This really is a simple meal that can be thrown together in a flash. My take on grilled chicken with loads of Thai sweet, sour, and spicy flavors that will have your diners scrambling for seconds. Paired with a blend of Thai brown rice makes this meal hearty, healthy, and incredibly flavorful for easy spring and summer outdoor entertaining.
The recipe works equally well for grilling or for oven roasting.
You may be wondering, Pomegranate syrup? Available at Greek and Middle Eastern shops, or simply reduce pomegranate juice until it resembles a fairly thick syrup at home.
Likewise the recipe can be adapted using tamarind syrup. Tamarind paste is available at Asian markets. Simply combine an ample amount of water to cover the paste in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. The paste will dissolve and once reduced, remove any seeds and strain the syrup.
I keep both syrups on hand as it stores indefinitely when refrigerated.
Thai jasmine rice is available in Asian markets and whole food markets. Varieties include white, brown, red, purple, and black, as well as in blends.
Pomegranate Glazed Chicken with Brown Thai Jasmine Rice serves 4
- 2 chicken legs with thighs attached (skin on)
- 2 chicken breasts (skin on)
- 5 garlic cloves, peeled and finely grated
- 6 shallots, peeled and finely grated
- 3 stalks lemon grass, inner tender parts, finely grated
- 2-3 small red chillies, minced including seeds
- 4 fresh kaffir lime leaves, finely minced
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon cold pressed peanut oil
- 3 tablespoons pomegranate syrup (or tamarind syrup) plus more for basting
- 4 tablespoons rice vinegar (or white vinegar) water as needed
Finely grate (a microplane works perfectly) the garlic, shallots, and lemon grass into a non-reactive bowl large enough to hold all the chicken in a single layer. Add the chillies, kaffir lime leaves, sea salt, and peanut oil. Smash everything together using the back of a silicone spatula until the mixture looks like a paste.
Add the pomegranate syrup (or tamarind syrup) and the rice vinegar and stir until well combine. Add the chicken and using your hands massage the marinade into the flesh. Press the chicken skin side down into the marinade. If the chicken is not completely covered add just enough water cover and agitate the chicken to incorporate the added water. Press the chicken firmly into the marinade, cover with clingfilm, and refrigerate for at least two hours, up to six hours, or overnight.
Remove the marinated chicken from the fridge at least an hour before you intend to cook.
Fire up the grill 30 minutes before you intend to grill, or preheat the oven to 450F/230C if you intend to roast.
For grilling, place the chicken skin side down in the center of the grill. Grill about 15 minutes. Flip the chicken pieces and grill until the flesh feels firm, about another 10 to 15 minutes Smear additional pomegranate syrup over the skin and lower the lid on the grill and cook another 5 minutes.
While the chicken is grilling, place any remaining marinade in a small saucepan and reduce until thickened.
For oven roasting, place the chicken in a roasting pan skin side up. Add the marinade around the chicken and place in the oven for 20 minutes. Baste chicken with additional pomegranate syrup and roast another 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the breasts and return the legs with thighs to the oven to roast an additional 8 to 10 minutes.
Serving. Place the chicken on individual serving plates and spoon reduced marinade, or pan juices, over the chicken and serve with brown rice sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds
While the chicken is cooking you can make the rice.
- 1 ½ cups blended Thai brown jasmine rice or a regular brown rice blend
- 4 whole kaffir lime leaves (optional)
- water to cover by ½ inch
- roasted sesame seeds for serving (see here)
Rinse the rice blend until the water runs clear. Place the rice in a steamer or saucepan and add water to about a half inch above the surface of the rice. Brown rice requires a longer cooking time than white rice, thus more water is require so the rice is cooked through.
Turn on the rice cooker and when finished let the rice rest for 10 minutes. Fluff with a bamboo paddle and serve with roasted sesame seeds sprinkled over the rice
If you are boiling the rice in a saucepan simply boil until the water is just absorbed into the rice; about 10 to 15 minutes. Cover the pan and set aside off the heat to steam for about 15 minutes. Fluff with a bamboo paddle and serve with roasted sesame seeds sprinkled over the rice.