This recipe treats tender chicken thighs to two of my all-time favorite flavor sensations: a mouthwatering Asian-style marinade that hits every single taste bud, and the alluring char that happens when food gets near fire.
The marinade strikes a bold sweet-salty-savory-spicy balance without the heaps of refined sugar found in many like it. Here, most of the sweetness comes from the mango itself, which, of course, also lends a tropical flair. That sweetness is offset by the tang of fresh lime juice, a generous helping of savory garlic and a salty umami punch from Thai fish sauce. If you don’t have the latter, you could substitute soy sauce, but I think it is worth picking up a bottle of fish sauce, as it has become a “new essential” ingredient — along with the Sriracha here, which gives the marinade a kick. I used a gentle amount in the accompanying recipe, but feel free to add a couple more shakes if you like things hotter.
The ingredients come together easily in the blender, and then time does the work as the chicken marinates. For full impact, four hours is the minimum, but it could go for up to 12 hours, making this recipe easy to pull off on busy weekdays. I typically blend the marinade the night before I am planning to cook, then combine it with the chicken in the morning so that it is ready to cook when I get home from work.
Then all it takes is less than 20 minutes in the broiler, or on the grill, for succulent chicken with crisped edges that complement a realm of big flavor within.
Krieger is a registered dietitian, nutritionist and author who hosts public television’s “Ellie’s Real Good Food.” She blogs and offers a weekly newsletter at www.elliekrieger.com.
Mango-Lime Marinated Chicken Thighs
Here, tender chicken is treated to a bold mango-lime mixture then char-broiled for mouthwatering flavor. The marinade has a tantalizing sweet-salty-savory-spicy balance without the heaps of refined sugar found in many similar store-bought marinades, thanks to the sweetness inherent in the tropical fruit. Note: The chicken needs to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
1 cup mango chunks (defrosted if from frozen)
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 2 limes)
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
2 tablespoons canola oil, or other neutral-tasting oil
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
2 teaspoons Sriracha
3 large cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Fresh cilantro leaves, for serving
Lime wedges, for serving
Combine the mango, lime juice, fish sauce, oil, sugar, Sriracha, garlic and salt in a blender; puree to form a smooth marinade. Transfer to a quart-size zip-top bag. Add the chicken and seal; refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
Position an oven rack 4 to 6 inches from the broiler element; preheat the broiler.
Place the chicken on a broiler pan, allowing some marinade to cling to it. Broil for about 8 minutes, then use tongs to turn the chicken over and spoon a bit more marinade on the second side. (Discard any remaining marinade, at this point.) Broil for about 9 minutes, until lightly charred around the edges and the chicken is cooked through.
Serve warm, with cilantro and lime wedges.
4 to 6 servings
Nutrition | Per serving (based on 6): 210 calories, 23 g protein, 8 g carbohydrates, 9 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 105 mg cholesterol, 530 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 6 g sugar