Our best chicken thigh recipes are some of our best chicken recipes and include everything from braised chicken and chicken curry to chicken soups and stews. We have recipes for a Southern Thai chicken biryani and a Cape Malay chicken curry from South Africa to a Cambodian chicken curry and a Burmese Indian style chicken curry.
Some of our best recipes with chicken thighs comprise some of our best chicken recipes. They include everything from chicken soups and stews to chicken curries and chicken stir-fries and braised chicken dishes, such as the cashew chicken above.
Our best chicken thigh recipes range from a Cape Malay chicken curry we learnt to make in the colourful Bo-Kaap quarter of Cape Town to a Cambodian chicken curry that very closely resembles the chicken curry we tasted on our first trip to Cambodia that was responsible for us falling in love with Cambodian food.
While we do enjoy our chicken breast recipes, I have to say that we prefer the flavour and texture of chicken thighs, which are so good in chicken curries, chicken soups and chicken stews, and are hard to get wrong in the way that chicken breasts can dry out if you’re not careful.
These chicken thigh recipes are some of my favourite recipes on the site and some of the most popular recipes with Grantourismo readers. Before I tell you more about our best recipes with chicken thighs, I have a favour to ask.
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Chicken Thigh Recipes – Chicken Soups, Chicken Curries, Chicken Stir-Fries and More
Stir-Fried Chicken with Cashews Recipe for Cambodia’s Take on Cashew Chicken
This stir-fried chicken with cashews recipe is one of our best chicken thigh recipes. It makes the Cambodian dish cha moan krop svay chanti, a Cambodian-Chinese dish which has its origins in China, in a dish that is a cross between a Sichuan or Sichuanese dish and a Cantonese dish.
Variations are found elsewhere in Southeast Asia, including Thailand, and it’s similar to a dish known as ‘cashew chicken’ in the USA and Australia. It’s incredibly delicious. A relative of this dish is the Sichuanese favourite kung pao chicken, however, that’s really another beast altogether, with its fiery chillis and numbing Sichuan peppercorns.
Most Cantonese and Thai stir-fried chicken with cashews recipes use chicken breasts, however, Cambodians use chicken thighs or chicken legs, as we love our brown meat here. You have to be a very deft cook to not overcook the chicken breasts with this dish.
This is important as in Cambodia this stir-fried chicken with cashews dish would be served as part of a multi-dish meal consumed over an hour or so and chicken breasts would go dry.
The quick marinade is very important to this Cambodian stir-fried chicken with cashews recipe as it adds a depth of flavour that you don’t find in the other dishes. Remember there is not really much of a sauce with this dish and the flavour is in the chicken.
Southern Thai Chicken and Rice Recipe for Khao Mok Gai
This Southern Thai chicken and rice recipe for khao mok gai makes braised chicken thighs cooked in a spicy curry-like gravy and served with turmeric rice and crispy fried shallots. A Thai Muslim specialty, it’s often called a Thai biryani or Thai style biryani, and it’s one of our best chicken thigh recipes.
Like a biryani the chicken can be cooked with the rice or separately. Either way, it’s wonderful. ‘Khao’ means rice, ‘gai’ is chicken and ‘mok’ means to bury underneath or within in modern Thai.
Interestingly, ‘khmok’ is also an ancient Khmer word that means to cook within banana leaves, which is how this dish was probably once cooked, and to find out more about that you’ll have to wait for our Cambodian cookbook.
The moist chicken thigh pieces are braised in a wonderfully aromatic and rich curry-like gravy of dried spices that are served atop a yellow turmeric-tinted rice, and sprinkled with crispy fried shallots.
Depending on where you eat this addictive Thai-Malay street food favourite in Thailand, this Thai Malay dish might come garnished with crunchy cucumber slices or spears, and fresh mint, coriander and chillies, or the dish might be served with a fragrant relish or sauce of pounded herbs and cucumber – and/or sweet chilli sauce.
Classic Burmese Chicken Curry Recipe
This classic Burmese chicken curry recipe makes a fragrant gently-spiced curry that is perfumed with turmeric, ginger, garlic, chilli, and lemongrass, and it’s one of our best chicken thigh recipes.
A rich curry with a moreish tomato-based gravy and a layer of aromatic oil that’s quickly soaked up by coconut rice, it should be served with salads such as this Burmese potato salad, raw cabbage salad, and tomato salad.
I’ve adapted this recipe from one in my favourite Burmese cookbook, Mi Mi Khaing’s Cook and Entertain the Burmese Way, dating to 1978. It’s a delightful little booklet that is as much a historical document as it is a practical cookbook.
Unlike a lot of old cookbooks – not that the 1970s is so long ago – all of the recipes in Mi Mi Khaing’s book work and taste absolutely delicious, but we especially love her chicken recipes.
Cape Malay Chicken Curry Recipe from Cape Town, South Africa
Another of our best chicken thigh recipes, this Cape Malay chicken curry recipe makes a richly spiced curry from Cape Town, South Africa.
Eaten with aromatic Cape Malay yellow rice, buttery roti, and simple tomato, onion and cucumber sambals, it’s an incredibly delicious curry that you’ll be sorry to finish. Our advice: make double the amount, as it tastes even better as leftovers the next day.
Our Cape Malay chicken curry is inspired by the aromatic chicken curry we learnt to make many years ago in a Cape Malay cooking class in colourful Bo-Kaap, the heart of Cape Malay culture in Cape Town.
Gently spiced, the Cape Malay chicken curry is a cousin of the classic Cape Town lamb stew called tomato bredie. They’re dishes that locals here in Southeast Asia would describe as ‘same same but different’, sharing a lot of similar spices.
Burmese Indian Style Chicken Curry Recipe
This Burmese Indian style chicken curry recipe makes a rich curry fragrant with ginger, turmeric, garlic and chilli that has a homemade Burmese curry powder on its concise list of ingredients.
We make this curry with a mix of chicken thighs and chicken drumsticks and it’s another of our best chicken thigh recipes and the perfect accompaniment to Burmese coconut rice and refreshing salads that provide contrasting textures and flavours.
This is another recipe I’ve adapted from Mi Mi Khaing, who uses a homemade curry powder blend, as most Burmese women do, which includes cumin, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, coriander, peppercorns, bay leaf, and poppy seeds. We’ve shared her full curry powder recipe, but you could certainly use a store-bought curry powder.
Cooking the chicken pieces covered is crucial to keep the chicken moist and tender, but for the final stage you need to remove the lid so that the sauce can really reduce. Keep an eye on it.
Cambodian Chicken Curry Recipe for a Gentle Comforting Southeast Asian Curry
This Cambodian chicken curry recipe makes one of Southeast Asia’s most comforting chicken curries and is another of our best chicken thigh recipes.
This chicken curry is partly responsible for us falling in love with Cambodian cuisine as it was the first dish we sampled and an exemplary rendition of the Cambodian chicken curry. This recipe makes a chicken curry that comes very close.
While it has a depth of flavour that comes from dried spices and fragrance from fresh aromatic ingredients, it has a richness thanks to a liberal use of coconut cream and milk, and a gentle heat due to the mild red chillies.
Soon after we settled into Siem Reap, before we embarked on our own epic Cambodian culinary history research and began documenting local recipes for a Cambodian cookbook, we began cooking the chicken curry from Authentic Cambodian Recipes From Mother to Daughter by Sorey Long and Kanika Linden.
Although Terence has tweaked the recipe over the years, their recipe was the foundation of this recipe. We need to give credit to Long and Linden. Their cookbook was a fantastic primer for us when we first began learning about Cambodian food, and we highly recommend it.
Russian Barley Pickle Soup for Rassolnik with Chicken and Vegetables
One of our best chicken thigh recipes, our Russian barley pickle soup recipe for rassolnik is made with chicken thighs and vegetables. It makes a healthy, hearty Russian soup or stew, depending on how dense you like your broths
Rassolnik is a very old Russian dish that in its early form was far less dense and less like a stew and more of a light soup from what I understand. I’m not sure if rassolnik started out as a hearty broth or was thickened up in the post-Soviet years or in the Russian diaspora.
The soup could be made with beef, veal, lamb, pork, or offal, all of which are in fact more traditional, but my family’s preference was always chicken for rassolnik and borscht was made with beef.
Whatever you use, pearl barley is essential. Rassolnik is pickle soup for many and it’s true that pickles are a key ingredient, but for me it’s always been about the pickles and pearl barley. Rice just won’t do.
Do let us know if you make any of our best chicken thigh recipes in the comments below as we’d love to know how they turn out for you.