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Indonesian Grilled Chicken Thighs with Mango-Peanut Salsa


Serves four to six.

Boneless chicken thighs are ideal for grilling, since they keep their juiciness better than breasts. These are rubbed with a sweet-and-hot spice paste and paired with a vibrant, chunky salsa.

  • 1 Tbs. ground ginger
  • 1 Tbs. ground coriander
  • 1-1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1-1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 3 Tbs. vegetable oil; more for the grill
  • 1 Tbs. Asian chile paste (like sambaloelek)
  • 1 Tbs. dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2-1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 8 large, 10 medium, or 12 small), trimmed of excess fat
  • 2 cups small-diced fresh mango (from 2 large mangos)
  • 1/2 cup small-diced red bell pepper (from 1 small pepper)
  • 1/2 cup salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced scallions (white and green parts of 4 to 5 scallions)
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro or mint or a combination
  • 1 Tbs. seeded, minced jalapeño
  • 2 to 3 Tbs. fresh lime juice

Mix the ginger, coriander, turmeric, and garlic powder in a medium bowl. Heat 2 Tbs. of the oil in an 8-inch skillet over low heat. Add the spices to the hot oil and heat until they bubble and become fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Return the spice blend to the bowl; stir in the chile paste, brown sugar, and salt. The mixture will be thick and pasty. Add the chicken and toss to coat evenly.

In a medium bowl, mix the mango, bell pepper, peanuts, scallions, cilantro or mint, jalapeño, and the remaining 1 Tbs. oil. Add the lime juice to taste. Set aside. (You can season the chicken and make the salsa up to 2 hours ahead and refrigerate.)

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 platter, let rest 4 to 5 min., and serve hot, warm, or at room temperature with the salsa alongside.


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

Serving Suggestions

Serve with Roasted Eggplant with Chiles, Peanuts, and Mint. If you don't want to turn on your oven, try roasting them on your grill.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on six servings, Calories (kcal): 470, Fat (kcal): 28, Fat Calories (g): 250, Saturated Fat (g): 6, Protein (g): 38, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 11, Carbohydrates (mg): 18, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 8, Sodium (g): 600, Cholesterol (g): 125, Fiber (g): 3,

Photo: Scott Phillips

Wow, this recipe is a keeper. I searched recipes for my nephew's wedding and his new Indonesian wife was very impressed with this dish. We cooked for 50 people; marinated & vacuumed sealed the thighs day before. Next day on the grill took no time at all! We've made this several times since. Great recipe for a large crowd!

This recipe is really outstanding and SUPER easy. I've made it three times now and it has been a superb hit each time. I made the recipe for the chicken thighs as indicated. Be sure to use Kosher salt and not regular table salt, their is a difference in intensity. I put the chicken in he refrigerator once it was seasoned with the spice paste for several hours and it was just fine which makes it an easy make-ahead main course. When I prepped the mango salsa, I chose mint over cilantro and it was a fantastic combination with the mango and I prefer the flavour over cilantro which sometimes gets so overused. I also cut down on the oil in the salsa. I only put in a teaspoon and it was perfect. The full amount leaves the salsa too oily for my taste and diminishes the fresh taste of the fruit and vegetables. I didn't have peanuts and didn't really miss them in the salsa, in fact I might prefer it, try it both ways. Don't hesitate to serve this at a casual dinner party. I prepared it with steamed asparagus, and Rice Pilaf with Spiced Carmelized Onions, Orange, Cherry and Pistashio (substituted the dried cherries for cranberries and OMG... delicious). Search for the Rice Pilaf recipe here on Fine Cooking website. It is also an outstanding recipe that goes very well with the Chicken Thighs. If you make the Chicken Thighs and Mango Salsa with the Rice Pilaf mentioned, forgo the peanuts in the salsa, you'll love the pistachios in the Pilaf and my thought is you don't need chopped nuts in both dishes.

sooo delicious and easy to make. Love the crunch of peanuts in the salsa, as well as the interplay of all the other flavors.

The chicken was good but the salsa was outstanding. Used fresh grated ginger instead of powder spice. Heating spices and adding chile paste made it unusual and tasty. Also used only a pinch of salt in recipe - did not miss it.

I've made this for dinner and company. It is GREAT. I use chili-garlic sauce instead of the chili sauce because I like it better. Also, we love it with Tzatziki instead or along with the mango sauce. Great combination.

Served this to friends and they all but licked their plates. It was a big hit. The salsa is a perfect accompaninment. I did cook the chicken on a foil lined pan instead of directly on the grill, just because I hate cleaning the grill. It was just fine - still delicious, minus the grill marks.

A little extra work for the salsa, but it really completes this dish. Great interplay of flavors, colors, and textures.

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