Next time you want to mix up your summer 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?
It’s easy to do better. 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.
- 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
- ½ tsp ground black pepper (white is more authentic if you have it)
- 1½ Tbsp Thai red chili paste
- 2 Tbsp neutral vegetable oil
- 3 Tbsp sambal oelek chili paste
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup rice wine vinegar
- ⅔ cup white sugar
- ⅔ 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.
- 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 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 bowl.
- Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- When cool, add the chopped cilantro.
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.