A fresh bone in skin on chicken thighs is a clever way to propel yourself into a flavorful and healthy meal prep week. This week my meals included just that. In fact, last week did too. I can’t seem to stop getting requests to make chicken thighs this way back-to-back these days.
In between making special recipes for the weekends, I do create some easy to prep recipes that I can store or freeze ready to cook or ready to go in the oven for busy weeknights. Ready set meals do not need to be boring just because they are meal prep recipes. They can be as delicious and full of spark too. add spices like little bit of ready-made red curry seasoning, can help you get there.
I am a huge fan of ready to cook prepackaged chicken thighs in my meal prep grocery basket. They come in individual packs just enough for a meal for my family of four, already cleaned out, prepped, and waiting to be marinated. way to go Costco!
This recipe, however, is great not only for chicken thighs. It’s so easily adaptable to use for whole chicken, chicken breast, thighs, drumsticks, or Fish sticks.
Sri Lankan red curry is vibrant, aromatic, and perfect on its own but, I am going to make slight changes to original red curry paste for today’s recipe. I am skipping tomatoes. It’s huge because I do love how vibrant the red hue in the finished chicken thigh bake, even without any tomato puree in the marinade
Making Red curry marinade for chicken thighs
The red curry marinade I am talking about today is a cooked one. Cooked ever so slightly to bring out the best flavors combined before they go in to be infused into chicken thighs.
Caramelized onions, date molasses, red wine, and hot Spanish paprika gives such a beautiful crimson hue that is going to be intensified in the oven while basting and make its own glaze. Less sharp but sweet and sour tamarind paste will deepen the hue while adding flavor. This combination makes this marinade full of flavors but not too overwhelming for chicken. Just giving pleasant flavors overall.
Where does the heat and kick come to the recipe? Thai hot green chilies are the main spicy hot component. You can use as many up to five, but any more than that you would be in trouble. Three Thai hot green peppers, ginger and black pepper offer some fresh flavored kick in the gut. I do love the heat in my recipes in cooler months. Especially for the prepackaged chicken thighs, adding fresh elements like green chili and lemongrass enhances the flavor.
Aromatic elements are equally important to this recipe as well. Fennel, black cumin, anise, nutmeg, cardamom, and cloves are all sweet-smelling spices. I am taking a leaf from my own blog here and using nothing but the sweet aromatics for this baked chicken thigh dish. I do not want to tackle any curry smells today.
What aromatics have tendency to overpower the other flavors in today’s marinade if you are not careful? Black cumin, Cloves, and Nutmeg. You only need a couple of pinches of these powerful aromatics in the marinade to work their magic. Add too much, they will overpower all other flavors, as they are very potent. Stick to the amounts in the recipe and your chicken thighs will come out of the oven just right.
Once the marinade is made, making these chicken thighs is extremely easy. Slather the marinade over the chicken thighs, allow enough time to marinade and bake. It is that easy. Let the oven do the cooking for you.
Serving the oven baked chicken thighs
I like to serve mine with Lentil and buckwheat “rice”, with a Sri Lankan cucumber salad on the side. Chicken thighs made this way will go with any rice and curry or naan with another milder curry and salad pairing. With that let’s cook our baked chicken thighs!
Oven baked chicken thighs
- 1 Sauté pan
- 1 shallow baking dish
- 8 Chicken thighs skin on bone in
- 1 red onion finely minced
- 1 inch piece of ginger finely minced
- 2 cloves of garlic finely minced
- 10 curry leaves sliced
- 3 Thai Green Chilies finely minced
- 2 inch piece of lemongrass bruised
- 1 tsp whole black pepper crushed
- 2 tsp black curry powder
- 2 tbsp Spanish Paprika three for more heat
- 2 tbsp salt
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
- 1/4 tsp black cumin seeds
- 3 cardamom pods
- 2 cloves
- 1 Indian bay leaves
- 1 star anise seed
- pinch nutmeg
- 2 tsp tamarind
- 2 tbsp red wine
- 1 tbsp date molasses
- 2 tbsp ghee
- 1/2 cup water
Making the marinade
- Crush aromatics except Indian bay leaf to a coarse powder
- Heat ghee and fry onions until golden brown.
- Add ginger garlic Thai peppers lemongrass and sauté until soft.
- Add curry powders, salt and aromatics followed by liquid flavors.
- Stire everything in and add half a cup of water to make it easy to mix. cook on low for couple of minutes.
- let it cool before adding to chicken
- Rinse the chicken in cold water and pat dry. Add all the marinade and leave for two hours in the refrigerator
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- arrange marinated chicken in a baking pan in single layer and place the all the marinade to coat the chicken.
- Bake for one hour 30 minutes basting chicken in its own juices every 10 minutes during the last half an hour.
- Enjoy over rice.