If you're familiar with Thai ingredients, you may have heard of something called "sweet dark sauce", which is a nice sauce for grilling. Because it's hard to find, however, I've made a substitution by combining 2 soy sauces with healthy and flavorful molasses. A Chinese influence is the addition of 5-spice powder, which adds another layer of flavor and richness to an already delightful recipe. Combining orange flavorings together with sweet and sour flavors, this tantalizing recipe will fast become an everyday barbecue favorite. Note that duck also works well with this recipe. ENJOY!
Prep Time: 12 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 32 minutes
- SERVES 2-3
- 8 skinless chicken thighs, or the equivalent of duck (note that chicken breast won't give you the same results)
- 3 Tbsp. sweet Thai soy sauce, OR natural molasses
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or minced
- 1 tsp. dark soy sauce (available at Asian/Chinese grocers)
- 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
- juice of 2 large ripe oranges (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/4 tsp. 5-spice powder (available at Asian/Chinese grocers)
- 1/2 to 3/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, depending on how spicy you want it
- 1 Tbsp. freshly-squeezed lime juice
- 1 Tbsp. fish sauce (available in tall bottles at Asian/Chinese grocers)
- GARNISH/Accompaniments: cucumber slices, a handful of fresh coriander, and orange slices
- optional: 1 tsp. cornstach dissolved in 3 Tbsp. cold water
- Make the marinade/sauce by combining in a small sauce pan or small pot: molasses, garlic, both soy sauces, 5-spice powder, cayenne, lime juice, and 1/2 the orange juice. Save remaining orange juice for later.
- Use a whisk or spoon to stir these ingredients together (if you have trouble dissolving the molasses, stir over low heat until dissolved). Set aside.
- Open up the chicken thighs and cut each one in half. Using a sharp serrated knife, lightly score the pieces across the surface (one side only).
- Place prepared chicken thighs in a large bowl and pour 1/2 the marinade over, reserving the rest for later. Turn the pieces to cover. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to several hours.
- While the chicken is marinating, add the remaining juice to the reserved marinade/sauce.
- Stir and do a taste-test. This sauce should have a combination of 4 flavors: sweet and sour, salty and spicy. Depending on which taste you would prefer to dominate, add more fish sauce instead of salt, more cayenne for spice, more lime juice for sour, and a little sugar for more sweetness.
- Set sauce aside while you warm up the grill/barbecue. Brush your grill with a little vegetable oil.
- Grill the chicken, basting the first few times you turn it with a little of the leftover marinade from the bottom of the bowl. Chicken is cooked when inner flesh is perfectly white (no longer translucent).
- Warm the reserved sauce over medium heat. If desired, you can thicken it with 1 tsp. cornstarch dissolved in 3 Tbsp. water (stir over medium heat until thickened).
- Serve the chicken together with the sauce, either by spooning the sauce over, or serving it on the side. This dish is excellent accompanied with regular white Thai jasmine rice. If desired, add cucumber slices on the side and garnish with a handful of fresh coriander and a few orange slices. ENJOY!