This one is for my friend Vicki. We have quite the social neighbourhood and a bunch of us go for chicken wings regularly at a local restaurant. Vicki prefers the “Thai Chicken Bites” because they don’t have any bones or skin. I don’t exactly love chicken wings either, or the “bites.” They’re kind of a rip off. I prefer bone in skin on chicken thighs. There’s so much more meat and flavour than the bites or the wings and there’s no deep frying or breading. I decided to make my own Sweet Chili Thai Sauce by reading the ingredient list on the store bought jars and experimenting until I got it right. I wasn’t going for the exact flavour because I find it’s a little too sweet and hot for me. What I came up with was really good!
Make the sauce by mixing equal parts of water and vinegar. I used rice vinegar so it wasn’t too strong but any clear vinegar would work. Add sugar, salt, cornstarch, sriracha and crunched up dried red chilis, including the seeds. You could also use chopped fresh hot red chilies.Click here to jump right to the recipe
The ingredient list on the store bought jar also said pickled garlic. Amazingly I actually had some in the fridge. I used one pickled clove and one fresh clove. I’m sure 2 regular cloves would be fine. Or two pickled. Here’s the jar, in case you want to try some. You can actually buy these at Olde Tyme Deli in Port Rowan.
The best time to make this is when you need to clean your stove top. You’ll have some grease splatter so wait until it’s time for a good cleaning. In my house that means about once a year. Kidding.
Use a heavy skillet that can go in the oven. Heat it up to medium high, add a little bit of oil, season the thighs well with salt and pepper and add to the hot pan skin side down.
Skinless chicken or skin on?
I almost always use bone in skin on chicken. The skin helps keep the meat from drying out. But it does have a fair bit of fat and isn’t fun to eat unless it’s crispy so you need to sear the pieces skin side down over a fairly high heat. That’s where the splatter comes in. You don’t need much oil in the pan to get started so add just a bit and heat it up well before you add the pieces. Once they get a really nice deep golden colour, about 10-12 minutes depending on the size of the thighs, turn the pieces over. Tilt the pan and carefully spoon out most of the fat. Leave just a bit to help brown the other side of the chicken and to add to the sauce.
Once the pieces are almost cooked, after about 10 more minutes, pour the sauce over top and roast in the oven for about 15 minutes. Using the roast setting has the heat coming from the top which helps keep the skin crispy. And the higher temperature is also important.
Take the pan out a few times and baste with the sauce that’s on the bottom of the pan to make sure the tops are nice and coated, but leave skin side up. The sauce will have thickened slightly. Roast until the internal temperature is at least 170 degrees. “They” say chicken should be cooked to 180 degrees but the meat does continue to cook once it’s removed from the oven AND you can end up with dry meat if you over cook it. Always let meat rest after it’s been cooked to ensure the juices return to the inside of the meat.
Garnish with minced green onions.
Here’s the recipe:
Sweet Chili Thai Chicken Thighs
- 6 bone in skin on chicken thighs
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 Tbsp white sugar
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp Sriracha sauce
- 2 dried red chilies, crushed, or 1/2 tsp chili flakes or 1 tsp minced red chilies
- 1 pickled garlic clove, minced
- 1 regular garlic clove, minced
- salt and pepper
- 2 green onions, minced
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees on roast setting.
- Combine sauce ingredients.
- Heat a large oven proof skillet to medium-high. Add a tsp of olive oil. Generously season chicken thighs with salt and pepper on both sides. Add to hot pan skin side down. Sear for 10-12 minutes until skin is nicely browned, crispy and most of the fat is rendered off.
- Turn pieces over. Tip pan and carefully spoon out most of the fat. Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 10 more minutes.
- Place skillet on the middle rack of the oven and roast for about 15 minutes until there is no pink inside and internal temperature is at least 170 degrees. Remove pan a few times and spoon sauce over chicken, leaving pieces skin side up.
- Remove from oven and let rest for a few minutes while you dice up green onions for garnish.