Recipe: Grilled Vietnamese Chicken Legs with Coriander Chili Sauce

Sep 8, 2015 by     No Comments    Posted under: Main Course Recipes, Recipes
Grilled Vietnamese Chicken Legs

Grilled Vietnamese Chicken Legs

If you’re looking for a new way to enjoy crispy grilled chicken other than being slathered in barbecue sauce, you’ve hit the jackpot by finding this recipe my friend.  This Vietnamese inspired flavor profile is so delicious you may never want to grill chicken any other way again.   Bursts of flavor in every bite come from the fresh cilantro and chili marinade, which is later turned into a savory Asian sauce.  All the traditional Vietnamese ingredients are there…. fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, rice vinegar, chili, cilantro, scallion, and palm sugar; but once grilled, they are transformed into a sticky umami coating I just can’t get enough of.

The inspiration behind this recipe comes from a recipe I found in Food & Wine magazine, May 2012 issue.  Their cover recipe was titled “Thai Chicken with Hot-Sour-Salty-Sweet Sauce.”  It sounded and looked delicious, but when I cooked it, it was lacking so very much in the way of taste and excitement.  It was a real disappointment, a total dud.  I was determined that I could make something significantly better, and I did.  My rendition uses much more fish sauce, ditches the tamarind sour component, and users less hot chili, which more closely aligns with Vietnamese cuisine, thus the nationality change in my recipe title.  Anyway, I hope you enjoy this chicken dish as much as I do.

How to Make Vietnamese Chicken Marinade

If you cook Vietnamese or Thai food on a somewhat regular basis, you should have all of the necessary ingredients on hand.  But if not, a quick trip to your local Asian market should provide everything you need.  Here’s what’s needed:

  • 1/2 cup fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup palm sugar (can substitute coconut palm sugar or brown sugar)
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch coriander (cilantro) leaves and stems, roughly chopped
  • 2 small or 1 large red jalapeno, seeds removed (leave them in if you like spicy)
  • 1 green onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Grilled Vietnamese Chicken Legs Ingredients

Grilled Vietnamese Chicken Legs Ingredients

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until finely chopped and incorporated.

Blend Marinade Ingredients

Blend Marinade Ingredients

 

Marinade Chicken in Asian Ingredients

Place 8-10 chicken legs in a container just large enough to hold them all (a zip top bag works for this), then pour the marinade over the chicken.  The marinade should nearly cover the chicken legs.  Place in refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours (4 is better), rotating the chicken every 30 minutes to ensure that it marinates evenly.

Marinade Chicken Legs

Marinade Chicken Legs

 

How to Cook Vietnamese Inspired Chicken Legs

After your chicken has marinated for at least 2 hours, heat your grill to at least 500°.  Remove the chicken from the marinade, reserving the marinade for the base of the Vietnamese Cilantro Sauce later.  Place the marinated chicken legs to one side of the grill, and turn that side down to medium-low, leaving the other side of the grill on high, then close the lid.  If using a charcoal grill, move most of your coals to two outside edges and place the chicken in the middle before closing the lid.  The point here is to use some low heat directly under the chicken, and high indirect heat around the chicken so that it cooks evenly without burning.

Place Marinated Chicken Legs on Grill

Place Marinated Chicken Legs on Grill

Turn the chicken every 10-minutes so that it browns evenly on all sides.  Cook until a meat probe thermometer reaches 165º in the thickest part of the leg, about 30 minutes.

Vietnamese Chicken Legs on the Grill

Vietnamese Chicken Legs on the Grill

Once chicken is done, turn the heat down to low to keep the chicken warm while you make the Vietnamese Cilantro Sauce.  To make the sauce, place the marinade in a sauce pot over high heat and add 1/2 cup water to it.  Bring to a full rolling boil for 3 minutes, then remove from the heat.

Boil Leftover Marinade

Boil Leftover Marinade

Place the grilled chicken legs on a platter and pour the Vietnamese Cilantro Sauce all over them.  Serve with steamed jasmine rice and your favorite Asian vegetables.

Grilled Vietnamese Chicken Legs

Grilled Vietnamese Chicken Legs

 Recipe by Jothan Yeager, September 2015

 

The Bald Gourmet creates a delicious Vietnamese inspired grilled chicken drumstick recipe.

 

Recipe: Grilled Vietnamese Chicken Legs
 
Prep time

Cook time

Total time

 

If you’re looking for a new way to enjoy crispy grilled chicken other than being slathered in barbecue sauce, you’ve hit the jackpot by finding this recipe my friend. This Vietnamese inspired flavor profile is so delicious you may never want to grill chicken any other way again. Bursts of flavor in every bite come from the fresh cilantro and chili marinade, which is later turned into a savory Asian sauce. All the traditional Vietnamese ingredients are there…. fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, rice vinegar, chili, cilantro, scallion, and palm sugar; but once grilled, they are transformed into a sticky umami coating I just can’t get enough of.
Author:
Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Servings: 8 drumsticks

Ingredients
  • 8 chicken legs
  • ½ cup fish sauce
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup palm sugar (can substitute coconut palm sugar or brown sugar)
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch coriander (cilantro) leaves and stems, roughly chopped
  • 2 small or 1 large red jalapeno, seeds removed (leave them in if you like spicy)
  • 1 green onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder

Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients (less the chicken legs) in a blender and blend until finely chopped and incorporated to make a marinade.
  2. Place 8-10 chicken legs in a container just large enough to hold them all (a zip top bag works for this), then pour the marinade over the chicken. The marinade should nearly cover the chicken legs. Place in refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours (4 is better), rotating the chicken every 30 minutes to ensure that it marinates evenly.
  3. After your chicken has marinated for at least 2 hours, heat your grill to at least 500°. Remove the chicken from the marinade, reserving the marinade for the base of the Vietnamese Cilantro Sauce later. Place the marinated chicken legs to one side of the grill, and turn that side down to medium-low, leaving the other side of the grill on high, then close the lid. If using a charcoal grill, move most of your coals to two outside edges and place the chicken in the middle before closing the lid. The point here is to use some low heat directly under the chicken, and high indirect heat around the chicken so that it cooks evenly without burning.
  4. Turn the chicken every 10-minutes so that it browns evenly on all sides.
  5. Cook until a meat probe thermometer reaches 165º in the thickest part of the leg, about 30 minutes.
  6. Once chicken is done, turn the heat down to low to keep the chicken warm while you make the Vietnamese Cilantro Sauce.
  7. To make the sauce, place the marinade in a sauce pot over high heat and add ½ cup water to it. Bring to a full rolling boil for 3 minutes, then remove from the heat.
  8. Place the grilled chicken legs on a platter and pour the Vietnamese Cilantro Sauce all over them. Serve with steamed jasmine rice and your favorite Asian vegetables.

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I'm Jothan Yeager and I am The Bald Gourmet. After years of experimenting in my kitchen, creating delicious food and eating at amazing places around the world, I wanted a place to share my experiences with everyone. Thus the Bald Gourmet was born. I hope to open the doors of great food and great cooking to you, to inspire you to reach beyond prepared boxed meals, and to teach you of a world of deliciousness that has brought joy to me and those around me. Please enjoy the adventure which is The Bald Gourmet and share it with those you love.