Chicken Thighs are an underutilized ingredient. People are often searching for new recipes and unique things to grill. It seems as if most people like to grill something quickly so they throw a hamburger or chicken breast on the grill or they go big and throw a nice piece of steak on the grill. Why are chicken thighs so often ignored? You can do so much with them! They are also cheaper and juicer then chicken breasts. They’re a versatile protein that you can cook bone in or bone out. Chicken thighs are also a nice fatty piece of protein so they won’t dry out quickly if you accidentally overcook them. Give chicken thighs a shot and get creative the next time you are looking for something different to grill. Did I mention that chicken thighs are pretty inexpensive? For the same price as rolling thru the drive thru window, you can pick up 2 pounds of chicken thighs, some non traditional spices and have an awesome meal.
Speaking of non traditional spices, the unique color that you will notice of this marinade is from the fresh tumeric. Often found in Indian dishes and curries, fresh and dried tumeric gives dishes an awesome yellowish orange coloring. I encourage you to try tumeric in other dishes besides this one. From ground fresh tumeric in rice to dried tumeric powder in soups, don’t be afraid to get creative and try something new. It’s all about getting outside your cooking comfort zone and experimenting with new flavors. Like a lot of spices, the dried version of tumeric is more potent than the fresh version. So I would recommend starting with fresh tumeric and then combine it with other spices. You’ll quickly realize that the flavor is unique, but fantastic. One issue to watch out for when working with tumeric is staining. Tumeric will stain everything including your cutting boards, graters, and fingertips. So make sure you wear gloves. There’s also a lot of claims that tumeric has a lot of health benefits. I’d love to start talking more about the health benefits, however, I’m not a doctor so I’ll let you do additional research if you are interested.
For this recipe start with the marinade which brings me to a question. Why marinate a protein? The two answers I always come back to is for flavor and to tenderize the protein. That is the whole point of using Yogurt. Yogurt marinades are common in Indian cooking. It will tenderize the chicken due to the lactic acid in the dairy. It’s a long process so that’s why I recommend letting the dish sit overnight in the refrigerator. Along with the yogurt, take ground fresh ginger, ground fresh tumeric, fresh garlic, lime juice, lemon juice and a handful of fresh cilantro and combine it with cumin seeds, paprika, thyme, and chipolte pepper powder. Between the tumeric, ginger, and chipolte pepper powder this dish has the potential for some heat, but the yogurt does mellow out the marinade, so feel free to give it some kick with the spices.
Add all the marinade ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
Combine with boneless, skinless chicken thighs and let marinate overnight. After marinating overnight, place the cubed chicken thighs on wooden skewers. The yogurt marinade works great with chicken breasts as well , but I’m just a big fan of chicken thighs. You’ll notice right away the bright yellow color complements of the tumeric. Again, don’t drop the marinade because it will stain.
Put on direct heat over charcoal on a kettle grill flipping occasionally so the chicken gets a little char but does not burn. You want to bring the internal temperature of the chicken thighs up to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Yogurt Marinated Chicken Skewers
- 16 ounces plain fat free yogurt
- Juice of one lime
- Juice of one lemon
- 2 tablespoon fresh minced tumeric
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon chipolte pepper powder
- 1 cup fresh cilantro
- 2.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
Place marinade ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
Remove the skin of the chicken thighs and cut the chicken thighs into cubes.
Pour the marinade over the thighs and let rest overnight in the refrigerator.
After marinating overnight, place the chicken thighs on skewers.
Put over direct heat of the charcoal.
When buying the chicken, try to find boneless and skinless thighs. It will save you time. If you can't find them ask your butcher to debone and remove the skin.