Tahini Marinated Chicken with a Sweet Chili Reduction is an easy weeknight dinner but also makes the perfect dinner party entree. After marinating 24 hours, the chicken develops a rich nutty flavor from the tahini complemented by citrus notes from the lemon and thyme. The chicken also tenderizes while marinating making it so that you can cut it with a fork. The Sweet Chili Reduction adds just the right balance of sweet heat to the dish.
I love this chicken recipe because it is so simple and quick.
I originally found this marinade in a Cooking Light magazine, and it’s since become a regular in my dinner rotation. Besides marinating the chicken, the only other thing to do is season with a little salt and pepper and cook it. That’s it! It’s an awesome weeknight dinner since it goes form marinade to mouth in 15 minutes, but I also love this recipe for a dinner party where you may not know the taste preferences of all your guests.
Chicken is always a safe bet, but the marinade is jam-packed with flavor and the reduction adds bright colors and flavors to dress it up. Also, tahini may be a new ingredient for some guests which keeps it from being a boring choice.
I recently made this chicken for my stepsister, Lauren’s bachelorette party. It’s worth pointing out that she is one of my favorite people ever. We lived together all through college so needless to say we’ve had some really good f*cking times together. Point being, when I told Lauren I would be happy to cook one night during our weekend stay in Palm Springs, there was a little bit of pressure to make sure I served up a delicious meal for my best homie and all her favorite gals!
I decided to build on the Asian flavors of tahini and serve the chicken with a Crispy Farro with Peppers, Scallions and Peanuts and a Simple Asian Salad. I love both of these side dishes as stand-alone items as well. You could easily add a little protein to the farro or the salad for a lighter weeknight dinner or a great make-ahead lunch to pack for work.
The Sweet Chili Reduction is so simple. It has a total of 6 ingredients, one of which is water so that shit totally doesn’t count.
You wouldn’t assume this sauce is as easy as it is based on people’s reaction as you spoon it over the top of the chicken. Anytime you use the word reduction you automatically sound more like a restaurant chef to your dinner guests, and the bright color of this sauce had everyone ooooooing and aaaahhhhing at the bachelorette party.
When you put all three dishes together, you have a beautiful plate, filled with fresh produce, bright colors, and complex yet familiar Asian flavors that are sure to please your next dinner party guests, even if that’s just your family for a quick weeknight dinner.
There was, of course, dessert served at the bachelorette party. Bitches love some salad and dessert, duh! Again, I went with a simple crowd pleaser, my family’s J.B. Pie or what most would call No-Bake Cheesecake. Check out the details in my No-Bake Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake post. You really shouldn’t miss out on this one, it’s so easy but really, really delicious.
I hope you try out all these recipes either together or one at a time. Either way, they are sure to satisfy. Let me know how it goes in the comments section below.
Tahini Marinated Chicken with Sweet Chili Reduction
- ¼ C tahini
- 3 Tb parsley
- 3 Tb olive oil
- 3 Tb water
- 1 Tb thyme
- 2 Tb lemon Juice
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 shallot
- 1.5 lbs chicken thighs
- ½ C Thai chili sauce
- 2 Tb soy sauce
- 1 lime
- 1 tsp fresh ginger grated
- 1 tsp sriracha
- 2 Tb water
- Remove thyme leaves from the stem and roughly chop. Finely mince the parsley, garlic and shallot. Add all of the marinade ingredients except the chicken thighs to a small mixing bowl and stir to combine.
- Add the chicken thighs and the marinade to a gallon-size Ziploc. Zip the bag up tightly, removing as much air as possible. Massage the marinade all over the chicken so that each is well covered. Marinade chicken a minimum of 4 hours or up to 24 hours.
- After marinating, remove each thigh from the marinade, wiping off the excess marinade with a paper towel. You don’t have to , all the marinade, but you want to be able to see the actual chicken to ensure it sears nicely. Season each thigh with a pinch salt and pepper on both sides.
- Heat a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Once the oil is well heated, add the chicken thighs and sear for 6-7 minutes per side or until well browned.
- As the chicken cooks, make the sauce by combining all the ingredients in a small saucepan, and bring to a low boil. Reduce for about 10 minutes or until thickened but not too syrup-like.
- Once chicken is seared on both sides and cooked through, place over a bed of farro and top with a couple of spoonfuls of sauce.
Crispy Farro with Peppers, Scallions and Peanuts
- 1 C farro
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 Tb fresh ginger grated
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 bunch scallions
- 2 Tb cilantro
- 1/2 C roasted and salted peanuts
- 2 Tb olive oil
- 2 Tb butter
- 1/4 C Asian salad dressing
- 1 lime
- Rinse the farro in a strainer and place in a medium saucepan. Cover with 1-inch of water and boil the farro (pasta-style) for about 30-45 minutes or until tender. Drain well and spread across a sheet pan to cool completely.
- Slice the green portion of the scallions on an angle. Slice the white portion and keep separate. Dice the red bell pepper, and roughly chop the cilantro.
- o Heat a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat and add 2 Tb butter and 2 Tb olive oil. Heat until almost smoking. Add diced red bell pepper and white part of scallion. Sauté for 2 mins and then add the ginger and garlic. Cook for 30 seconds until aromatic.
- Add farro and stir to combine. Let sit undisturbed for 2-3 minutes until the farro begins to toast and crisp up slightly. Stir and leave undisturbed again for a few minutes.
- o Add ¼ C Asian salad dressing, cilantro, peanuts, and green part of scallions. Stir to combine and remove from heat. Serve with lime wedges.
Simple Asian Salad
- 1 C mixed greens
- 1 C slaw mix
- 1/4 C sesame sticks
- 1/4 C scallions
- Asian salad dressing
- Combine equal parts mixed greens and slaw mix in a salad bowl. Top with desired amount of sliced scallions and sesame sticks. Serve with your favorite store-bought Asian flavored salad dressing.