For most people, there is such thing as a grilling season, and it’s starting right about now.  For us, the grill is going all year-long, no matter the temperature outside. We never stop. Of course, it is a lot nicer to be out  moving stuff around the grill wearing shorts and a t-shirt instead of a down jacket. Let me rephrase that: it’s a lot nicer to do anything wearing shorts and a t-shirt.

This is the perfect recipe for those busy days.  Boneless chicken thighs stay the whole day in the fridge, marinating in coconut milk, tamarind, and a few selected spices.  When you get home, bring the chicken to room temperature as you heat your grill and get your side dishes going.  The meat will be moist, tender, with the right amount of heat.  You will love this!


(slightly modified from One Perfect Bite)

1/2 cup coconut milk (or yogurt)
1 tablespoons tamarind paste
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon garam masala (or ground cumin)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 lemon, cut in wedges
Sprigs of fresh cilantro for serving (optional)

In a large bowl, combine coconut milk, tamarind paste, garlic, salt, garam masala and cayenne. Add chicken and turn to coat well with marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 8 hours.

Remove chicken from  marinade, and grill for 8 to 10 minutes per side. You could also brown chicken in a skillet on stove, place on a baking sheet and finish cooking in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Garnish with lemon wedges and cilantro.


to print the recipe, click


The classic substitution suggested for tamarind paste is lime juice, as the main purpose of the tamarind is to bring acidity into the equation. Of course, it’s acceptable, but the paste is one of those ingredients that once you start using, you will get more and more fond of.   Just like miso, it keeps forever.  You can use it in drinks, in desserts, in all sorts of recipes. Not sold yet? Let me share a few delicious options:

Tamarind-Glazed Honey Shrimp, from A_Boleyn

Chickpeas and Chana Dal Cooked Together in a Mint Sauce, from Eats Well with Others

Thai Red Curry with Pork Belly, from Rachel Cooks Thai

Creamy Peanut Chutney, from Love Food Eat

Prawn Sambal, from Sea Salt with Food

Indian-Spiced Pulled Pork with Tamarind Barbecue Sauce, from Angela’s Food Love

Tamarind Date Cake, from Dan Lepard

Tamarind and Fresh Ginger Cake with Lime Glazing, from Anh’s Food Blog

Mozambique Chicken, from The Perfect Pantry

Tamarind Rice (Puli Sadham), from Chitra’s Food Book

Agua de Tamarindo, from A_Boleyn


ONE YEAR AGO: Chicken-Apricot Skewers

TWO YEARS AGO:  Asparagus Quiche

THREE YEARS AGO: Two-stage Pea and Prosciutto Risotto

FOUR YEARS AGO: Mellow Bakers: Corn Bread


  1. Good morning! Your chicken looks great! I grill and smoke all year long as well. I also have a flat stainless top insert so that I can cook breakfast or food that requires a flat top like Philly sandwiches, etc on the grill top. 🙂


  2. We grill all year round too but it never really gets cold here. Only difference in seasons is shoes or no shoes. It’s winter so it’s shoes but we’re still wearing shorts. It was 28/82 here today. I had steak for dinner but I would LOVE to try this chicken!


    • Your world sounds just like Brazil 😉 So I understand exactly the feeling…

      We had a steak today, flat iron steak, with some prosciutto wrapped shrimp, surf and turf style… 😉


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    • No, I have not tried any of the recipes I listed, they are all on my list to do one day, in fact Dan’s cake has been there for at least 2 years, maybe more. His recipes never failed me, and I really wanted to try that cake


  4. Since I discovered tamarind as part of Pad Thai I’ve grown to love the tart floral taste but I find that like the blocks better than the paste as there’s an aftertaste to the paste (maybe it’s just the brand I brought home) compared to the stuff you have to steep and strain yourself. You can also make a lovely drink with tamarind.

    And of course, it’s great paired with shrimp.


  5. Two of my favourite favours I have so far not put together in quite the same way! Everything at home, so shall try over the weekend!! Since we always grill inside and barbecue outside, my grilling takes place all year and about 3-4 times a week also 🙂 ! My electric grill-plate cooks for about 4-6 and produces easy and fast meals once you have done the marination or the dry-rub!!


    • I knew you would definitely be a tamarind lover…. I have one of your recipes (flank steak, if I remember correctly, or maybe skirt steak) using tamarind on my Pinterest board 😉


  6. It does keep forever! I have a jar of tamarind paste in the pantry that has been waiting for another use. This is too easy and sounds too good to pass up. We can even pull this off through our craziness! Love it Sally!


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  8. I made this for dinner tonight and it was wonderful. I used the yogurt and garam masala options. I was afraid Joe wouldn’t like it as it did taste a bit “exotic” but he asked for seconds. I used drumsticks because that’s what I had and left the skin on because I love chicken skin and do not have your discipline when it comes to healthy eating.


      • I have thighs to cook this week and am going to try cooking them in a hot oven in the pan of marinade, like 5-ingredient chicken. It is officially too hot to grill (for me – you are probably lovin’ it!)


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