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


Serves 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

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

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on six servings, Calories (kcal): 340, Fat (kcal): 20, Fat Calories (g): 180, Saturated Fat (g): 4.5, Protein (g): 35, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 8, Carbohydrates (mg): 6, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 6, Sodium (g): 690, Cholesterol (g): 125, Fiber (g): 0,

Photo: Scott Phillips

I finally made this with boneless skinless thighs, and it was so good! Easy,and very tasty.

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.

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

Lovely, light, simple and packed with flavour. Definitely will be making this again.

Super easy and super delicious. These thighs have a unique taste which fools you into thinking that they took a lot longer to prepare than it did. Would definitely serve them next time with a rice dish.

Superb dish!!! Only used 1 TBSP of the Chinese five spice, other than that, followed the recipe exactly and it was GREAT!

Used chicken breasts and thighs & doubled the sauce. Delicious!

absolutely delicious, my husband is still talking about how wonderful these tasted!

I have to be honest. I didn't really like the 5 spice flavour at all. Actually, both my mother and I hated it. But my husband and father loved it. Go figure. It was pretty easy to make though, and the sauce is a keeper for sure. I grilled some baby bok choy and served it with the sauce. Delicious.

An easy and inexpensive dinner. Great for a summer dinner. In my case the thighs were not entirely done after I pulled them off the grill. I didn't want to leave them on the grill any longer for fear the skin would burn, so I put them in a 400 oven for 5 minutes-the thighs were done to perfection!

These are the best chicken thighs ever. All of my friends "asked" for the recipe as they were that good. I have cooked them 5 or 6 times now and they are always perfect. The flavours are special and the meat is so tender and juicy. I have even cooked a few dozen and frozen them for camping trips. simply re-heat on the BBQ with a little of the sauce to baste and they are as good as just cooked. One of my favourite recipes!

Fabulous flavors and could not be more simple!!! Great for easy casual entertaining!

LOVE IT!!!!!!! FAVORITE !!!!!

Outstanding! I love Chinese Five Spice and this was a great 'break in the grill it's almost spring recipe"!

I made this dish with chicken breast for a group of our friends on football Sunday and they were a total hit. They had a ton of flavor and a little kick.

great flavor, easy to make. I will make this again.

The sauce was great but I think the 5 spice was to much. 1 tsp would have been more than sufficient in my opinion. The sauce was incredible, and when I make it for myself I either omit or really cut down on the 5 spice. Without/or limited 5 spice this a really tasty easy weeknight dinner.

Really simple, really tasty, and you don't have to wait for the meat to marinate before you grill.

Quick, easy and delicious with authentic flavor. Perfect for a weeknight meal.

This recipe is quick and easy. My kids, ages 11 & 18, loved the taste.

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