These Asian-inspired chicken thighs grill up tender and flavorful, and take only minutes to prepare. Chinese five-spice powder is a blend of spices that has the five different flavors: sweet, sour, bitter, pungent, and salty. For this recipe, the five-spice (and a few other basic ingredients) are turned into a rub for the chicken. After grilling, the chicken thighs are tossed with a soy sauce and rice vinegar mixture and sprinkled with freshly chopped cilantro. To round out the meal, serve with steamed jasmine rice and some stir-fried veggies or an Asian slaw. Delicious!
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Grilled Five-Spice Chicken Thighs with Soy-Vinegar Sauce & Cilantro
-recipe by Pamela Anderson for Fine Cooking Magazine
Serves four to six.
2 Tbs. Chinese five-spice powder
1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. dark brown sugar
1 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
2 Tbs. soy sauce
2 tsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. Asian sesame oil
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2-1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 8 large, 10 medium, or 12 small), trimmed of excess fat
2 Tbs. vegetable oil; more for the grill
3 Tbs. chopped cilantro
Mix the five-spice powder, the 1 Tbs. sugar, the garlic powder, and the salt in a small bowl. In another bowl, mix the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, and remaining 1 tsp. sugar.
Put the chicken in a shallow pan, drizzle with the vegetable oil, and toss to coat evenly. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the chicken; toss and rub to coat thoroughly.
Prepare a hot charcoal fire or heat a gas grill with all burners on medium high for 10 min. Clean the hot grate with a wire brush and then lubricate it with an oil-soaked paper towel. Put the chicken on the grate and grill (covered on a gas grill or uncovered over a charcoal fire) until one side has dark grill marks, 5 to 6 min. for large thighs or 4 to 5 min. for medium and small thighs. Turn and continue to grill until well marked on the other sides and cooked through, 5 to 6 min. longer for large thighs or 4 to 5 min. for medium and small thighs.
Move the thighs to a serving dish. Drizzle with about half of the soy mixture, sprinkle with the cilantro, and toss to coat. Let rest 4 to 5 min., tossing once or twice. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature, with the remaining soy mixture passed at the table.
To prepare as kebabs: Trim the thighs and then slice them lengthwise into 1-1/2- to 2-inch-wide strips. Toss with the flavorings; then thread the chicken onto six 8- or 12-inch skewers (soak wood skewers in water for at least 20 min. first), folding each strip in half as you skewer it. If some strips are very thick, cut them in half crosswise rather than folding them so that all the pieces of chicken are roughly the same size. Grill the kebabs, turning them every 4 to 5 min. as dark grill marks form, until cooked through, 12 to 15 min. total.
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