Thai food is one of the genres of food I really love and that always feels like comfort food to me! It used to be my go-to before I started eating Paleo, and it’s our favorite date night when we decide to eat out these days. I have to admit though, this Paleo and Whole30 friendly coconut lime chicken really takes me back to a trip to Thailand several years ago. It’s so flavorful, fresh and satisfying!
Back In Time
Many years ago I traveled to Thailand – it was the most spontaneous thing I’d ever done in my life. I purchased my airfare the week before I left and then packed up, hopped on a plane and met a couple of friends in Seoul, Korea where we boarded another plane to Bangkok. I’m not spontaneous or a risk-taker (at least I wasn’t then, but I’ll get into that more later). And then out of nowhere, this trip was the most soul-lifting experience, a much-needed rest and recovery, and it was also so much fun! The first time we made this Paleo and Whole30 coconut lime chicken, I was taken right back to my time in Thailand. Isn’t it funny and cool how scents and tastes can transcend time and put you right back into a memory?! If you’ve ever been to Thailand or had authentic Thai food like Tom Kha soup, you will get what I’m talking about when you taste this coconut lime chicken. You’ll feel like you just sat down to table full of all the tasty family style dishes.
Maybe The Beginning Of My Healing Journey
I believe the food in Thailand can vary a bit depending where you are located in the country, but some of my favorite dishes came from the street food on the coast of Krabi – these women and their daughters would cook you up the most delicious meals right there at their little street carts, and it was so fresh and authentic. I had no idea until then that butter and egg yolks were naturally more of an orange color than the dull yellow many of us are accustomed to in the United States. But the flavors, the textures, the smells, all of it was so amazing. And every time we make this coconut lime chicken I am reminded of how fondly I look back on this trip. And it was not too long after my visit to Thailand that I started looking into my diet and lifestyle more. I came home feeling so happy, relaxed and nourished, and I really started to wonder why. I started to take a more honest look at my life and what I was doing, where and how I was spending my energy and what was and was not serving me.
Hindsight Is 20/20
I didn’t figure it out quickly and really these were the just the beginnings of building blocks – and let’s be fully transparent here – I still don’t have it all figured out. But what I do know looking back is that I probably felt so good when I got home because so many of the daily stresses and worries were removed from my life for almost two full weeks. I ate real food in its most natural state, and spent time in nature. I had no idea that all these things have such a huge impact at the time, but slowly from this trip forward I started making changes. I gave up a more high-profile, super stressful job and moved to a less stressful and less time-consuming role. I began teaching barre classes more and spending more time mentoring others (a passion of mine). I can see now that all these pieces were starting to fall into place, little by little like building blocks.
Taking Risks + Living Out Loud
Like I said at the beginning of this post – I’m not super spontaneous or much of a risk taker (or at least I wasn’t and neither was Justin). I would say I’m still not overly spontaneous, but I’ve gotten more comfortable taking risks, and what I’m learning is that all the magic is there when you step outside of your comfort zone. Tip your toes in the water right outside your comfort zone. Just see how it feels. Does it excite you? Does it scare you? Does it make your soul shine? The answers are probably yes to all of the above.
And for reals, Justin and I both decided to take the biggest risk of our lives to date just about two years ago – we quit our stressful, corporate jobs, sold our houses and moved to a smaller town. We set up shop in our in-home office and started working on this blog full-time, creating delicious yet easy and approachable Paleo and Whole30 recipes, like this coconut lime chicken.
We decided for maybe the first time in our lives to follow our passion and our hearts. It was crazy! Our families thought we were insane! They thought we just needed a break from real life for a little while. But here’s the thing – we realized that “real life” is whatever you make it to be, and we decided we wanted to live life on our own terms. To create the kind of life we love waking up to every day, to help people and develop deeper, more meaningful connections with one another and others.
Some Other Thai + Asian Inspired Recipes To Try
- SWEET POTATO CHICKEN PAD THAI
- PALEO POTSTICKER NOODLE BOWLS
- CHOPPED THAI SHRIMP SALAD
- SPICY PINEAPPLE CAULI FRIED RICE
- PALEO ASIAN MEATBALLS NOODLE BOWL
Your Turn To Try Our Coconut Lime Chicken
Quick, easy and full of flavor – you’ll love this coconut lime chicken! Make some, and then turn it into a bowl by adding some greens and rice or cauliflower rice. You know…bowls are life! Let us know it goes by leaving a comment below. Also, take a photo and tag us on Instagram @realsimplegood, so we can check it out! Already follow us on Instagram?! Great! If not, make sure to give us a follow, so we can stay connected!
Coconut Lime Chicken (Paleo, Whole30 + Keto)
- 1 shallot, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated on a microplane
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (plus more for topping)
- 1/3 cup lime juice (about 2 limes)
- 4 chicken breasts see notes
- 2 tbsp avocado oil (or coconut oil)
- 1.5 cups full fat coconut milk see notes
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- Salt and pepper
- Lime slices for topping (optional)
- Prep shallot, garlic, ginger and cilantro as noted. Juice limes and set aside.
- Place the chicken breasts between two pieces of parchment paper and pound them down to make them even in thickness. Sprinkle each side of the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add avocado oil.
- Once hot, add the chicken to the pan (you may have to cook the chicken in 2 batches depending on the size of your pan). Cook, without disturbing for 3-4 minutes, until a nice brown crust has formed. Flip and cook another 3-4 minutes on the other side, until the chicken is mostly cooked through.
- Remove chicken from the skillet and set aside. Lower the heat to medium.
- Add more oil if needed and add the garlic and shallot to the pan. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes.
- Add chicken broth, coconut milk, lime juice, ginger and cilantro to the pan. Stir to mix, scraping up any browned bits remaining in the pan from when you cooked your chicken.
- Add the chicken breasts back to the skillet with the sauce. Cover and turn heat down to low. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked.
- Serve with vegetables, potatoes, rice or cauli rice. Spoon some sauce over everything for serving. Sprinkle with cilantro and garnish with lime slices (optional).
- You can use chicken thighs instead of breasts for this recipe. You should not have to pound the thighs (step 2). Adjust cooking time if needed to ensure the chicken is fully cooked.
- We use Aroy-D brand full-fat coconut milk. This is the thickest, creamiest coconut milk we have found. If you use a canned brand like Thai Kitchen or Native Forest, the milk might not be as thick and you can omit the chicken broth.