Simple Marinated Chicken Thighs

My daughter made these Simple Marinated Chicken Thighs, which uses a Vietnamese-inspired marinade, packed with fish sauce, brown sugar, and chiles, hits all the notes, and because it’s more paste than liquid, it clings to meat or seafood for major impact in a short amount of time.

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Yields: 4 Servings


Vegetable oil (for grill)

2 lemongrass stalks, trimmed, tough outer layers removed

1 serrano chile

3 garlic cloves

1 – 1” piece ginger, peeled

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1¼ pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs

Kosher salt

2 scallions, thinly sliced

½ cup cilantro leaves with tender stems

Sesame seeds and lime wedges (for serving)


Prepare a grill for high indirect heat (for a gas grill, leave one or two burners off; for a charcoal grill, bank coals on one side); oil grate. Using a Microplane, finely grate lemongrass, chile (seeds and all!), garlic, and ginger into a medium bowl. (Alternatively, you can chop very finely, then mash to a paste using the side of your knife.) Add brown sugar, oil, fish sauce, and soy sauce and mix well.

Season chicken with salt and add to bowl. Turn as needed to coat completely. Let sit at least 10 minutes and up to 2 hours. (If marinating longer, wait to fire up the grill.)

Grill chicken over hottest part of grill, moving to cooler zone as needed if browning too fast, until well browned, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Transfer chicken to a platter and top with scallions and cilantro and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing over.



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Simple Marinated Chicken Thighs