To make the baste, heat the oil in a small frying pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion, garlic and chili and cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes or until the onion is softened and starting to brown. Transfer to a large shallow bowl. Add the spices and the lime rind and juice, and stir well to mix.
Make a few shallow slits in each piece of chicken, then add to the bowl. Turn the pieces to coat thoroughly with the baste, rubbing it into the slits in the meat. Cover and leave to marinate at room temperature for 1 hour or in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
Prepare a charcoal barbecue. When it has burned down to coals covered with grey ash, remove the chicken pieces from the marinating baste and barbecue them for 20–25 minutes, turning and brushing frequently with the baste, until cooked all the way through.
Alternatively, preheat the broiler. Arrange the chicken pieces on the broiler rack and cook until done.
Serve the chicken hot, garnished with the lime wedges.
For a red wine and thyme baste, fry the onion and garlic in the oil with 2 fresh bay leaves and 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves. Add 3⁄4 cup red wine and 1⁄2 teaspoon coarse black pepper.
For a maple syrup and orange baste, fry the onion and garlic in the oil, then add 4 tablespoons maple syrup, the grated rind and juice of 1 orange, 1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon.