Sweet-and-Spicy Chicken

Bill Kim prefers using frozen lemongrass to fresh in this marinade because he finds the flavor sweeter and more intense. Slideshow:  Recipes for Chicken Thighs 

Sweet-and-Spicy Chicken
Photo: © Jody Horton
Active Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs
4 to 6


  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

  • 2 tablespoons snipped chives

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger

  • 1 large stalk frozen or fresh lemongrass; tender pale inner core only, minced

  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

  • 1/2 cup Thai sweet chile sauce

  • 3 tablespoons sambal oelek or other Asian chile sauce

  • 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, trimmed


  1. In a mini food processor, combine the garlic, chives, ginger, lemongrass and sesame oil and pulse until finely chopped. Add the sweet chile sauce and sambal oelek and pulse to blend.

  2. Spread the marinade over the chicken and let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

  3. Light a grill. Lift the chicken thighs from the marinade, letting the excess drip off. Grill over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Make Ahead

The marinade can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.


Variation The marinade is also delicious with pork chops or pork tenderloin.

Serve With

Steamed rice and bok choy.

Suggested Pairing

Medium-bodied, berry-rich Pinot Noir.

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