Juicy chicken thighs, marinated in a sticky, sweet and spicy sauce and grilled to perfection. What’s not to love about this DELICIOUS gochujang chicken recipe? Serve with a crunchy slaw and soft flatbreads and you’ve got a winner of a dish.
If you’re looking for a way to mix up your regular chicken dishes, this gorgeous marinade will do just that. If you’ve not used gochujang before you are in for a serious treat! It’s sweet, spicy, salty and super savoury and I bet you’ll become as addicted to using it as I am. This recipe is great for weeknights – just marinate the chicken, throw together the crunchy slaw while the chicken is cooking and serve up with flatbreads or wraps. And don’t worry if you don’t have time to marinate the chicken for 30 minutes. It will still be great!
There are a few ways you could cook this chicken. I find that if you cook it just using the stove-top, the outside of the chicken is prone to burning before it’s cooked all the way through. The method I’m using ensures super juicy chicken with just the right level of char. Because while barbecuing is a fab way to cook for the best charred flavour, it’s not always something you want to do, especially on a weeknight. Cooking the chicken initially in a skillet on the stove-top means you get the initial browning, then transferring to the grill (broiler) to finish off and char is the best method to mimic that barbecue result in an every day way.
Most of the ingredients in this dish you should already have in your kitchen – the gochujang paste might be the only one that’s slightly tricky to find.
- Chicken thighs. I’m using boneless and skinless thighs here as they’re super juicy and can stand up to the heat needed to get the lovely charring from the grill. Always use free range.
- Gochujang paste. This is a real staple for me so I always have some on hand. It’s a Korean fermented chilli paste and it’s a super flavour powerhouse. It’s spicy, sweet and deeply savoury. Larger supermarkets are starting to stock it, or if you’ve got an Asian supermarket nearby, you’ll find it there. You can also pick it up on Amazon.
- Rice vinegar. The vinegar helps to tenderise the meat as it’s marinating, and I love using rice vinegar with these flavours. You can swap it out for white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar if that’s what you have though.
- Honey. Gochujang is strong, savoury and spicy and so benefits from a little bit of sweetness. The honey will also help the chicken to get that lovely, charred colour we’re looking for when it’s grilling. Use maple syrup if you don’t have honey.
- Soy sauce. Use light soy here. It’ll provide a lovely salty depth and colour to the chicken that pairs well with the gochujang.
- Sesame oil. I LOVE the flavour sesame oil brings to this dish, but if you don’t have any, just add an extra tablespoon of olive oil.
How to make it
Start by marinating the chicken thighs. I’m keeping things simple here by mixing the chicken and marinade in one bowl, rather than making the marinade separately and pouring it over the chicken. Anything to save dishes! Get the chicken thighs into a large container or mixing bowl, then add the soy sauce, sesame oil, olive oil, gochujang paste and rice vinegar then grate the garlic cloves and ginger straight into the bowl. You can use a garlic press if you prefer. There’s no need to peel the ginger when you’re grating it either! Mix everything really well so that the marinade coats the chicken thoroughly. Set aside in the fridge to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
When you’re ready to cook, get the chicken out of the fridge and heat your grill (broiler) to its highest setting (that’s 250C/482F for me). I’m cooking the chicken on skewers, but you can just cook them whole. I’ve given instructions for that in the recipe card below. Cut the chicken into roughly 1-inch chunks using scissors, then thread the chunks onto the skewers. Get some oil into an ovenproof skillet over high heat (use a regular pan and then just transfer to an oven tray to grill if you don’t have one), then add the skewers and cook for 4 minutes on each side. Transfer the skillet to the top shelf of your oven and grill for another 8 minutes, until super charred on top.
PRO TIP: If you’re using wooden skewers, make sure to soak them in water for about 30 minutes before using them (I like to do this while the chicken is marinating and the oven is heating). This will stop them from burning.
Got a question?
You can prepare everything ahead of time and then just cook the chicken when you’re ready to serve. The gochujang aioli can be made a week in advance, and the slaw with dressing will be fine for 2 days (or prepare the slaw vegetables and then just toss them with the dressing ingredients when you’re serving). You can marinate the chicken up to 24 hours in advance of cooking it. Alternatively, you can cook the chicken too and then either serve it cold (still delicious!) or pop it in the microwave for a minute to reheat.
The gochujang paste definitely does give this chicken a kick, so if you’re worried about spice, reduce the amount of gochujang in the marinade to 1/2 a tablespoon, or even 1/4 if you’re very worried.
This chicken will be absolutely fine stored in a covered container in the fridge for 5 days. You can either eat it cold or reheat it in the microwave. Just make sure it’s fully heated through if you’re doing that.
You sure could! Cooking on a barbecue is my favourite way to cook marinated chicken like this – you just can’t beat the flavour you get from the smoke and fire. Grill them for 5 minutes on each side until super charred and cooked through (slice into a piece if you’re unsure if it’s cooked – it should be white and juicy).
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If you make this recipe let me know in the comments below! I love hearing how you get on with my creations.Print