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Thai Coconut Curry Marinated Grilled Chicken Skewers

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Fire up your grill and get ready for mouthwateringly delicious Coconut Curry Marinated Grilled Chicken Skewers! It’s a quick and easy recipe bursting with Thai-inspired flavors.

A pile of coconut curry chicken skewers on a wood board with dipping sauce in the foreground.

Coconut Curry Marinated Grilled Chicken Skewers That Sizzle with Flavor

Every single ingredient in this delicious dish could stand alone as a flavor bomb, but put them all together and you’ve got one sizzling situation! 

The star of this recipe lies in the marinade, where creamy coconut milk mingles with an array of umami-laden flavors to tenderize the meat and ensure every bit is bursting with goodness. The grill works its magic to sear in the flavor and add a smoky dimension, resulting in juicy, tasty chicken. 

Whether you’re hosting a backyard barbecue or seeking a quick and easy meal bursting with flavor, these Thai coconut curry chicken skewers are definitely a crowd pleaser. So, gather your ingredients, fire up the grill, and get ready for some irresistible grilled perfection.

On overhead view of a cutting board holding grilled chicken skewers, a bowl of dipping sauce, fresh herbs and lime wedges.

Gather Your Ingredients

  • Chicken thighs — always tender + succulent, and great for grilling!
  • Canned coconut milk — I’ve used both light and regular with great results, so that’s up to you. This will tenderize the meat and temper some of the spicier ingredients.
  • Thai red curry paste — so many things in one little jar…this store-bought ingredient is a time-saver.
  • Asian fish sauce — salty + umami. If it’s really dark (aged) or you want to pull back on the salt, use a little less than what is called for.
  • Lime — you’ll use both lime zest + fresh lime juice, which will bring flavor balance and contribute to tender chicken.
  • Thai chiles — totally optional, but these will provide another quality of heat (spiciness).
  • Dark brown sugar — for a little sweetness. Coconut palm sugar is a great substitute.
  • Cornstarch – just a tiny bit will help thicken the reserved marinade to create a really luscious dipping sauce.
  • Optional garnishes — Italian or Thai basil, lime wedges, sliced green onion, cilantro. Just for fun, I’ll sometimes flash fry basil leaves for a crispy garnish.
Raw ingredients for thai coconut curry grilled chicken skewers.

How To Make Coconut Curry Chicken Skewers on the Grill

  1. Mix the marinade ingredients — thoroughly combine the coconut milk, curry paste, fish sauce, brown sugar, lime zest + juice, and Thai chiles in a small bowl
  2. Marinate the chicken — place cut up chicken thigh meat in a bowl or zip-top bag and pour in half the marinade. Stir to coat, then cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Cover and refrigerate the remaining half of the marinade to make the dipping sauce later.
  3. Grill the chicken — heat an indoor grill pan or outdoor grill to medium-high heat. Thread the chicken pieces onto metal or soaked wooden skewers. Clean + oil the grill grates to prevent sticking. Grill chicken skewers for 12 to 15 minutes , turning to cook on all sides. (Use an instant-read thermometer to check they’ve reached 165°F). However, there are also other methods you may consider without the effort of setting up your grill or bbq. Here are some tips on how you may still achieve your grilled dishes without using a grill.
  4. Make the dipping sauce — combine 2 teaspoons of reserved marinade with 1 teaspoon of cornstarch to make a slurry. Heat the remaining marinade in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. When it starts to bubble around the edges, whisk in the slurry and simmer gently until thickened.

COOKING TIP: I like to cut the chicken into 1-inch wide strips versus into cubes, then I fold the piece of chicken in half to skewer it. I find this helps them stay put better (maybe it’s just me), but it definitely requires less cutting!

Grilled chicken kebabs on a wood board next to a coconut curry dipping sauce.

Common Recipe Questions

Is coconut curry chicken spicy?

I have a high tolerance for spicy food, so I don’t feel the finished grilled chicken is spicy. The marinade tenderizes the meat and imparts flavor, but the cooking process lessens some of the heat. On the other hand, the dipping sauce will have some spice to it. If you’d prefer to play it safe with the spice, reduce the amount of red curry paste you use, or omit the Thai chiles.

How do I stop coconut milk from curdling when making the dipping sauce?

Coconut milk can curdle if it’s boiled or cooked too fast over higher temperatures. For a smooth sauce, use medium-low heat (per the instructions) and watch it carefully. Also, corn starch not only thickens the sauce, but acts as a stabilizer, so if you follow these tips, your sauce should be just fine!

What if the can of coconut milk has solidified on top?

No worries, and definitely don’t throw it out! This is more likely to happen with full fat coconut milk. That’s all the rich, flavorful stuff. Transfer the liquid and solids to a saucepan or microwave safe container and warm it up a bit. It’ll melt and all will be well again.

Can I use chicken breasts?

Oh, sure. If you are so compelled to use white chicken breast meat, this is actually a great recipe for it! Between the coconut milk and lime juice, you have a better chance for juicy, tender white meat. 

Do I have to soak wooden skewers in water?

It’s not a guarantee that you won’t have charred ends, but it helps. The goal is to water log the wood so they don’t simply ignite and burn off on the grill. You can opt for metal skewers or a grill basket (fun, but kind of a pain to clean).

What to Serve with Coconut Curry Grilled Chicken 

How about a delicious dinner bowl with steamed brown rice and stir-fried vegetables…like green beans, carrots, broccoli, snap peas, leafy greens and fresh garlic. (Jasmine rice or cauliflower rice are great, too.) And, don’t forget a generous drizzle of that dipping sauce! You could also add veggies like bell pepper, red onion, zucchini and mushrooms to the skewers and save yourself the step of stir-frying.

A bowl filled with brown rice, stir fried vegetables and a line of grilled coconut curry chicken garnished with thai basil.

What to Sip With Grilled Coconut Curry Chicken

The first thing that comes to mind when grilling these up is a crisp, cold beer…a light lager or malty ale perhaps. Wine lovers, reach for an unoaked chardonnay or off-dry white. For non-alcoholic options, try a citrusy iced tea with just a hint of sweetness or a tropical juice cooler.

The right wine for you- 6 bottles for just $34.99!

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Coconut curry marinate chicken skewers in a pile on wood cutting board.

Thai Coconut Curry Marinated Grilled Chicken Skewers

Linda Feller
Fire up your grill and get ready for mouthwateringly delicious Coconut Curry Marinated Grilled Chicken Skewers! It's a quick and easy recipe bursting with Thai-inspired flavors.
Prep time.15 minutes
Cook time.20 minutes
Custom time.4 hours
Total time.4 hours 35 minutes
Course.Main Course
Cuisine.Thai
Number of servings.6 6 skewers
Calories per serving.434 kcal

Equipment

  • 6 skewers (wood or metal), If using wood skewers, soak them in water for at least 30 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 13.5 ounce unsweetened coconut milk, light or regular
  • 2 tablespoon red curry paste, store-bought, jarred
  • 1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 lime, zest + juice
  • 2 small Thai chiles, sliced (optional)
  • 3 pounds chicken thighs, boneless, skinless, cut into 1-inch strips (see note)
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • optional garnishes, basil/thai basil, lime wedges, sliced scallions, cilantro

Instructions

  • In a bowl or measuring cup, stir together the coconut milk, curry paste, fish sauce, brown sugar, lime zest + juice, and Thai chiles.
  • Place chicken pieces into a bowl or ziptop bag and pour half the marinade in; toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight. (If the chicken is not fully submerged, give them a stir once or twice to redistribute the chicken and marinade.)
  • Cover and refrigerate the remaining marinade to make a dipping sauce later.
  • Heat a grill to medium-high. Thread the chicken pieces onto skewers, allowing excess marinade to drip off. Clean and oil the grill grate. Cook the skewers for 12-15 minutes, turning frequently to cook on all sides. Remove to a platter and tent with foil.
  • Meanwhile, make the finishing sauce. If the refrigerated marinade has solidified, microwave it for 10-15 seconds to loosen it up. Combine two teaspoons of the marinade with 1 teaspoon of cornstarch to create a slurry. Heat the marinade in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. When it begins to bubble around the edges, whisk in the slurry and allow it to simmer gently until the sauce has thickened slightly. (Watch the sauce closely; if it cooks too fast or too long, it might curdle or become to thick to drizzle.)
  • Drizzle the sauce over the skewers or serve in a bowl on the side. Add desired garnishes.

Notes

  • Cut the chicken into 1-inch wide strips versus into cubes, then fold the piece of chicken in half to skewer it. I find this helps them stay put better (maybe it’s just me), and it is definitely less cutting!
  • If you’d prefer to play it safe with the spice, reduce the amount of red curry paste you use, or omit the Thai chiles.

Nutrition

Calories: 434kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 45g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.04g | Cholesterol: 215mg | Sodium: 448mg | Potassium: 744mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 857IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 3mg
Keywords.grill, make ahead, stove top
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