Really Eating

Smitten Kitchen Thai Style Chicken Legs

Posted in Recipes by Bethany on February 25, 2011

Smitten Kitchen is a blog I’ve followed since before I knew about the Pioneer Woman (gasp!) and before I actually cooked anything worth mentioning. Why? you ask? Because before I cooked, I baked!

It’s been fun following Deb through her culinary and personal adventures, like the huge announcement about her pregnancy and now looking for the subtle, but super cute picture of Jacob hidden in each entry. Deb posts a pretty wide range of stuff and a lot of it I’m super impressed by, but way too intimidated to actually try making myself. For example: homemade granola bars and pretzelschocolate pudding (that I am DYING to try), and… well, you get the point.

This recipe was one that caught my eye because of the way she described it: “This might be the best chicken I have ever made…because this is perfection.

That’s a pretty compelling testimony, right?

However, I couldn’t exactly make it the next day given I didn’t have fish sauce, hoisin sauce, coriander, or Thai sweet chili sauce in the house. By the time I got around to buying all the ingredients, I had almost forgotten why I needed them… but I’m so glad I bought them because this recipe is now part of our “regular” menu. I also like this recipe because the chicken can be marinated overnight and popped into the oven when I get home from work. Delicious, check. Convenient, double check.

There are instructions for grilling on the original recipe as well, but since we don’t have a backyard grill just yet, it’s oven-roasting for me for now.


  • 5 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup Asian fish sauce*
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black or white pepper
  • 8 whole chicken legs, split, or 8 drumsticks and 8 thighs (about 5 pounds total)
  • Thai sweet chili sauce, for serving


Combine the garlic, cilantro, fish sauce, vegetable oil, hoisin sauce, coriander, kosher salt and pepper in a blender (or food processor, that’s what I use) until smooth. Arrange the pieces of chicken in a large, shallow glass or ceramic dish. Pour the marinade over the chicken and turn to coat the pieces thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for several hours, or overnight.

To roast the chicken: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cover baking dish with a lid or foil and roast chicken for about 25 minutes. If the sauce begins to char, sprinkle a few tablespoons water into the dish. Remove the lid or foil and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until the skin is crisp and the meat is cooked through.**

My sauce ALWAYS chars. I have no idea what it is, but it always always chars and requires that I soak my Pyrex overnight or over-a-few-nights to get it all off. But it’s worth it.

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