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Easy Dinners > Chicken in the Oven 6 March 2006

Posted by cath in easy, mildly spicy, Recipes, Thai food, variations.

Mildly SpicyThai Chicken in the Oven
(and some other variants)

A really easy way of cooking joints of chicken on the bone. The flavours can be adapted to almost anything from Thai (shown here) to Indian, Mexican, Italian by adding different herbs, spices, oils and liquids.

Follow the instructions and you will get both tender, succulent chicken and a golden, crispy skin – yum!

Serves 4 as a snack or starter on it’s own or as a main meal served with steamed rice, stir-fried vegetables and a tomato and mint sauce.

8 Chicken Thighs, Legs or similar, on the bone (leave the skin on)
5 cloves of Garlic, crushed slightly and roughly chopped
1 small red onion or shallot, halved and thinly sliced
2 stalks Lemongrass, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1-2 inches of Ginza (Galangal) or Ginger, shredded or grated
Kaffir lime leaves, shredded
4 crushed dried birds-eye chillies, or finely chopped fresh chillies – to taste
Handful of coriander – stalk, finely chopped; leaves, roughly chopped and set aside
1 teaspoon palm sugar (or dark brown sugar)
2-3 tbsp Fish Sauce
1-2 limes or lemons, halved and juiced, then chopped into chunks
A splash of groundnut oil
Salt, freshly ground pepper, coriander seed and/or cumin seed


  1. Using a large roasting dish, place a large piece of tin foil inside and brush with a bit of oil. Make sure you have enough foil to create a closed pocket around the chicken for the first stage of cooking.
  2. Place the chicken into the foil-covered dish. Then add chopped ingredients except the coriander leaves (reserve for later).
  3. Add the liquids, oil and sugar. Mix well, ensuring each chicken joint is well covered and the lime chunks are spread out in the tin.
  4. You are aiming for a moist, chunky marinade, do not add too much liquid at this stage.
  5. Fold the tin foil into a loose fitting parcel and twist the edges together to form a tight seal.
  6. The mixture can be left to marinate for a short period (30 mins) or a few hours as desired.
  7. When you are ready to cook, heat the oven to 180 degees C, then add the chicken parcel and bake for 30 mins. During this stage, the chicken is steaming, rather than roasting in the oven.
  8. If you’ve left the skin on the chicken, you’ll definitely want to brown the dish before serving. Remove from the oven, turn the oven up to 190 or 200 degrees C and open up the top of the parcel. The chicken should be cooked, so you just need to place it back in the oven uncovered to brown, this may take up to 15 minutes, this also reduces the juices down to a delicious spicy sauce.
  9. Serve hot from the oven, drizzled with the sauce and garnished with coriander leaves. Alternatively, serve cold with salad or in sandwiches.

Spicy Chicken

Here’s what it looks like after marinating, just seal up the foil and its ready to cook.

Serving this as a main meal it goes well with rice or noodles and with stir-fried vegetables such as broccoli with sesame seeds on the side. For those who like it spicy, a mint and tomato sauce can be made as a cooling accompaniment. Simply add some chopped tin tomatoes or peeled and chopped fresh tomatoes to a small pan or frying pan, add some finely chopped mint and a sprinkling of sugar and heat through.

Mexican flavours: lime, garlic, fresh/ground coriander, spring onion, chillies, dark chocolate, lots of crushed cumin seeds, peppers, etc.

Italian flavours: aromatic herbs (i.e. thyme, rosemary), lemon, peppers, tomatoes, bay leaf, chillies etc.

Indian flavours: coriander seeds, cumin seeds, tumeric, cloves, cinnamon, fresh coriander, chillies lemon, peppercorns etc.

Other ideas: Simply use your favorite flavours, herbs and spices to create your own version.


1. Richard Klein - 4 August 2006

How would you adjust the cooking time and temperature when cooking skinless, boneless breasts or thighs?

2. cath - 4 August 2006

As long as you keep it in one piece, just slightly reduce the first cooking time. (Cooking time will always depend on the size of joint – without the bones it should cook through to the middle quicker). 180 degrees (C) is a good medium hot oven which works for most dishes if you’re unsure.

The best way to see if meat is cooked is to pierce it (in a thick bit) with a skewer and check that the juices run clear. I recommend leaving it in the oven for about 25 minutes before doing this.

Then if you feel that it needs some extra time, you can cook it uncovered and slightly brown the meat – but be careful – without skin and bones the meat will dry up easily, so only brown it for 5-10 minutes, and only if it’s not cooked through. Alternatively, if the meat is cooked, remove it and leave to rest on a warm plate, then you can still reduce the juices in the hot oven if required.

Boneless cuts tend to have a little less flavour so another tip is that you can push the marinade right into the chicken and get more flavour into the meat that way.

I would not recommend cutting the meat up – if you want to quickly cook strips of chicken, then go for a stir fry instead (see the variations at the bottom which tells you breifly how to cook meat…I’ll try and post more stir-fry recipes soon, but the technique is to quickly cook the meat strips first, remove and reserve on a warm plate and add again at the end to combine and heat through).

Let me know how you get on! Thanks for your question.

3. Richard Klein - 4 August 2006

Thank you! I tried it myself before I saw your reply. I cooked it at 200C (400F) for 30 minutes (maybe a couple minutes more) and it turned out well. I may have cooked it more than necessary, but it wasn’t tough or dry or otherwise disappointing.

4. cath - 4 August 2006

Great stuff – always best to learn by doing!

I should have also mentioned that I have a fan oven, so supposedly 180 degrees = 200 degrees in a conventional electric oven, although I’m not always convinced it’s that much of a difference…

Checking that meat (especially chicken) is cooked is always better than sticking like glue to the prescribed cooking time.

5. blaadje - 31 December 2006

Thanks for this great post, it was just the missing info that ui was looking for, for my study



6. cath - 6 January 2007

Hi Blaadje – glad you found what you wanted! Happy New Year!

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