oil, plus more as needed

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 tablespoons red curry paste (see Cook's Note)

4 tablespoons cilantro leaves and tender stems, roughly chopped

1 medium yellow onion, sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

One 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 limes halved lengthwise, plus grated zest and juice of 1 lime

2 sprigs thyme, leaves stripped

One 15-ounce can coconut milk

1/4 cup water

2 cups cooked rice (optional)

4 fresh mint leaves, chopped

1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon raisins

2 tablespoons toasted unsweetened coconut flakes

Directions

  1. Put the 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet and turn the heat to medium. 
  2. Meanwhile, season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper on each side. Add 2 tablespoons of the curry paste and half of the cilantro. Massage the chicken, rubbing in the curry paste and cilantro.
  3. When the oil is shimmering, add the chicken in one layer and cook until browned, about 3 minutes per side. Remove to a plate. The chicken will not be cooked through at this point.
  4. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and 1 tablespoon of the butter. Season with salt and pepper. Add a drizzle of oil if the skillet looks dry and stir together. Clear some space in the skillet and add 2 of the lime halves cut-side down. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons curry paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent and the garlic is slightly golden, about 5 minutes. During this time, leave the limes cut side down. Return the chicken to the skillet. Sprinkle with most of the lime zest and reserve the rest for garnish. Add the thyme leaves and bring to a simmer. Remove the lime halves.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir in the coconut milk, water and half of the lime juice. Bring to a simmer. Add the rice, if using, and stir together. Add half of the remaining chopped herbs and all of the remaining lime juice. Flip the chicken to coat, add the raisins and continue to simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened and the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and the chopped herbs and squeeze in more lime juice, as desired.
  6. Garnish with the coconut and reserved lime zest and serve.

Cook’s Note

You'll find red curry paste in most supermarkets.

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