Kate’s Tasty Asian Chicken Thighs Makes 4–6 servings
These tangy, flavorful chicken thighs, based on a recipe by Anya Von Bremzen and Jon Welchman in their Terrific Pacific Cookbook, go well with Asian Noodle Salad with Sesame Mayonnaise (see recipe below). This recipe calls for grilling, but you can also barbecue the chicken in a smoker for a truly unforgettable dish, and then finish it by crisping the skin on a hot grill. Because this is a relatively complicated recipe to make, Kate likes to do a double batch and freeze half for later enjoyment.
12 chicken thighs (31/2 lb | 1.75 kg), bone in, skin on 2 tsp | 10 mL ground coriander 1 tsp | 5 mL freshly ground black pepper 1 tsp | 5 mL kosher salt 11/2 Tbsp | 22 mL tamarind pulp (Thai is best) 1/3 cup | 75 mL chicken stock or tinned broth, boiling 6 Asian dried red chiles (2 to 3 inches | 5 to 8 cm) 4 large cloves garlic, chopped 3 Tbsp | 45 mL chopped shallots 2 tsp | 10 mL chopped fresh ginger 1 Tbsp | 15 mL chopped fresh lemongrass or 2 tsp | 10 mL grated lime zest 11/2 Tbsp | 22 mL vegetable oil 3 Tbsp | 45 mL dark soy sauce 3 Tbsp | 45 mL packed light brown sugar 11/2 Tbsp | 20 mL rice vinegar 11/2 Tbsp | 20 mL ketchup 1/2 cup | 125 mL finely chopped fresh basil
Rinse the chicken pieces well in cold water and pat them dry with paper towels. Prick the skin all over with the tines of a fork. In a small bowl, combine the coriander, pepper, and salt, and rub the mixture into the chicken pieces. Set the chicken aside. Add the tamarind pulp to the boiling stock, remove it from the heat, and soak it for 15 minutes. Stir the mixture and mash it with a fork to help the tamarind dissolve. Strain it through a fine strainer into a bowl, pressing on the solids with the back of a wooden spoon to extract all the liquid. Discard the tamarind that remains in the strainer and set aside the liquid. Stem the chiles and shake out and discard the seeds. Using scissors, cut the chiles into 1/4-inch | 5-mm pieces. Soak them in warm water to cover for 10 minutes. Drain them well. Combine the chiles, tamarind liquid, garlic, shallots, ginger, lemongrass or lime zest, oil, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, ketchup, and basil in a food processor and process them into a purée. Arrange the chicken in a large, shallow dish and pour the marinade over it. Cover and refrigerate it for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight. Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and pour the marinade into a saucepan. Heat it to a boil and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Taste it and adjust the seasonings. Remove it from the heat and transfer it to a bowl. Prepare your grill for indirect medium heat, with a pan underneath the unheated side of the grill to catch the drippings. Place the chicken on the grill and cook it for 20–25 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 160˚F | 71˚C, basting it every 5 minutes with the marinade. At the last minute, move the chicken thighs to the hot side of the grill and toss them about to crisp the skins, taking care not to burn them. Place the chicken on a serving dish, spoon over the remaining basting sauce, and serve it immediately.
Barbecue Secret Chicken thighs cooked with wood smoke will usually develop a smoke ring—turning the meat close to the outside a characteristic pink color. Inexperienced guests can sometimes mistake this for underdone fowl. Reassure them by making sure you monitor the internal temperature of the meat during cooking and remove the chicken only after it has reached the desired 160°F | 71°C at its thickest part.
Asian Noodle Salad with Sesame Mayonnaise Makes 3–4 servings
This is a great summer salad that goes well with grilled chicken or any Asian-flavored grilled or barbecued meat. I like to use rice spaghetti noodles (as opposed to Asian rice vermicelli, which doesn’t have the same chewiness). You can find rice spaghetti noodles in health food stores, but plain old durum wheat spaghetti also works well.
For the sesame mayonnaise: 1 cup | 250 mL mayonnaise 1 tsp | 5 mL toasted sesame oil 1/2 tsp | 2 mL soy sauce (or to taste) 1 tsp | 5 mL Chinese chili sauce or spicy Szechuan chili oil (or to taste) 1 Tbsp | 15 mL grated fresh lemon, lime or orange rind
For the salad: one 1 lb | 500 g package rice or wheat spaghetti noodles 2 Tbsp | 25 mL chopped cilantro 1 to 2 Tbsp | 15 to 25 mL toasted sesame seeds (to taste) 2 fresh limes, cut into wedges
Combine the dressing ingredients in a bowl, cover it, and refrigerate the sesame mayonnaise for at least a few hours or overnight.
Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water for 8–10 minutes, or until they’re al dente. Drain the noodles and rinse them with cold water. Drain them again thoroughly. Toss them with the sesame mayo, cilantro, and sesame seeds. Serve the salad garnished with lime wedges.
Photo credit: @Copyright John Sinal Photography. Used with permission.