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Lunch / Dinner

Grilled Chicken Thighs with Sambal Marinade

Indonesia lies in the Indian and Pacific oceans and is comprised of thousands of islands, such as Bali and Java. Its food is truly alive with spices, a seductive union of Southeast Asian and Indian cuisines, the result being nothing short of phenomenal. And while the idea of cooking an Indonesian meal might sound daunting, this menu keeps things super simple, with easy-to-find, familiar ingredients.

A sweet and spicy sambal oelek marinade greatly enhances the flavor of this grilled chicken, and produces a delicious char. Make sure to serve over Coconut Rice to soak up all the juices and sauce.


6 servings

Total Time

20 minutes + marinating

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Test Kitchen Tip

If bone-in, skin-on thighs are all you can find, it’s OK to leave the bones, but be sure to remove the skin to prevent flare-ups on the grill.


Whisk together vinegar, sambal, sugar, oil, fish sauce, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and salt in a bowl for the marinade.

Pierce thighs on both sides with a fork. Add thighs to marinade; let marinate, tossing occasionally, 30 minutes, or up to 2 hours, refrigerated.

Preheat grill to medium. Brush grill grate with oil.

Remove thighs from marinade; reserve marinade. Grill thighs, covered, brushing with reserved marinade, until grill marks appear, and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 165°, about 6 minutes per side.


Sambal oelek is a traditional Indonesian condiment, but chili garlic sauce will work in a pinch.


To ensure thighs take on the most flavor from the marinade, pierce them with a fork in several places.

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