That Chicken You’re All Asking About

A lot of you have been asking about Mark Bittman’s cornmeal-crusted chicken with soy-lime sauce that I mentioned in the “You Make it, You Own it” section of my book. That chapter, as most of you know, was all about the practically signed-in-blood rule of law in our kitchen, wherein if one person in the couple cooks something new and it’s a keeper, then that person own’s it — i.e. it’s his or her job to prepare this recipe from then on out, ad infinitum. Well a funny thing happened. So many of you wrote to me requesting the page number for the recipe in How to Cook Everything that I was forced to look it up for the first time (remember: it’s an “Andy-owned” dish) and was subsequently reminded of how freaking good it was. Why did this recipe follow the similar trajectory of Alanis Morrisette and Snackwells, and fall out of favor in our house by the end of the 90s? Why had it been so long? It’s so easy and calls for soy sauce which is almost better than saying “it’s covered with a chocolate shell” in my house. Of course this meant I needed to breach our contract and make it immediately. So I guess this now means we share ownership? Uncharted territory here, so not sure how to proceed.

Chicken with Soy-Lime Sauce
For those of you who have How to Cook Everything, it’s on page 391 (I have the first edition, with the yellow cover; For those of you who have other editions it’s called “Sauteed Chicken Cutlets with Lime Sauce” and I’m sure you could look it up in the index.) For those of you who do not have HtCE, first why don’t you? And second, here is a slightly adapted version of Bittman’s so you can try it out for yourself.

oil (olive or vegetable)
1 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 pounds chicken (breasts or thighs) pounded thin, salted and peppered
1 garlic clove, minced
3 to 4 scallions, chopped
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce
juice of one lime
cilantro, chopped for garnish

Add oil to a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Pour cornmeal onto a dinner plate and dredge chicken pieces so they are completely covered, then drop into hot skillet. Try not to crowd the pan. (I always do, but this is because of a deep behavioral flaw. Please don’t follow suit.) Rotate and flip for a total of about 8 minutes until chicken is firm to the touch but not rock hard. As you cook your chicken, remove to a platter and tent with foil to keep warm. Add a little more oil with each new batch.

When all your pieces have been cooked, add a little more oil, then cook garlic and scallions, about one minute. Add chicken broth, soy sauce, and lime juice, turn heat up and cook until it reduces slightly, about 30 seconds. Drizzle pan sauce over platter of chicken. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

I served with snow peas that had been quickly sauteed in olive oil, then sprinkled with salt, pepper, lemon, and feta.

Note: How to Cook Everything is one of the dozen or so cookbooks I consistently rely on to get dinner on the table. Please see pages 45-59 of my book (the chapter called “Starter Cookbooks”) for the others.

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Sounds delish! I canNOT wait until I receive DALS! By my count, I have three more weeks? PATIENTLY tapping my foot 🙂


This was great. We made it for dinner tonight. It was on the table so fast, came together so easily. The cornmeal flavor really came through and the sauce was perfect, although we added a tsp of brown sugar because we overdid the lima a bit. It was even well received by the kids. And my husband and I thought the snow peas with lemon and feta were inspired. Thanks again for another great, easy dinner. You rock.


I made this for dinner last night, and it was a hit! My husband took one bite and had a Quantum Leap moment, the only thing out of his mouth was “Oh, Boy!”


Wow, I completely forgot about this recipe – it was a standard for about a year there and I don’t remember the last time I’ve made it. Thanks for the reminder.

Katherine @ eggton

Seriously! Why did I stop eating Snackwells? They were delicious at the time. I think that was around the same time I was drinking at least one Clearly Canadian per day. . .


We prepared the chicken for dinner tonight. My husband, both daughters and I really liked it. Thanks for sharing another great meal idea.


Finally made this (using thighs) for dinner and it was a huge hit! Added a diced spicy pepper to the pan sauce and served with wilted kale. It’s a keeper! I love how easy the cornmeal crust is, and how it lets me avoid the dreaded egg, flour, panko stations 🙂


So I don’t have cornmeal in the house, but have everything else. Can I use masa or breadcrumbs instead?



I expected this to be a “pretty good for a weeknight” meal. It immediately went onto our regular rotation–wow! The sauce was so good.

^Leigh, having made it, I don’t see any reason why this wouldn’t be good with breadcrumbs! Go for it!


I just made this tonight and while it was really good, I have a couple of questions. I used stone ground cornmeal- should I have just used regular cornmeal? The stone ground was pretty chunky and didn’t really stick well. It also seemed really tough to chew. I’ll probably use normal cornmeal next time.

Also, how thick/thin is the sauce supposed to be? I ended up reducing it for longer because I wanted it slightly thicker and syrupy. It didn’t really get there, so I might use a little corn starch next time. It was really good though! I loved the lime/soy combo!

sara mae

This is soooooo good!! My man looooves it! Ive made it with chicken and pork chops. OMG i love it and its so quick and simple