Let me say it straight up: This is one of those not so pretty recipes. Who wants to look at a pile of grilled chicken? But it makes up for its lack of photogenic quality by being really, really delicious. Also, it's cheap!
I was cooking for a big group of friends last weekend, and I wanted something spicy but easy and quick. Boneless skinless chicken thighs were the thing, I decided. They are so cheap; the poultry guy at my market has thighs from locally-raised chickens at $1.99/pound. Check that against $6.99/pound for boneless skinless chicken breasts and you have yourself a deal.
Plus, I love the tenderness and flavor of chicken thighs, especially when they are grilled. On the grill these little morsels of chicken stay juicy and tender; they practically melt apart in your mouth. It's very hard to overcook them — another reason I find them superior to chicken breasts.
So what to rub them with? I rummaged around online and found this recipe from chef Suvir Saran at The Wednesday Chef. Luisa raved about it; you basically just chop up a lot of ginger and peppers, along with a few more piquant ingredients, and slather the rub all over the chicken. Roast and enjoy.
I was using skinless boneless thighs, though, and I also was grilling the chicken, so I made a few tweaks. Here's the final recipe with my changes, and adjusted for enough chicken for a crowd. This took less than an hour to put together, and people loved it.
Grilled Tangy, Spicy Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs (For a Crowd)
24 boneless skinless chicken thighs, about 4 pounds 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste 1 tablespoon cumin seeds 1 tablespoon coriander seeds 12 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed 2 3-inch pieces ginger, peeled and diced 2 jalapeño peppers, chopped Zest of 1 lemon 1/4 cup tomato paste 1 tablespoon water 1 teaspoon black pepper
Toss the chicken thighs with the salt in a large bowl. Heat a small skillet over medium heat and toss in the cumin and coriander seeds. Toast, shaking the pan frequently, for about 60 seconds. Pull the pan off the heat and pour the seeds into a small food processor.
Add the smashed garlic, chopped ginger and peppers, lemon zest, tomato paste, water and black pepper. Pulse the mixture until it is liquid and goopy. Toss thoroughly with the chicken. Refrigerate up to 24 hours, or cook immediately.
Heat the grill to high and oil the grate lightly. When hot, cook the chicken 4 minutes on each side, covered.
You can also cook these indoors on a grill pan or in a sauté pan, also cooking 4-8 minutes total, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.