Thai Grilled Chicken Tenderloins are marinated in a bath of aromatic lemongrass, kaffir limes leaves, chili, galangal, sesame oil, fish sauce, grilled to perfection and served with a Prik Nam Pla Thai dipping sauce.
Super tender and juicy Thai infused chicken tenderloins only takes about 12 minutes on the grill after they have been marinated in an aromatic bath of Thai spices and herbs. It's a complete healthy meal with Thai grilled chicken tenderloins, a zesty dipping sauce, coconut ginger rice and some fresh stir fried veggies in less than 30 minutes.
Not only is this recipe super easy to prepare, it is cardiac friendly and gluten-free. If you skip the ginger coconut rice side dish and opt for a salad instead, It's a great low carb and diabetic friendly meal. Grilled Chicken tenderloin calories is only 187 calories per serving. Come on and let me show you the way...
Are you Ready for Spring?
We are ready for light and bright recipes. There is nothing like Thai Cuisine to jump start the transition of weather. Those spicy , savory, sour and sweet flavors like in our Air Fryer Crispy Curry Chicken Legs and our Spring Time Thai Beef Bowls are just what we are craving. Today, we are starting out with this light, flavorful and delicious Thai grilled chicken tenderloins and zesty dipping sauce.
The Thai marinade is super easy to make with just a few ingredients. We have also listed a few substitutions for items that may be difficult to find outside an Asian market.
- fresh lemongrass (or lemongrass paste)
- chili (or dried chili flakes)
- kaffir lime leaves (or fresh lime zest)
- key limes (or regular limes)
- galangal (or ginger)
- shallots (or regular onion)
To learn more about these ingredients, be sure to check out our post on the Essential Thai Herbs and Spices. Maybe you can not get all the fresh ingredients where you live but feel free to substitute the ground dried version or with some of the fresh ingredients. Even just a quick marinade with lots of garlic, fresh limes and sesame oil as it is going to taste amazing no matter what.
This time I chose to just pop everything in the food processor and whiz it up in seconds flat. This was brilliant as the Thai paste made from the aromatics actually made a little crust on the chicken tenderloins and the chicken stayed moist on the inside and nice little grill marks and golden brown on the outside.
However, if you do not have a food processor, no worries just chop up finely, mix and you are good to go. The secret is a longer marinade time for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
Trick to keeping your Chicken Tender
The trick to keeping your chicken tender and delicious is to fight the urge to over cook your chicken until the most conservative friend or family member is assured that the chicken is just like shoe leather... You guys all know what I mean!!!
Did you know that chicken and meat still continues to cook internally for about another few minutes after it has been removed from the grill. So if it was shoe leather before you pulled it off, you are going to need lots more dipping sauce and a couple extra glasses of wine to help those shoe leather slices slide down easier...
How Long to Grill?
Chicken tenderloins only needs to cook for about 10-12 minutes over medium heat or until the juices no longer run pink or the internal temperature is 165 degrees F (74 degrees C). Every grill is different and some chicken tenderloins are thicker than others, so if you are unsure just cut into one to take a quick peek at the flesh inside and if it is white and juicy take your chicken tenderloins off the grill.
The grilling season is short, so be sure to also try our Grilled Split Cornish Game Hens for an easy and elegant entertaining meal. These little hens are cooked in a little less than 30 minutes. Our Green Chicken Kabab Recipe is another super easy meal and great to serve alfresco on these beautiful days and cooks up in about 10 minutes. If you a looking for a full flavor budget friendly recipe, be sure to try our Tea Smoked Chicken Legs with a delicious sticky honey soy glaze.
Prik Nam Pla Sauce
The zesty garlic and chili dipping sauce could not be easier. You just squeeze a little lime juice, splash of gluten-free fish sauce, chopped chilis, garlic and a little sugar or sugar alternative in a bowl and mix and you are good to go.
This is all about the balance of flavors with the sour, savory, spicy and sweet. In Thailand they call this special sauce "prik nam pla" is what I call this the ACME dipping sauce of Thailand. You can find it everywhere and it tastes the same from restaurant to restaurant or from street vendor to street vendor.
To Chili or not to Chili?
I know how many of you feel about chili. You either love it or hate it. The great news is if you do not like chili or you like it but your stomach just cannot stand the heat, just leave it out as there are so many other lovely aromatics that it is still gorgeous without. this concept goes for both the marinade and for the zesty garlic and chili dipping sauce.
Thai Side Dishes
Before we put the chicken on the grill, we made Thai chicken rice with ginger and coconut jasmine rice. It is not really even a recipe as it is so easy to make.
Just throw in a pot 2 cups washed jasmine rice, 1 cup water, 1 cup coconut milk, 2 inch knob of peeled and bashed ginger and let it steam with a lid for about 12 minutes on the stove top or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.
You see how perfect this is as just about the time the chicken is cooked on the grill, the rice is done. You might like to start out with a Thai Hot and Soup Prawn Soup or maybe our Thai Firecracker Shrimp Party Appetizer.
While the cooked grilled Thai Chicken tenderloins are resting I toss together the garlic and chili zesty dipping sauce and stir fry a few fresh vegetables and dinner is done in a snap. 15-20 max and you can have a complete delicious and healthy meal on your table. You have to love that!
More Thai Recipes and Culture
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Thai Grilled Chicken Tenderloins and Zesty Dipping Sauce
- 3 stalks lemongrass (fresh is preferred but can also use lemongrass paste about 2 tablespoons)
- 2 shallots
peeled and chopped
- 3 cloves garlic
peeled and chopped
- 4 kaffir lime leaves washed and inner stem removed
- 2 inch Galangal (Kha) knob peeled ( can exchange with ginger)
- 1-2 bird chili
(omit if you do not like spicy)
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoon lime juice
- 3 tablespoon fish sauce gluten-free
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 chicken tenderloins (or about 2-3 per person depending on how hungry you are)
- Prik Nam Pla Sauce the incredible Thai Table Condiment
- Place lemongrass, shallots, garlic, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, chili, sesame oil, lime juice, fish sauce and olive oil in food processor and whiz up until a smooth paste. Alternatively if you do not have a food processor just dice up everything small and/or use a mortar and pestle. Place the Thai marinade in a large sealable plastic bag and add your chicken tenderloins to the bag and mix well. Place in the refrigerator for at least an hour or up to overnight to marinate.
- Make your garlic and chili dipping sauce. Add lime juice, fish sauce, garlic, chili and sugar or sugar alternative into a bowl and stir until combined. Can add chopped green onions or cilantro or thai basil to garnish, if you desire.
- Grill your chicken tenderloins for about 4-6 minutes on each side just until the juices run clear and there are nice grill marks. Serve Thai grilled chicken tenderloins with Prik Nam Pla sauce and enjoy!