6 Grilled Chicken Recipes Inspired by International Flavors

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While I do like a nice plate of grilled chicken every now and then, I sometimes find it bland and boring. 

So, I made it a mission to find recipes — inspired by cuisines around the world — to elevate a basic grilled chicken dish. And here are my top six picks. 

1. Tandoori Grilled Chicken Skewers

Our first stop is in ancient India where this grilled tandoori chicken originates from. 

One of the standout characteristics of this dish is its vibrant red color. Many people think that it comes from the traditional tandoor oven in which this dish is typically cooked. 

Yet, this is a common misconception. The bright red hue actually comes from a blend of spices, including red chili powder and turmeric. 

The interesting part is: red chili powder and turmeric are just two of the many, many spices found in this dish.

If you want to know what the other spices are to make this Indian-inspired grilled chicken recipe, here’s a brief lowdown.

First, make your marinade by mixing one cup of plain yogurt, two tablespoons of lemon juice, two teaspoons of grated ginger, two cloves of garlic, and a bunch of other spices.

These spices include one tablespoon of garam masala, a teaspoon of cumin, coriander, and turmeric, half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper and red chili powder, and a pinch of salt.

After mixing your marinade, cut two pounds of your boneless, skinless chicken breasts into cubes and drop them into the marinade. 

Make sure every inch of your chicken is coated with this spice-laden sauce before covering the bowl and placing it in the fridge to marinate for at least two hours. 

For the best results, I recommend leaving your chicken in the fridge overnight. 

After marinating the chicken, the next step is to thread them through the skewers and set them on a hot grill. 

They should cook for about eight to 10 minutes. Just be sure to turn them every few minutes to achieve a good char on all sides.

Now, take them off the grill and let them sit for five minutes. Then, finish it off with a garnish of fresh cilantro and lime wedges.

Tell me, isn’t this recipe such a major glow-up from your regular grilled chicken? And we’re only just getting started.

2. Grilled Honey Orange BBQ Chicken

Much like the tandoori grilled chicken skewers, this next item on our list is also inspired by the flavors of Asia. 

Although orange chicken became quite popular in America because of Panda Express, its origins come from China. 

It was developed by Chef Andy Kho way back in 1987 and since then, it has had numerous copycat recipes.

While this grilled honey orange BBQ chicken is by no means a replica of the original, this rendition does get much of its influence from the first recipe.

So, to make this version of the popular orange chicken, whisk together these ingredients in a bowl: half a cup of honey, half a cup of fresh orange juice, and a quarter cup of soy sauce.

Using the same bowl, add two tablespoons of olive oil, four cloves of minced garlic, a tablespoon of grated ginger, a teaspoon of smoked paprika, and half a teaspoon of black pepper.

Now, take four boneless chicken breasts and place them in a large ziplock bag. 

Pour your freshly made marinade over the chicken before sealing the bag and giving it a good shake. Put it in the fridge and leave it there for up to eight hours.  

When you’re ready to grill, cook each side of your marinated chicken for around six to eight minutes.

During the last two or three minutes, baste your chicken with your favorite BBQ sauce to add a bit of smoky flavor. 

Once your chicken is completely cooked through, take it off the grill and let it rest for five minutes. 

As you wait, mix a quarter cup of BBQ sauce with two tablespoons of honey. Brush this sauce all over your grilled orange chicken to get that sweet and sticky finish. 

Who knows? Maybe you’ll like this recipe better than the original Panda Express orange chicken.

3. Grilled Chicken with Coconut Rice and Chile-Lime Sauce

While we’re still in Asia, let’s take a look at this next dish that has influences from both Thai and Vietnamese cuisines.

To make this grilled chicken with coconut rice and chile-lime sauce, here’s what you need to do.

First, whisk together a quarter cup of lime juice, two tablespoons of fish sauce, two tablespoons of honey, one minced red Thai chile, and a clove of minced garlic. 

After making the sauce, the next step is to make your coconut rice.

That said, grab a medium-sized saucepan and combine one and a half cups of jasmine rice, a cup of water, a cup of coconut milk, and half a teaspoon of salt to taste.

Bring this mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low once the water starts to bubble. Continue cooking the rice on low heat for 18 to 20 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed.

Since preparing the coconut rice may take a while, you can use your downtime to prepare your chicken. 

For this part, season four chicken breasts with salt and pepper and grill them per usual. Once the chicken has nice grill marks all over, take it off the heat and let it rest. 

By now, all the components of this dish are prepped and ready to go. The last step is to put it all together. 

Grab a cup of coconut rice and top it with your grilled chicken. Then, drizzle the entire dish with your homemade chile-lime sauce. 

If you want to add a bit of flair, garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and lime wedges. This is truly a Southeast Asian-inspired grilled chicken recipe you wouldn’t want to miss out on.

4. Grilled Tamarind Chicken

Want to learn another Southeast Asian-inspired dish? Perhaps this grilled tamarind chicken — which gets its influence from Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia — is just what you’re looking for.

One thing you can expect from this recipe is that it’s going to be quite tangy. So, if you have a preference for sour-savory dishes, this is right up your alley.

Let’s begin by combining half a cup of tamarind pulp, a quarter cup of fish sauce, two tablespoons of palm or brown sugar, four cloves of garlic, and two shallots in a blender. 

Then add one lemongrass stalk (only the inner part), a tablespoon of vegetable oil, and a teaspoon of black pepper to the same blender.

When you blitz this mixture, you should end up with a smooth paste. 

Now, take four chicken thighs and place them in a resealable bag. Pour your paste with the chicken before sealing the bag and leaving it in the fridge overnight.

Come morning, turn up your grill and remove your chicken from the marinade. This should cook for 14 minutes tops or seven minutes per side.

During the last five minutes, baste your meat with some of your leftover marinade to further infuse it with the sauce’s tangy flavors. 

After cooking the chicken, take it off the grill and let it sit for a few minutes before slicing it into strips and serving it with a cup of steamed rice or a zesty mango salad.

5. Mexican Grilled Chicken Salad

Now that our tour of Asia is done, let’s take a side trip to Mexico, where we can find the inspiration for this Mexican grilled chicken salad.

From black beans, cotija cheese, and corn to a whole bunch of tasty spices, this dish is loaded with classic Mexican ingredients that give it its authentic flavor. 

So, if you’re ready to try your hand at this Mexican-inspired grilled dish, let’s get on with the recipe. 

First, prepare the marinade for your chicken by mixing a quarter cup of olive oil, two tablespoons of lime juice, and two cloves of garlic in a large bowl.

For the seasoning, add a teaspoon of ground cumin, a teaspoon of chili powder, half a teaspoon of smoked paprika, and a pinch of salt and pepper. 

In the same bowl, put four chicken breasts and mix them well so they get covered with the tasty sauce. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for two hours.

While waiting for the chicken to soak up all the Mexican flavors, heat your grill to medium.

Once the grill is hot, take the chicken out of the fridge and cook it on the grill for six to eight minutes on each side. Then, take it off the grill and let it sit for about five minutes.

While the chicken rests, make your salad by mixing six cups of mixed greens, a cup of cherry tomatoes cut in half, a cup of black beans that have been washed and dried, and a cup of corn kernels.

In the same bowl, add half a cup of chopped red onion and half a cup of crumbled cotija cheese.

For the dressing, mix a quarter cup of olive oil, two tablespoons of lime juice, a teaspoon of honey, half a teaspoon of ground cumin, and half a teaspoon of chili powder.

Lastly, add a little bit of salt and pepper before drizzling your dressing all over your salad.

By now, your grilled chicken should be just the right temperature, so cut it into strips or dice it into cubes and add it to the bowl with the rest of your ingredients.

Now, if you want to go full-on Mexican, you’re welcome to garnish your dish with fresh cilantro and put avocado slices on the side. 

6. Traditional Jamaican Jerk Chicken

For our final destination, we’re heading over to Jamaica to get to know more about this super spicy Jamaican jerk chicken. 

Here’s something I learned recently: Did you know that the term “jerk” actually means the mix of spices and the way the chicken is cooked in this recipe?

At the same time, jerk can also refer to “jerky” which is what we know as dried meaty snacks. 

In any case, if you’re interested in making this authentic Jamaican delicacy, start by preparing your jerk marinade.

Grab your blender or food processor and combine one chopped Scotch Bonnet pepper, six chopped scallions, four garlic cloves, and spices.

The spices you need include a tablespoon of thyme leaves, ground allspice, brown sugar, and a teaspoon of ground cinnamon.

To this blend, add a teaspoon of ground nutmeg, a teaspoon of salt, half a teaspoon of black pepper, two tablespoons of soy sauce and vegetable oil, and a quarter cup of orange juice. 

When all these ingredients are processed, you should end up with a thick, smooth paste. 

Now, set this paste aside as you work on your chicken. Place four pounds of various chicken parts (bone-in and skin-in) in a resealable plastic bag. 

At this point, you probably already know what to do: add in your paste and let the chicken soak all the flavors in the fridge overnight. 

In the morning, take your marinated chicken out and grill it for 30 to 35 minutes. Make sure to watch it carefully and flip it now and then so it cooks evenly. 

If you have any leftover marinade, you can use this spicy paste to baste your chicken during the last 10 minutes. Believe me, this makes a world of difference in enhancing the flavor.

After the chicken is done, take it off the grill and serve it with usual Jamaican side dishes, like salad, rice with peas, and fried bananas.

I haven’t been to Jamaica, but I imagine this recipe is a good starting point to familiarize myself with the local food.

Travel the World of Flavors With These Grilled Chicken Recipes

Why limit our grilled chicken seasoning to just salt and pepper? By getting inspiration from cuisines all over the globe, we can really make a world of difference in grilling chicken.

So, among all the recipes I listed, which one will you try first? 

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