Bearing a pleasant nuance of lime juice, herbs and garlic brought together, this chili lime chicken thighs recipe is bright in flavor and lusty in display. If you got up on the wrong side of the bed, this treat will be able to shake your things up, even if only a little bit.
How do you make delicious grilled chicken?
It depends on your idea of what makes something delicious. I myself am 100% hooked on succulent, tender chicken and absolutely do not like it chewy, even just a tiny bit. To this end, I grilled both sides of my chicken thighs at 662°F on pan so that the marinade could perform best when on heat. After finished, it still needs to be kept warm in the oven at approximately 248°F, so they could poach in their own juices to reach the ideal level of moistness afterward.
For crispy skins with char, simply grill the chicken hot, on direct heat for only a short period (say, 5-10 minutes for both sides). There’s no sugar in the marinade, so there’s no need to fuss over the risk of burned skins.
This dish will be even better with the smoky flavor and charcoal marks on the skin, so if you’re capable of pulling it out on a charcoal grill, do it. Outdoor BBQs surely can’t turn this thing down.
One great way to avoid being a busybody over burned or undercooked chicken is to invest in a meat thermometer and give yourself assurance based on this guidance for the ideal cooking temperature for chicken.
How do you make lime and chili marinade?
It’s spicy and zingy, as is apparent – but did you know that the fresh, citrusy aroma of this Chili Lime chicken is made from a list of 6 only?
There is chili powder, salt, cumin, garlic powder, black pepper and lime juice in the mixture. As per my personal experience, the garlic should ideally be in a powder state so it will less likely be burnt when on heat and result in no bitterness in taste. You can also add in some extra roasted beans or spices of your favourite.
The lime juice lends a hint of tartness to the spice blend. In this recipe, it’s a well-rounded both in the chicken marinade and the cauliflower rice. When the chicken is done, return it to the pan together with the veggies and squeeze the lime juice all over. It is indeed a pop!
The tropical sweet flavor from the citrus pairs perfectly with the mild spiciness from the chili in the seasoning. For anything pan-grilled, adding a little heat to the dish is a brilliant way to simulate the nice smokey flavor seen in those grilled on a skillet.
One last thing: if you’re going for chili powder, please keep in mind that it will always top paprika in overall heat. Chili powder is composed of a chili pepper base (which can be either ancho peppers or cayenne peppers) and various other spices, while in the meantime, paprika is made purely from a ground chili base. There could still be some spice mash-up in paprika, but only with a much smaller volume than that of chili powder. Ergo, the chili base decides things. But here in the US, the typical paprika you’ll most likely bump into at food stores is the sweet version with a milder flavor.
What goes well with grilled chicken?
This grilled chili lime chicken is perfect when paired with leftovers and salads in general. The dish itself is already a great prepped-ahead treat. You can simply tear the thighs in thin strips and tuck the meat into wraps, any kind of wraps – tacos, enchiladas, sandwiches and so on.
Chili lime chicken thighs go even smoother on hot steamed quinoa or rice. Some extra veggies as final add-ons will do your meals good.
With a little help from the cauliflower rice
Being nutrient-packed with vitamin C, K and B, cauliflower is a grain-free and super versatile cruciferous vegetable. Taken with traditional white rice, it is certainly preeminent in health benefits for being much lower in carbohydrates while higher in fiber and vitamins, therefore improving digestion and brain function, aiding in weight-loss and helping to bind toxins.
Cauliflower rice is practically tasteless – so doctoring it up with whatever other flavor you choose is limited only by your creativity. Here, the rice is presented together with lime juice, frozen corn, red bell pepper, black beans, cilantro, chili, cumin and garlic powder – as you can see in the ingredient list below. Some other viable options could be fresh herbs, coconut oil, carrots or kale.
Though it takes only minutes for a big batch of cauliflower rice, you can still search for the ready-made frozen one in a package if you truly have no longer than a blink of time.
Skillet chili lime chicken thighs recipe
- 4 medium bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (approx. 5 oz each)
For the lime and chili marinade:
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Juice of 1 lime
For the cauliflower rice:
- 2 cups riced cauliflower fresh or frozen
- 1/2 cup corn fresh or frozen
- 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup black beans rinsed and drained
- 2 green onions sliced
- 1 tbsp chopped cilantro
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Juice of 1/2 a lime
Prep the chicken:
- Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.
- Combine the ingredients for the lime and chili marinade in a bowl.
- Season the marinade over all sides of the chicken thighs.
Prep the cauliflower:
- Wash and dry the cauliflower, remove the leaves from the whole cauliflower, then cut off the root.
- Chop the cauliflower into chunks, then toss them in a food processor so they’re grated into rice-size. Otherwise, use a box grater.
- Pour the grated cauliflower to a clean towel and squeeze to remove excess moisture. Set aside.
Cook the chicken:
- Heat the cooking oil to medium-high heat on a non-stick skillet, on a stove.
- Place the chicken thighs skin-side down on the skillet and cover (with a pan lit, a splatter screen or foil – only overlay, not tightly wrap). Let them cook at 662°F for 10 minutes.
- Flip them over and cook for another 10 minutes, still with a cover over the top of the skillet.
- Remove the chicken thighs, then bring to warm in the oven at 248°F. In the meantime, go make the cauliflower rice.
Make the cauliflower rice:
- On the same skillet that was used to cook the chicken, sauté the red bell peppers and green onions for 2 minutes.
- Add the cauliflower rice in and sauté for an extra 2 minutes.
- Add in the remaining ingredients for the cauliflower rice. Cook until all the veggies are tender but not mushy (approx. 4 minutes).
- Remove the chicken thighs from the oven and bring back into the skillet one last time together with the cauliflower rice mixture. Let simmer on low heat for 1 minute. Sprinkle some extra lime juice and cilantro on top.
- Remove from heat and bring to serve immediately.