King-Man and I have a new favorite grilled chicken. We recently visited our son, Bracken, and his family in Boston. Bracken and our daughter-in-law, Rachel, are great cooks and I always come home from their house with a new recipe. They prepared this Thai grilled chicken for us, and we loved it.
This is adapted from a recipe from Fine Cooking magazine (my hands-down favorite cooking magazine). The marinade for the chicken has coconut milk and herbs that both brine and flavor the chicken breasts. Although boneless, skinless chicken breasts often turn out dry after grilling, these are moist and tender. And, the marinade is especially tasty. This recipe's a total yum. Plus, it's healthy and easy. Yay.
Make-ahead convenience. The chicken breasts can marinate anywhere between 2 and 24 hours. I recommend at least 12 hours for improved flavor and tenderness; 24 hours is even better. That means you can make the marinade and get the chicken soaking in the fridge the day before. At meal time the next day, it only takes a few minutes to fire up the grill and cook the chicken.
Nutritional information for one chicken breast: 240 calories, 7g fat, 39g protein, 3g carbs, 0g fiber; Weight Watchers PointsPlus: 5
Step-by-step photos for making
Thai Herb Grilled Chicken
Step 1. Assemble these ingredients:
- boneless, skinless chicken breasts (you may substitute thighs, if preferred)
- cilantro (use leaves and tender part of stems)
- fresh basil
- coconut milk (the canned kind found in the Asian aisle of the grocery store); may use lite version, if preferred
- fresh ginger
- kosher salt
- freshly ground pepper
- ground coriander
- brown sugar (only a smidgeon...just enough for flavor and browning)
- limes (optional for garnish)
view on Amazon: coconut milk, lite coconut milk, organic ground coriander, salt/pepper grinders
Step 2. Cut the jalapenos in half, scrape out the seeds and membrane using the tip of a vegetable peeler, and roughly chop them into 1/2" pieces.
view on Amazon: vegetable peeler
Step 3. Peel the ginger with the tip of a spoon. Cut off 2 or 3 thin slices.
Step 4. Combine the marinade ingredients in a blender or food processor.
view on Amazon: my Kitchen Aid blender (rated #1 by Cooks Illustrated)
Step 5. Puree until smooth. This makes enough marinade for up to 10 chicken breasts.
- NOTE: If you want to make the stir fry recipe with leftover grilled chicken (explained further down in this post), reserve 1/4 cup of the marinade to use for stir-fry sauce. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Step 6. Place chicken in single layer in non-reactive dish or pan. Pour marinade over chicken breasts. Use tongs to turn the chicken pieces over a time or two to make sure they are well coated with marinade on both sides.
Step 7. Cover and marinate in the fridge at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours. I prefer to let mine marinate overnight when I have time--this brines the chicken and makes it more flavorful and tender. You can also marinate the chicken in a zip top plastic bag, if you prefer.
- Make ahead and freezing tip. This marinade is enough for 10 chicken breasts and that's normally more than I want to cook at once. So, I freeze the raw chicken with the marinade in small portions to thaw and grill later. Put the chicken and marinade in a zip top bag and freeze it so that the chicken is spread out in a single layer. I place the bag in a small baking sheet until it freezes hard; then it can be removed and stacked easily in the freezer. Freezing it in a thin, even layer makes it easier to thaw later. Transfer the frozen raw, marinated chicken from the freezer to the fridge the day before you'd like to grill it to give the chicken time to thaw.
view on Amazon: oblong glass dish with cover
Step 8. Clean and oil the grill. Dip a paper towel in oil and rub it on the grill grate. For more tips, read my post How to Prevent Food from Sticking to The Grill.
Step 9. Place marinated chicken breasts on medium-hot grill. Turn when chicken has grill marks and releases easily from the grill--approx. 5-6 minutes. Use an instant-read thermometer to cook chicken just until it's done, but no longer so that it doesn't dry out. Cook until internal temperature is 160 degrees. (As it rests, the temp with rise to the USDA recommended 165 degrees.) Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken. I poke it in 2 or 3 places to makes sure that it's cooked enough all over.
- For more even cooking, you can pound the chicken into evenly thick pieces before marinating and grilling. Learn how in my post, Preparing Raw Chicken for Perfection.
- Instant read thermometers are the only way to determine the exact right time to remove the chicken from the grill, insuring a moist result. I use one any time I'm cooking meat.
view instant-read thermometers on Amazon:
my favorite super fast Thermapen (it's pricey, but simply the best; #1 recommendation of Cooks Illustrated and chefs)
a more affordable thermometer (recommended by Cooks Illustrated if you can't afford the pricier Thermapen)
Step 10. Remove the cooked chicken from the grill to a clean dish or platter and cover loosely with foil. Let it rest for 10 minutes before serving or cutting to allow the juices to settle in the meat. This wait time is important for maintaining moist chicken.
Time to eat! I like to drizzle my chicken with a little lime juice.
This Thai flavored chicken is perfect paired with my Golden Coconut Brown Rice.
It's also fabulous sliced and served on top of a bed of greens. That's how Bracken and Rachel served it for us. The chicken can be served warm, room temperature or cold. Try tossing the greens with my Honey Lime Vinaigrette--yum!
The sliced chicken is good in sandwiches and paninis, too.
Make a stir-fry with leftovers. I threw this together for dinner the next day using leftover grilled chicken from the night before. It was awesome--and insanely healthy! You can adjust this for whatever amounts of leftover chicken and veggies you like. It turns out that the marinade used for the grilled chicken also makes a great stir-fry sauce. Here's the simple procedure I used:
- Make sure you set aside 1/4 cup or so of the marinade (before marinating the chicken) and keep it in the fridge to use as a stir fry sauce.
- Chop grilled chicken into bite-size pieces. (I used 2 breasts)
- Chop some fresh veggies into bite size pieces--use whatever you like. I used mushrooms, snow peas, carrots, green onions, red bell pepper, and baby bok choy. I had a total of 4-5 cups of veggies.
- Saute the veggies. I did this in batches.
- Stir in the chicken and a few spoons of the marinade. Toss with veggies and heat through. Taste and add more of the marinade/sauce, if needed. I added approx. 1/4 cup of marinade to mine.
- Serve over rice. I used my Golden Coconut Brown Rice, but plain rice would work, too.
Make a quick appetizer. Cube the grilled chicken and serve it with peanut sauce. Click here for the recipe
I love that this grilled chicken can be made and then used in a variety of dishes. Thanks, Bracken and Rachel for the delish & versatile recipe.
Make it a Yummy day!
Grilled Thai Chicken Breasts
Servings: 10 servings
- 6-8 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
- FOR MARINADE:
- 1-1/2 cups chopped fresh cilantro (leaves & tender stems)
- 3/4 cup canned coconut milk (found in Asian aisle of grocery store)
- 12 fresh basil leaves
- 1 large or 2 small jalapenos, stem, seeds, & membrane removed
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 slices fresh ginger (approx. 1/8" thick)
- 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt*
- 1-1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 teaspoons ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
- FOR GARNISH:
- 2 limes, cut into wedges
MARINATE: Add marinade ingredients to blender or food processor; puree until smooth. (Note: if making stir fry with leftover chicken as explained below, reserve 1/4 cup of marinade to use for stir-fry sauce.) Arrange chicken breasts in single layer in a dish. Pour marinade over chicken. Use tongs to flip chicken a few times until completely coated with marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours (the longer the better).
GRILL: Coat hot grill grate with oil, using tongs and a paper towel dipped in oil. Place chicken on medium-hot grill, discarding the marinade. Turn when chicken has grill marks and releases easily from grill (approx. 5-6 min). Cook until internal temperature is 160 degrees at thickest part using an instant-read thermometer, approx. 7-8 min. (Exact cooking times will vary depending on chicken thickness and grill temp.) Remove to a dish or platter and loosely cover with foil for 5-10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with additional chopped basil or cilantro, if desired. Serve with lime wedges.
SERVING SUGGESTION: This chicken pairs well with Golden Coconut Brown Rice. Recipe at: http://www.theyummylife.com/Coconut_Brown_Rice.
It's also good sliced and served over a bed of greens.
LEFTOVER SERVING SUGGESTIONS:
--SERVE IT COLD ON SALADS, IN WRAPS/SANDWICHES. Store whole, grilled chicken pieces in sealed container in the fridge along with any remaining pan juices. To serve, thinly slice chicken, and serve cold on top of a salad, in a wrap, or on a sandwich.
--CHOP & ADD TO STIR FRY. Reserve 1/4 cup of the marinade (before marinating the chicken) and refrigerate to use as a stir-fry sauce. Chop the grilled chicken into bite-size pieces. Chop vegetables of your choice into bite-size pieces. (Good options are mushrooms, snow peas, carrots, green onions, red bell pepper, and baby bok choy.) Saute veggies, add chicken, drizzle on some of the marinade; toss and cook until heated through. Taste and add more marinade, if needed. Serve over rice. (NOTE: Use whatever amounts and chicken/veggies you prefer. As a general guideline, you can use 2 chopped chicken breasts, 4-6 cups chopped veggies, and 1/4 cup marinade.
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION per chicken breast: 240 calories, 7g fat, 39g protein, 3g carbs. Weight Watchers PointsPlus: 5
*Based on reader feedback that the original recipe was too salty, the amount of salt has been reduced.
Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking magazine.
Thai Herb Grilled Chicken Breasts. A coconut milk & herb marinade makes the most tender, moist chicken.