Next time you want to mix up your grilling, try Thai grilled chicken with sweet chili sauce. Smoky, sweet and spicy, it’s a south-east asian flavour explosion.
I’m always looking for better ways to grill chicken. Different ways. Anything to avoid serving grilled chicken with BBQ sauce. I’m not saying grilled chicken with BBQ sauce is bad. It’s a staple. It’s easy. The fact that every supermarket sells 6200 types of BBQ sauce tells me it’s popular.
It also tells me everyone is doing it. Run of the mill. Boring even. Burn a little chicken. Hide it with some Bull’s Eye BBQ sauce. Sound familiar?
Doesn’t have to be like that. Thai grilled chicken isn’t boring or run of the mill. It is a double layer of big flavours. A good soak in a blend of red thai chili paste, garlic and ginger makes sure of that. And if that’s not enough it’s paired with a sweet Thai chili dipping sauce. Big bold marinade meets big bold dipping sauce.
The chicken and marinade could easily stand on it’s own. Try it some time. Totally works. Same with the sweet Thai chili sauce. You can use that as a sauce for anything grilled. Put them together… Now your in crazy territory.
Grilling technique figures here as well. Charcoal is better but gas will work too. A mix of direct and indirect heat. Start your chicken over indirect heat. You want the temperature high. Like 450-500F.
When it’s almost done put a few pieces over the direct heat. Let it char a bit. Get some grill marks. Watch it closely though. There’s sugar in the marinade. Sugar burns easily. When they are just right move them back to the indirect zone and repeat with a few more pieces. Keep going until all the chicken is just the way you want it.
Flavourful marinade. Smarter cooking technique. A really, really good home-made sauce. A bit of smoke. Thai grilled chicken with sweet chili sauce isn’t a whole lot more work. But it’s a whole lot tastier.
Kissed with smoke, this Thai grilled chicken with sweet chili sauce is sure to please.
- 8 pieces chicken I used boned, skin-on chicken thighs
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 5 good sized sprigs of cilantro leaves, stems and even roots if you have them
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp fish sauce
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper - white is more authentic if you have it
- 1 1/2 Tbsp Thai red chili paste
- 2 Tbsp neutral vegetable oil
- 3 Tbsp sambal oelek chili paste
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
- 2/3 cup white sugar
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 tsp cornstarch
- good handful of chopped cilantro
- Combine all the ingredients except the chicken in a food processor and pulse until you get a smooth paste.
- Toss the marinade with the chicken and set aside for up to an hour.
Prepare your grill for indirect heat. Place a drip pan under the chicken. Grill, skin side up, for about 10 minutes. Turn the chicken and continue to grill another 5 minutes. Keep the grill lid down for this step.
- Working with two or three pieces at a time, place the chicken over direct heat and grill to crisp and colour the skin. The lid stays up the whole time. It will flare up so be ready to move it out of the way. Repeat until all the chicken is coloured up.
Return the chicken to indirect heat, cover again and cook until an instant read thermometer registers 160 for white meat and 170 for dark meat. Allow the chicken to rest briefly and serve with sweet Thai chili sauce.
Combine all the ingredients except the cilantro. Stir to combine thoroughly and heat, over medium low heat until it comes to a gentle boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
When cool, add the chopped cilantro and stir to combine.
The sweet Thai chili sauce is from Mai Pham's The Best of Vietnamese and Thai Cooking. I have never found a better one. It's a really good book. If you can find a copy, grab it.
When you add the cornstarch the sauce will turn this horrible pasty white colour. Don't freak out. It will go clear once it reaches the boiling point.
The Thai red chili paste is available in most grocery stores and all Asian markets. My favourite is a brand called Maesri but pretty much anything will work.