Tropical Grilled Chicken Thighs

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Tropical Grilled Chicken Thighs with olive rice

This tropical grilled chicken thighs recipe isn’t associated with any one country’s cuisine, but rather something I just whipped up one afternoon for lunch. Luckily it came out well so I have no problem putting it up on the site. My favorite thing about this recipe? It will definitely impress guests with the unique-ness of it.

For this recipe I grill the chicken thighs on my Chasseur grill pan, but you can easily use just a regular pan, or cook these up outside on a proper grill. In fact, this marinade and glaze would also go great with wings if you wanted to use them instead of thighs.

Tropical Chicken Thighs Marinade

mama africas zulu sauce hot chili sauce

In this marinade recipe I use a tablespoon of Mama Africa’s Zulu Sauce for the kick, but you can use any hot sauce you prefer. I know my hot sauce choice is not easy to find, so feel free to use tabasco or any other more common brand you like.

tropical chicken thigh marinade in bowl

The rest of the marinade is quite simple. For 4-6 chicken thighs you’ll need a cup of buttermilk, a teaspoon each of fenugreek, garlic powder, paprika, and salt, and half a teaspoon of curcuma (you can sub for turmeric if you like). Just whisk everything up and voila.

marinading these tropical chicken thighs

Place the chicken thighs into the marinade and let sit covered in the fridge for at least 1 hour. You can let it sit for longer if you like, but 1 hour is good enough.

chicken thighs in marinade and tropical fruit glaze

The glaze for these tropical grilled chicken thighs is simple, if not amusing. You’ll need the juice of two oranges and four kiwis, along with a fat pinch of some red chili flakes and salt.

Grilling The Tropical Chicken Thighs

Tropical Grilled Chicken Thighs on a chasseur grill pan

Using a grillpan, or your preferred grilling station, place the chicken thighs on medium high heat. Just pull them from the marinade, give a quick shake, and plonk them right on the hot pan. After 5 minutes flip them so the other side gets a nice crust.

reduced orange-kiwi glaze

In a smaller saucepan, reduce the orange-kiwi glaze until slightly thickened. Then use a brush to baste the grilling thighs. After the chicken thighs have grilled about 5 minutes per side, flip them and baste with the glaze about every 30 seconds until all the glaze is used up.

Tropical Grilled Chicken Thighs

I like to serve these chicken thighs with a bit of fluffy olive rice (just steamed jasmine rice mixed with sliced green olives). Of course, you can adjust this recipe however you like to suit your preferences.

Tropical Grilled Chicken Thighs

These tropical style chicken thighs are marinated in a buttermilk that packs a punch, and glazed in an orange-kiwi-chili mix for some great tropic flavor.
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Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine: Tropical
Keyword: Buttermilk Marinade, Grill Recipes, Grilled Chicken Thighs
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Resting Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings: 6 thighs
Calories: 342kcal
Cost: $5


  • Grill or Grill Pan
  • Bowl


  • 6 Chicken Thighs bone in, skin on
  • 1 cup Buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp Hot Sauce
  • 1 tsp Fenugreek
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Curcuma or turmeric
  • 2 large Oranges juiced
  • 4 Kiwi
  • 1 pinch Chili Flakes
  • 1 pinch Salt


  • In a bowl mix together the buttermilk along with the hot sauce, fenugreek, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and curcuma. Add in the chicken thighs and let rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
  • In a blender or juicer process the two oranges and 4 kiwi, then run through a fine mesh so there are no large particles in the resulting juice. Add in a pinch of red chili flakes and salt.
  • Right before you start on the chicken, add the orange-kiwi juice to a pan and bring to a simmer.
  • Heat up a grill pan or grill and when medium high place the chicken thighs skin side down. Cook for 5 minutes then flip. Cook the other side for another 5 minutes, then baste with the reduced orange-kiwi glaze. Flip the chicken every 30 seconds basting each side until all the glaze is used up.
  • Serve the tropical grilled chicken thighs alongside some fluffy rice or grilled plantains.


Sodium: 583mg | Calcium: 102mg | Vitamin C: 91mg | Vitamin A: 542IU | Sugar: 13g | Fiber: 4g | Potassium: 609mg | Cholesterol: 115mg | Calories: 342kcal | Trans Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Fat: 21g | Protein: 21g | Carbohydrates: 19g | Iron: 1mg
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Tropical Grilled Chicken Thighs

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