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Add Some Spice To Your Chicken

Written by: Ephraim Monaghan |

A chicken recipe that is sure to impress your family and friends!

Gordon Ramsay was once asked on Reddit, “What are 5 dishes that everyone should learn how to cook?” He answered with 5 different types of dishes that could cater to any event life may throw at you. The following article is the fourth in a series that will take you into the art of cooking the perfect chicken dish.

I'm sure you've read hundreds of chicken recipes. I know I have.  However, of all the ways I have cooked chicken, I've found one that produces the juiciest results with the most flavor - a marinade.  You can have the juiciest chicken, but it won't be worth much without spices and flavor.  I share two of my favorite recipes using marinades in this post.

Korean Barbecue Marinade


  • 1 cup soy sauce (I recommend Kikkoman for the strength and flavor)
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1-2 tablespoons Korean chili paste (I recommend a gochujang chili paste)
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 lbs. chicken thighs
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped

Most of these ingredients are easy to find and are already in your kitchen cabinets.  Let's talk about the few that are a little more specialized.

Gochujang chili paste is a fermented chili paste that packs an amazing spicy kick.  It can be a little hard to find, but I did find it at Jungle Jim’s the last time I was there.  If you don't have access to the Gochujang type, any chili paste or sauce will do the trick.

Toasted sesame oil has the most amazing, nutty Asian flavor that will take the dish to a whole new level. It is not expensive and lasts a long time, since it only takes a little to fill your dish with flavor. Try using it next time you cook rice instead of butter.

Whisk together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, chili paste, grated ginger, and chopped garlic in a bowl. Put the chicken thighs in a large freezer bag and pour all the marinade over the chicken thighs, push out all the air, and zip up the bag.  Let the meat marinade in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, then follow the steps below for cooking. (If you do not plan on cooking the chicken within the next 2-3 days, you can put the bag in the freezer for up to 9 months.)


Curry Marinade

This next marinade is packed with so much flavor, you’ll think you’re actually in India!  It's also easy and convenient, because we're using mainly dried ingredients. If your spice cabinet is stocked, you won't even have to go to the store.


  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 lbs. chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped

Mix all dry spices except salt in a bowl. Add yogurt and stir until combined. Place chicken thighs in a large freezer bag and add the spice/yogurt mixture. Press the air out of the bag and place the bag in the refrigerator. Let the chicken marinate for 12 hours.  Sprinkle salt over the chicken pieces, then then follow the steps below for cooking.  (The bag can be left in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, if necessary.)

plate of cooked chicken thighs with cilantro

Cooking the Chicken

Now that your chicken is finished marinating, it's ready to be cooked.

Step 1: Set oven to 350°F.

Step 2: Place a cast iron pan on the stove at medium heat.

Step 3: Grease the the pan with a neutral oil such as grape seed, canola, or avocado oil.

Step 4: Once the oil is hot, place the marinated chicken in the pan skin side/top side down. If the oil is steaming take the pan off the burner and let the oil cool before adding the chicken. If the chicken doesn’t sizzle when you place it in the pan, continue to heat the oil.

Step 5: Seared the chicken in the pan for at least 6 minutes, or until golden brown.  Turn each pieces, add more of the remaining marinade to the top of the chicken, and cover the pan.

Step 6: Place the pan in the oven and let cook for 14 minutes. Check the chicken with a thermometer to make sure the thickest part of the chicken thigh is cooked to at least 165°F.  (If the chicken thighs include skin, turn the oven to high broil after 12 minutes . Remove the lid or foil and let the skin re-crisp.)

Step 7: Uncover and let rest for 5 minutes.

Step 8: Top the chicken with fresh cilantro and serve.

Quick But Delicious!

This way of preparing chicken is my go-to for any meal. If you do not have time to marinate the chicken, simply add salt and pepper to the thighs and sear as in the method above. Once you flip the chicken, instead of adding marinade, you can use some fresh garlic or herbs.  a Few great options are rosemary, thyme, basil, or cilantro. Then follow the remaining instructions per the above.

Now you have several tried-and-true ways to prepare chicken.  Check out our other articles to complete the entire five, and you'll be ready for your next family meal or dinner party!



Topics: Health, Food, Personal

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