Did you ever cook something that required only HALF a can of coconut milk? Annoying. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve scrambled to figure out what to do with the other half of that can. Use it to frost a carrot cake? Uh, sure. Whip up a mini Thai curry? Been there, done that.
This chicken is the perfect solution when you don’t feel like baking or simmering a stew.
I have to say, when I first made this dish a few years ago, I did not purposefully set out to replicate the taste of “Cool Ranch” Doritos. I was in my early 20s, still learning the basics of how to pair flavors. I just couldn’t stand to let some random leftover ingredients accumulate in the fridge.
Thankfully, the Great Experiment worked.
I don’t know what it is, but somehow this fragrant, succulent chicken subtly evokes everyone’s favorite tortilla snack flavor. Random, yes – but delicious! I think the combination of citrus, garlic, and spices gives it that reminiscent zing. No matter what, it’s tasty and fairly easy to prepare.
4 chicken legs or other pieces.
1 cup coconut milk (or whatever is left from a half-used can)
1 lime, juiced
2 TB brown sugar
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 TSP fresh ginger, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste.
1 TB soy sauce or fish sauce (optional)
Garlic powder, to taste.
Italian seasoning blend, to taste.
Marinade the chicken a night ahead of cooking, or at least 4 hours in advance. Whisk together the coconut milk, lime juice, brown sugar, garlic, and ginger in a mixing bowl. (Add soy sauce or fish sauce if you want a more savory flavory.) Then sprinkle in salt and pepper to your preference. Place the chicken pieces in a gallon storage bag and pour the marinade over them. Set the bag in a bowl and keep it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake.
Hours later, preheat the over to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the chicken pieces from the bag and place them in a baking dish. They’ll be covered in a thick, white glaze, which might look a little funny, but don’t be alarmed: the sauce will caramelize to a nice yellowish brown in the oven. Sprinkle the garlic powder and Italian seasoning blend over the chicken, along with more salt and pepper. Set in the oven for 1 hour.
When you remove the dish from the oven, allow the chicken to cool for about 10 minutes before serving. They will be surrounded in a delicious coconut lime sauce that has mixed with the chicken juices. Use the sauce to dress the chicken and any veggies you are serving with it. I like to roast some Japanese sweet potatoes and onions in olive oil and soy sauce for this dish – a perfect combo of sweet and savory. Enjoy!