Cheecken. (The Fifth Element, anyone?) If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know that the rotisserie chicken that pops out of that bizzare, futuristic, microwave-oven looks delicious! It kinda makes you want to eat a big, greasy, futuristic, probably-genetically-modified, rotisserie cheecken with your hands, no? It’s also caused me to favor the “cheecken” pronunciation over “chicken”.
If the vision of eating a whole greasy chicken with your fingers is not your forte, I have a solution for you: Thai marinated chicken legs. I got the idea from Nom Nom Paleo as I’ve heard about her green chicken through the grapevine on multiple occasions. I always vowed to check it out and boy, am I glad I did! This recipe adaptation has become a staple meal for us.
My marinade is slightly different as it simply contains every Thai food component you’d ever need. It’s pretty much my Thai curry recipe, but, evolved into a marinade. The best part is there is absolutely NO sweetener added! All you need is 5-6 medjool dates – of course, you could sweeten with honey or maple syrup, too. The sweetness from the dates + coconut milk really take this chicken to the next level. I’ve even made it with parsley in place of mint several times with great results.
Despite the ingredient list being a biiiiit longer than typically desired, it’s still one of the easiest meals you could make. All you need is your blender and a wire rack + baking sheet. On the grill would taste great, too! If you don’t have all the ingredients, simply omit or use another version of them – i.e. dried/ground ginger & lemongrass instead of fresh, sesame seeds/tahini instead of sesame oil. All I can say is MAKE THE CHEECKEN, LILU… and watch the movie if you haven’t seen it and these cheecken references are flying over your head. You will not regret it.
(p.s. can I just say that Fifth-Element-Bruce-Willis is FIIIINE. It’s completely normal for a 7-8 year old to join Bruce Willis AOL fan clubs to satisfy my obsession with a mid-aged bald man… right? Mom & Dad probably should’ve utilized those parental blocks.)
- 8 chicken legs (about 2 to 2-1/2 lbs)
- 1-1/2 handfuls fresh cilantro
- 1 handful fresh basil
- 1 handful fresh mint (I use parsley during the winter when my mint plants are dead)
- 5-6 medjool dates, pitted OR 1-1/2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
- 1 shallot OR ¼ of an onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- ½ cup canned coconut milk
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2-1/2 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tsp sriracha OR heaping ¼ tsp red chili flakes
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp sliced lemongrass
- 1 inch fresh ginger
- Zest + juice of 1 lime
- ½ tsp sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Blend all marinade ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor until a well-combined paste forms.
- Place chicken in a ziploc bag and pour marinade over top. Remove air from bag and massage into chicken. Let marinate in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours or overnight/up to 24 hours.
- Once marinated and ready to cook, preheat oven to 375.
- Place chicken on a greased wire rack, skin side down, and bake for 40 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- Remove from oven and serve garnished with fresh cilantro or parsley and lime wedges.