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Grilled Five-Spice Chicken Thighs with Soy-Vinegar Sauce & Cilantro

Scott Phillips

Servings: 4-6



  • 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

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size based on six servings
  • Calories (kcal) : 340
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 180
  • Fat (g): 20
  • Saturated Fat (g): 4.5
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 6
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 8
  • Cholesterol (mg): 125
  • Sodium (mg): 690
  • Carbohydrates (g): 6
  • Fiber (g): 0
  • Protein (g): 35


  • 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


Rate or Review


  • user-4153605 | 08/22/2015

    Lots of flavor. Definitely a lot of flavor, which is good. Just must not have been my kind of flavor. I wouldn't make this again.

  • andapanda | 05/30/2015

    This is delicious and easy and I have made it many times always to rave reviews. You don't need to change a thing.

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