Thai coconut chicken is dressed up with the bright flavors of fresh lime… (Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles…)
Chicken doesn't have to be boring. Show it a little love with a flavorful marinade and chicken can be downright amazing. Why not dress up your chicken with bright, fresh lime and lemongrass, a little sesame oil and coconut milk, a touch of brown sugar and a hint of heat from some fresh Thai chiles? A Thai coconut marinade is simple, and comes together in minutes. The trick is to give the chicken enough time to properly marinate, so the flavor really soaks in -- this may not be dinner tonight, but it's a perfect dish for this weekend. Get the chicken marinating the night before, or first thing in the morning. When dinnertime rolls around, throw the chicken on the grill -- or bake it in the oven -- and serve it alongside a quick salad and dinner is done.
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Thai coconut chicken
Total time: 20 minutes plus marinating and grilling time
Note: Galangal (a large root similar to ginger) and Thai basil can be found at Asian markets.
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 to 3 Thai chiles, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
3 tablespoons grated galangal or ginger
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup chopped Thai purple or regular basil
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
1/4 cup finely chopped lemongrass (tough outer leaves removed)
Zest of 1 lime, finely grated
Juice of 4 limes
1 (13 1/2 -ounce) can coconut milk
1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 (4- to 6-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1. In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, chiles, garlic, galangal, cilantro, basil, green onions, lemongrass, lime zest and juice, coconut milk, sesame oil and fish sauce. Add the chicken pieces and toss to coat.
2. Place the chicken and marinade in a large, sealable plastic bag. Squeeze out the air and seal the bag. Place the bag in the refrigerator and marinate the chicken overnight, up to 24 hours.
3. Remove the chicken from the marinade and grill on an oiled rack over medium-high heat until the meat is firm and the juices run clear and a thermometer inserted reads 165 degrees. Place chicken on a platter and set aside for a few minutes before serving.
Each serving: 432 calories; 48 grams protein; 3 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 24 grams fat; 9 grams saturated fat; 147 mg. cholesterol; 252 mg. sodium.