Coconut-Lime Flattened Chicken

Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 1 hr
Serves: 4

This is the chicken to do when you want a knock out recipe for a summer evening or a dinner to whisk you to warmer climes in the dead of winter’s cold grip. It takes just a few minutes to prep and then a day of marinating to soak in the best of the Island’s enticing flavours – creamy coconut, lime, cumin and coriander.


3 lb (1.4 kg) whole chicken
400 ml can coconut milk
1 large lime or 2 small limes
1 tbsp (15 mL) ground cumin
1 tbsp (15 mL) ground coriander
2 tsp (10 mL) dried red pepper flakes or hot-garlic chili sauce (optional)
1 tsp (5 mL) coarse salt
1 tbsp (15 mL) cornstarch


1 Set chicken on a cutting board facing breast side down. Using kitchen shears or a sharp knife, cut lengthwise along both sides of the backbone. It will be about 2 inches (5 cm) wide. Remove. Then flip bird over and firmly press down or pound on the breastbone and legs to flatten.
2 So marinade can penetrate chicken flesh, poke a metal skewer all the way through chicken to the bones or cutting board. Repeat about 100 times making the tiny holes very close together all over the bird. Place chicken in a large plastic bag.
3 Pour coconut milk into a bowl. Whisk until even in texture and no lumps remain. Slice lime in half. Squeeze out juice and add to coconut milk. Thickly slice the lime skins and set aside. Add cumin, coriander, pepper flakes and salt to coconut milk. Whisk until blended. Pour over chicken. Add sliced lime pieces. Massage outside of bag to make sure lime pieces are evenly distributed. Place bag in a bowl. To make sure it is all covered, hold the top of the bag and twirl the bowl until chicken is completely covered. Hold the bag in place with an elastic close to the chicken portion. Refrigerate for 24 hours, preferably 48 hours.
4 To bake, preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Spray or oil a baking sheet with shallow sides. Remove chicken from marinade and place skin-side up on the pan. Roast, uncovered, for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes until skin is golden and an instant read thermometer inserted at the thickest part of the chicken breast reaches 180°F (82°C). Baste with pan juices occasionally. But if you like crispy skin, don’t baste during the last half hour. Let sit 10 minutes before carving. Or to barbecue, brush off as much of the marinade as you can. Brush the outside of the chicken with vegetable oil and barbecue, covered, on an oiled grill until chicken is cooked through, about 1 hour on medium heat.
5 Meanwhile for a sauce, strain coconut marinade into a saucepan and place over medium heat. Discard lime pieces. Bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Then stir cornstarch with 2 Tbsp (60 mL) water until smooth and pour into the sauce. Stir constantly until thickened as you like, about 3 minutes. Cover and set aside until chicken is cooked.
6 When chicken is done, gently warm sauce over low heat, stirring often, or warm in microwave. Slice chicken into serving pieces and use sauce as a dip.