• Yield: Serves 2 to 4

Don’t shake the can of coconut milk before opening it—you’ll use the layer of cream on top in this sweet and spicy dressing, which is mellowed by the cooling iceberg lettuce and rich dark-meat chicken. Transfer the unused coconut milk to a clean jar and refrigerate it for making soup or a curry (it will hold for several days).


  • 1/2 red jalapeño, Fresno, or serrano chile, finely grated

  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated

  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated

  • 4 tablespoons coconut cream from 1 small can unsweetened full-fat coconut milk

  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice, plus wedges for serving

  • Kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, patted dry

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1/2 head iceberg lettuce, leaves torn into palm-size pieces

  • Handful of cilantro leaves and tender stems, torn

Where Cooking Begins by Carla Lalli Music


In a large bowl, combine chile, garlic, ginger, coconut cream, and lime juice. Season with salt and stir to combine. Stir in coconut and taste dressing: It should be fairly tangy, spicy, and salty to balance the mild iceberg. Dressing may seize and seem very thick, but it will loosen up when tossed with the salad.

Working with one thigh at a time, place chicken between two sheets of plastic wrap and use a meat mallet or rolling pin to pound out to 1/2-inch thickness. This will shorten cooking time and creates more surface area for crisping. Season cutlets on both side s with salt.

Place a 10- or 12-inch skillet, preferably cast-iron, over medium-high heat. Add oil and when it shimmers, place cutlets carefully into pan and cook, undisturbed, until well browned on underside and almost completely cooked through, about 5 minutes. Turn chicken and cook for about 1 minute on second side. Transfer cutlets to a platter or two dinner plates.

Add iceberg and cilantro to bowl with dressing and toss to coat. Taste the lettuce and add more salt and/or lime juice if needed. Serve cutlets and salad with lime wedges for squeezing over

Reprinted from Where Cooking Begins: Uncomplicated Recipes To Make You a Great Cook. Copyright © 2019 by Carla Lalli Music. Photographs copyright © 2019 Gentl and Hyers. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.

When you shop using our links, we earn a small commission. It’s a great way to support public media at no extra cost to you!