Oh, my word – I’m about to get all up in your grill with this delicious, tropical recipe. And you KNOW I mean your backyard barbecue grill! You can totally make this quick coconut-turmeric-ginger-lime-black pepper chicken on the stovetop or in the oven as well, but the point is, you have to make it, and taste it, and fall madly in love like I did with its creamy, marinated deliciousness…
Recently, I took a trip to Cartagena, Colombia to celebrate my great pal’s 40th birthday. It was a huge source of culinary inspiration – and a fun break from Keto while I, as is required as a chef, tasted every gluten-free item of local cuisine that I could. Buckets of ceviche, fried plantains (patacones) off a cart in the street, amazing meat-and-egg-stuffed arepas, fresh coctele de camarones (shrimp cocktail with mayonnaise-based sauce), and lots and lots of octopus dishes! It was wonderful, and I could pretty much manage only one major meal a day in the heat, so I was not much worse for the wear when I came home physically.
Mentally/emotionally – it was FANTABULOUS. It’s such a great idea to check yourself with new cuisines if you can. I have always been a proponent of traveling the world through your palate if you aren’t able to get on that plane, through restaurant excursions and cooking at home. Julia Child brought France to our kitchens with her revolutionary cookbooks, Yan brought Chinese cuisine to our televisions with “Yan Can Cook”, and there’s some kind of ethnic restaurant – be it Italian, Mexican, Vietnamese, Thai, Japanese, Ethiopian – likely in your hometown. We have opportunities to “travel” and experience new cultures through cuisine everywhere we look!
Anyhow, that short stay in one town in Colombia aroused me to create amazing Keto recipes to share. And the most inspiring meal that my cohorts and I shared on Playa Blanco in the Rosario Islands featured the local take on this dish!
Picture it – white sands, crystal blue waters, brightly colored, leaning thatched-roof buildings all the way down the beach. We asked for a meal, and one of the family members who owned the spot presented us with two fresh red snappers and two Caribbean lobsters for inspection. Believe it or not, I was a little “seafood-ed out” after eight solid days and was really craving chicken, and they were only too happy to accommodate. The meals that came to us all included one of the aforementioned proteins, plus traditional sweet coconut rice, salad, and french fries. I *may* have been a little hungover – I mean, I WAS there for a party – but this feast was ABSOLUTELY DIVINE!
I savored every bite and created a mental checklist of how I could recreate it at home. I probably could have just asked for the recipe, but where’s the mad scientist fun in that? Yellow tint? Turmeric or achiote (annatto). Likely the latter as it’s indigenous, but I like the zillion antioxidant and anti-inflammatory health benefits of turmeric so I decided to go with that. Everybody uses salt & pepper, and a little extra black pepper activates thos turmeric health benefits! Everywhere I looked, I saw wild ginger plants, and also noticed a little zing, so of course I had to add some to my concoction. And the lime? Well, lime is one of the Caribbean’s greatest preservatives, as well as a great source of Vitamin C, AND in some Caribbean islands is the slang word for hanging out. All in all, jumbled up in my mind, this sounded like the makings of a flavor party! And you know what? IT IS!
- 1 lb chicken breasts
- 1 14 oz/400 ml can coconut milk, full fat
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon sea or Himalayan salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (leave out for AIP)
- Juice of ½ lime
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine coconut milk, spices, salt, pepper, and lime juice. Whisk until uniform in color and set aside.
- Place each chicken breast between pieces of Saran Wrap/Cling film/plastic wrap and pound with a meat tenderizer, rolling pin, or side of a wine bottle until ½”/1.25cm thick.
- Place the chicken cutlets into the marinade, cover, and let sit for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator. You can marinate for up to 24 hours.
- Turn on grill to high and allow to warm up.
- Remove chicken from marinade and lightly salt both sides again.
- Grill for 2 – 3 minutes per side, until fully cooked and slightly golden.
- Remove from grill onto serving plate and cover with foil. Set aside.
- Transfer the remaining marinade to a small pan.
- Reduce by half over medium heat.
- Remove foil from serving dish and drizzle sauce over the chicken.
- Garnish with a little black pepper and fresh cilantro if desired, and enjoy!