Asian Grilled Chicken Thighs

asian thighs

 

Today is a beautiful Sunday! Fall is in the air with high temps in the South running in the upper 60’s and I have stumbled upon newly found energy to do things around the house. Grass has been cut hopefully for the last time, cars washed, clothes are washing, I just finished vacuuming and I’m about to fire up the grill for dinner and make some tasty Asian grilled chicken thighs.

You could use any cut of chicken, but we’ve been buying a lot of boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Not only are they reasonably priced, darker meat seems to have more flavor (along with more fat, but then again, fat IS flavor). The recipe for this dinner is all in the marinade and the longer it marinates, the better the flavor. I’m going to skip cooking instructions because the way you cook chicken is entirely up to you. I’ve roasted chicken this way and it’s been delicious, but today I want to take advantage of the weather, so I’m using the grill.

Soak any chicken you prefer in the following, then simply cook and enjoy! It’s also a great way to make “Teriyaki” wings for a tailgate!

Marinade:

  • 1 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • the juice from 2 Navel oranges
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 4 Keffir lime leaves or you can substitute the juice of 2 fresh limes
  • 1/4 cup grated fresh ginger or 1 tbsp ground dried ginger
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

Combine all ingredients. Add chicken to big Ziploc bag, cover with marinade and put in the frig. The longer it marinates, the better, but at least 1 hour if you can’t let it go overnight.

Discard the marinade and cook the way you’d like!

Advertisements

California Salmon or Chicken Salad


Here are the recipes for today’s “Chef’s Table” lunch from work. Today I featured a California Grill Salmon Salad with Pear-Infused Balsamic Vinaigrette. This salad can be made with either salmon fillets or boneless-skinless chicken breasts by following the same recipe and substituting the protein of your choice. The salad composition is up to your liking. The recipe below lists the way I prepared it today with alternate suggestions in parenthesis.

First, make your dressing. To make the dressing you need either a food processor fitted with standard blade or a blender.

Pear-Infused Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 can pear halves in heavy syrup
  • 3/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup EV olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black or white pepper
Put the canned pears and their syrup in the food processor or blender and puree. With the machine continuously running, add the garlic, salt and pepper, then add the vinegar. Pour the oil in a steady stream into the running machine. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Maple-Glazed Salmon or Chicken
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup (or you can substitute 2 tbsp dark brown sugar)
  • 2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp minced or grated fresh ginger root
  • 1 tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice
Combine ingredients and pour over your choice of boneless chicken breast or salmon fillets and marinate for at least 1 hour. For salmon, bake in 325F oven for 15 minutes. For chicken, cook until internal temp reaches 165F either in the oven, saute pan or on the grill.
California Salad 
  • Spring mix lettuce
  • Diced red bell pepper
  • Shredded carrots
  • Sliced red onion
  • Dried cranberries (or fresh blueberries)
  • Sliced fresh strawberries (or canned Mandarin oranges)
  • Crumbled Bleu cheese (or goat cheese or Feta)
  • Candied coated Walnuts (or pecans, almonds)
  • Maple glazed salmon (or chicken)
  • Pear-infused balsamic vinaigrette
In a large salad bowl, add enough spring mix for total number of salads you would like to serve. Add to the lettuce the red bell pepper, carrots and onion. Pour 2 tbsp vinaigrette over the salad mixture and mix well to coat. Put coated salad greens in your serving bowl. Sprinkle with a handful of dried cranberries (or fresh blueberries), then arrange some sliced strawberries on the salad. Sprinkle liberally with bleu cheese crumbles, then a few candy-coated nuts and finally top the bed of salad with either maple glazed salmon fillet or a grilled breast cut into strips. Drizzle a little more vinaigrette over the protein and serve. Garnish with some thinly sliced green pears if available.

Asian Cabbage Salad

It’s official.. I’m 40 and fat! In an attempt to lose some weight, I’ve been trying to eat healthier food. We’ve been buying a lot of fish and chicken in place of red meat and pork, and we’re watching our fiber intake. Lower fat and higher fiber seem to be the new trend in weight loss, along with exercise.

Tonight we’re having some grilled tuna fillets that are marinating in an Asian-inspired sauce right now. To go with our fish, I whipped up this refreshing Asian style salad. It’s flavorful and high in fiber, but it does have some fat because of the peanut butter. Still, it’s a healthy alternative to a high fat side dish and it’s delicious… and simple. Simplicity is my main requirement when I find or create a recipe, because now that I spend my whole day in a kitchen at work, I like to get out of the kitchen as quickly as possible in the evenings. Give this one a try and I think you’ll be pleased with the results!

 

  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp each salt, garlic powder and ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 6 cups shredded cabbage with carrot (coleslaw) mix OR 4 cups coleslaw mix and 2 cups broccoli slaw mix (which is how I made it)
  • 1 cup fresh sugar snap peas, trimmed and sliced
  • 1/2 cup coarsely shredded, peeled jicama
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • fresh cilantro

In a large mixing bowl, prepare the dressing by mixing together everything from the peanut butter to the water. Toss in the slaw mix and fold well to combine. Add peas, jicama and green onions. Toss and cover. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to several hours. Garnish with toasted almonds and cilantro.

Makes 6-8 servings

Vietnamese Chicken

When you work in the foodservice industry, food cost is a big factor in determining weekly menus. Fine dining restaurants worry about food cost, but not nearly as much as corporate cafes like mine, where I’m serving food for a set price each day that I normally can’t change. So I’m always looking for ways to cook “lower cost” items… that’s how I came up with this recipe. At work, I make this recipe using chicken thighs, which are about the cheapest part of the chicken you can buy (not including organ meat, which I don’t do.. I’m no Hannibal Lector!!), but this marinade is excellent on any piece of chicken. Breasts, strips and for game day tailgating, buffalo wings!! You can get away with a short time marinade for a few hours, but the longer you marinate the meat the better the flavor and the more tender and juicy the meat becomes. The sodium in the soy sauce “brines” the meat and anyone that’s cooked a big Thanksgiving turkey can tell you that brining is the way to ensure a juicy bird each and every time! So give this one a try sometime.. either for your next game day party, or simply for a low cost dinner at home with the family.

  • 4-6 chicken thighs, 4 breasts or 3 boneless chicken breasts cut into strips, or a bag of fresh/frozen buffalo wings (raw)
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, washed
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • Zest from 1 orange, minced
  • Juice from 1 orange
  • 1 large ginger root, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup low-sodium soy sauce**
  • 1 tbsp dark sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp black or white sesame seeds

** I only buy low-sodium soy sauce and for this recipe I recommend you pick up a bottle. Because soy sauce is loaded with sodium, marinating overnight in regular soy sauce makes the finished chicken too salty. It’s like soaking a steak in Dale’s!

Chop lower stem from cilantro and discard. Place cilantro tops, garlic cloves and fresh ginger in the bowl of a food processor and process to a fine blend. In a large storage container or large ziplock storage bag, add the processed ingredients, orange zest, orange juice, soy sauce, sesame oil and sesame seeds. Add the chicken to the marinade. Cover or seal and marinate for at least 2 hours, or overnight, in the refrigerator, turning every so often to ensure a good coating of marinade on the chicken. The longer it marinates, the more tender the chicken will become.

Remove the chicken from the marinade (discard the marinade) and arrange the thighs on a roasting pan or cookie sheet. Bake at 400F for an hour. If using bone-in breasts, cook on a hot grill until internal temperature reaches 165F, or if using boneless strips, stir-fry with Oriental vegetables and serve over hot steamed rice. Your cooking time with vary depending on the cut of chicken you are using, so it’s best to spend a few bucks at Walmart on a digital food probe thermometer. Chicken is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165F and the longer you let it cook past that temp, the drier it becomes. (Think about an over-cooked turkey at Thanksgiving)

Garnish with sliced scallions, fresh orange slices or minced parsley.