We've been making this recipe for years now. It was inspired by one I found on the Food Network for chicken wings. I've adapted it for chicken thighs and scaled down the number of ingredients in the sauce. We are making it in particular this week as we both have colds, which means we don't have the energy to spend all evening in the kitchen. We need something that is quick to prepare and easy to clean up. We also need a lot of flavor as our taste buds are shot from being sick. The spices are great for a cold as they help boost immunity and drive down inflammation. This dish just hits the spot. It's also a great recipe for summer since it's grilled, and the chicken is delicious hot or cold.
Fiery Five Spice Chicken Thighs with Creamy Cilantro Sauce
1.25 to 1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 Tablespoon five spice powder
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust according to how spicy you like it)
3/4 teaspoon salt
5-10 grinds freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces plain yogurt (2% or whole) - Greek is fine.
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper to taste
In a large bowl, mix together the five spice powder, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper. Add the chicken and toss (either with your hands or a spoon) until all the chicken pieces are covered in the spice mixture. Preheat the grill to medium. Set aside.
While the grill is heating, make the sauce. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, cilantro, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Stir until thoroughly mixed.
Add chicken to grill. Grill 4-5 minutes per side. Internal temperature should be 160-165 F.
Serve the chicken with the sauce.
Side dishes: This is great served with rice, quinoa, couscous, roasted cauliflower, etc. Serve with something mild on the side since the chicken itself is so flavorful and spicy.
Nutritional awesomeness: Five spice powder is a blend of star anise, cinnamon, cloves, fennel seeds, and Szechuan peppercorns. Cinnamon is an anti-inflammatory. To read about the benefits of all five, check out this article from Dr. Andrew Weil. Cayenne pepper has numerous health benefits, including pain relief. Cilantro is known for its amazing detox properties and helps remove heavy metals from the body. Yogurt contains probiotics, the friendly bacteria that contribute to a healthy digestive system.