Thai Chicken

Serve this flavorful dish and you’ll feel like you’re dining at your favorite Thai restaurant… without the hefty price tag! It features economical, low fat chicken thighs, which are marinated in an ensemble of bright Thai flavors. After marinating, simply toss the chicken on the grill or roast. Voila, healthy eating was never so easy!

Ingredients

chicken

  • 3-4 pounds chicken thighs, boneless
  • 1 14oz can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp yellow curry powder
  • 2 Tbsp Thai fish sauce
  • 6-8 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2/3 cup loosely packed cilantro with stems
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp ground black pepper
  • 2-3 Tbsp ginger, roughly chopped

Preperation

  1. Trim skin and fat from chicken thighs.
  2. Score/slash each chicken thigh in 2-3 places then place in oven-proof deep baking dish.
  3. Place remaining ingredients in a blender – coconut milk, yellow curry powder, fish sauce, garlic, cilantro, brown sugar, black pepper, ginger. Blend on medium until smooth.
  4. Pour mixture over chicken and let marinate for 6-24 hours.
  5. Grill or roast chicken.

To Grill: Heat the grill over a medium-high flame. Place chicken on the grill (discard marinade) and cook for about 10 minutes on each side. Cooking time will vary based on the thickness of the chicken, how hot the grill is, and the temperature of the chicken. Chicken should be completely cooked through but cooking too long will make it tough and dry. A meat thermometer placed in the center of a thigh should register 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

To Roast: Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Roast for 30-40 minutes, basting a couple of times with the marinade. Set the oven to broil and broil for 5-10 minutes to brown. The chicken should be completely cooked through.

Yield: 4-6 servings
Prep Time: 1h 40m

Key Ingredient Benefits

Black Pepper: Black pepper comes from the berries of the pepper plant. It’s believed to improve digestion and promote intestinal health. Black pepper has demonstrated impressive antioxidant and antibacterial effects–yet another way in which this wonderful seasoning promotes the health of the digestive tract.

Brown Sugar: Brown sugar is made by combining molasses and refined white sugar. While no sugar is super healthy, brown sugar has a slight edge because of the molasses, which contains significant amounts of a variety of minerals that promote good health.

Chicken: An excellent source of protein, versatile chicken has less saturated fat than beef, but remember to remove the skin. It also offers a great source of niacin (vitamin B3), a vitamin with numerous health benefits. Additional B vitamins in chicken assist with energy production and promote good cardiovascular health.

Cilantro: The leaves are variously referred to as coriander leaves, fresh coriander, Chinese parsley, or cilantro (in America, from the Spanish name for the plant). In parts of Europe, this herb has traditionally been referred to as an "anti-diabetic" plant. In parts of India, it has traditionally been used for its anti-inflammatory properties. In the United States, cilantro (coriander) has recently been studied for its cholesterol-lowering effects.

Garlic: Vampire jokes aside, garlic can protect us in many ways. It contains compounds that may protect cells from cancer and improve our antioxidant defense. Research suggests garlic may help to boost our cellular antioxidant production. This may explain why a diet rich in garlic appears to protect against various cancers, including prostate, colon and breast cancer.

Ginger: This flavorful root contains potent anti-inflammatory compounds. This may explain why some people with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis experience less pain and more mobility when they up their ginger consumption. Ginger also helps with gastrointestinal distress, motion sickness and nausea. Finally, research suggests that ginger may have antioxidant and anti-tumor effects on cells.

Thai Fish Sauce: This condiment is derived from fish that have been allowed to ferment. It is an essential ingredient in many curries and sauces. Used like salt in Western cooking and soy sauce in Asian cooking, good-quality fish sauce imparts a distinct aroma and flavor all its own. It is high in protein and contains a rich supply of B vitamins, especially B12 and pantothenic acid, riboflavin and niacin.

Unsweetened Coconut Milk: Coconut milk is a common ingredient in many tropical cuisines. It may help blood cholesterol levels by raising the levels of HDL, the good cholesterol, while not affecting levels of LDL, the bad cholesterol. Improving the ratio of HDL cholesterol to total cholesterol may improve cardiovascular health.

Yellow Curry Powder: This curry can have a blend of several different spices, but it usually includes coriander, cumin, pepper, mustard seeds, turmeric and ground fenugreek seeds. Many of these spices have been show potential benefits for inflammation, cardiovascular health, immunity, blood sugar regulation, and cancer prevention.

Michelle Nowicki has a Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition, completed a dietetic internship at Yale-New Haven Hospital, and has a graduate degree from Yale University.