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Grilled Marinated Chicken with Tropical Salsa has tender, juicy grilled chicken topped with an easy salsa of sweet tropical fruit. You’ll love this fresh, delicious meal!
Fire up the grill – we’re serving up a fantastic recipe for Grilled Marinated Chicken with Tropical Salsa! This is sure to go on the dinner rotation all summer long.
Tropical flavors are infused in every bite – starting with boneless skinless chicken breasts that have been marinated in a flavorful, Thai-inspired mixture of coconut milk, ginger, cilantro, soy sauce and curry paste. After grilling, the chicken is topped with a sweet and tropical salsa that is as pretty and colorful as it is delicious!
Why You’ll Love Grilled Marinated Chicken with Tropical Salsa
- It’s light and delicious – perfect for warm weather dinners and cookouts.
- The flavors are fantastic – and not the same ol’ chicken marinade you’ve have in the past.
- You can easily adapt this recipe to feed more dinner guests, or fewer – or enjoy leftovers the next day.
Key Ingredients and Substitutions
- Chicken Breasts – The ideal choice for quick summertime grilling – buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts. You could make this recipe with boneless, skinless chicken thighs as well.
- Marinade – The chicken marinade includes canned coconut milk, ginger ale, soy sauce, fish sauce, Thai red curry paste, cilantro and fresh ginger.
- Salsa – The tropical salsa is a combination of diced fresh pineapple, mangoes, sweet red bell pepper, jalapeno, red onion and fresh cilantro – plus lemon and lime juice and freshly ground ginger.
Special Tools Needed
- Large bowl or gallon zipper seal bag(s) to marinate the chicken
- Sharp knife, such as an all-purpose 10-inch chef’s knife (great for chopping and dicing)
- Cutting board
- Ginger grater
- Citrus juicer
It’s always a good idea to “butterfly” your chicken breasts before grilling. It’s an easy technique that allows the chicken to cook more quickly and evenly. Click here to Learn How to Butterfly a Chicken Breast.
How do I make Marinated Grilled Chicken with Tropical Salsa?
- Mix the marinade for the chicken the night before you plan to cook this dinner.
- Butterfly the chicken breasts, then place them in the bowl with the marinade. Cover and allow to marinate overnight.
- Prepare the tropical fruit salsa, just before grilling the chicken.
- Cook the chicken on the grill.
- Spoon the salsa over the cooked chicken to serve. Serve with Coconut Rice on the side.
Frequently Asked Questions
How far in advance can I marinate the chicken? We suggest starting the marinade process the night before you plan to cook your chicken breasts.
I forgot to start the marinade the night before. What do I do? For best flavor and texture, you want an overnight marinade. But, in a pinch, marinate for no less than four hours before grilling.
This recipe originally appeared on A Family Feast in 2015. The post has been updated but the delicious recipe remains the same.
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Grilled Marinated Chicken with Tropical Salsa
Note: Red curry paste is flavorful but not hot and spicy. Although this dish has Thai influence, it is not a hot and spicy dish. The coconut milk acts as the fat and the ginger ale acts as the acid (two key ingredients in a marinade)
For the Marinade
- 1 13.5–ounce can coconut milk
- 1 12–ounce can cold refrigerated ginger ale
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
- 1 ounce fresh cilantro left whole on stems
- 1 ounce fresh ginger sliced
- 2 to 2 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
For the Salsa
- 1/2 fresh pineapple, cored, cleaned and cut 1/2 inch dice, about 2 cups
- 1 whole fresh mango, stone removed, skinned and cut 1/2 inch dice, about 1 cup
- 1 whole sweet red bell pepper stemmed and seeded, cut 1/2 inch dice, about 1 cup
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh jalapeno
- 1/2 red onion, small dice, about 1 cup
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
- Juice from two fresh limes, about 1/4 cup
- Juice from half a lemon, about 2 tablespoons
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ginger finely grated
- Vegetable or canola oil for grill
- The night before serving prepare the marinade as follows: Note – The can of coconut milk separates in the can. Open upside down so the fat will be at the bottom and the liquid at the top. This makes it easier to remove from the can. Place the contents into a sauce pan and heat and stir until fat has melted and the coconut milk is blended. Pour this into a medium bowl.
- Add cold ginger ale, fish sauce, soy sauce and red curry paste. Stir in cilantro and ginger. If the mixture is warmer than room temperature, allow to cool while you prepare the chicken. Stir with a whip occasionally so that the coconut fat does not congeal in the liquid.
- Butterfly the chicken breasts. (Lay breasts flat with side that had skin down. Run a sharp knife horizontally from center out to almost the edge through the fatter part of the breast. Once done, the breast should be all the same thickness so it grills evenly).
- Place chicken and marinade in a covered bowl or gallon zipper seal bag and marinate refrigerated overnight.
- The day of service mix all salsa ingredients as close to serving as possible. Once you put the salt in, the fruit will start to give up liquid so either leave the salt out until just before serving or prep the ingredients ahead and combine just before you are ready to grill. Once the fruit is cut, it does start to weep, salt or no salt, the closer to serving the better.
- Heat grill to high on one side and medium on the other.
- Remove chicken from bag and discard marinade. Lay out breasts on paper towels and pat dry.
- Place on a platter or pan and generously coat both sides with oil. (always oil your food and not the grill)
- At this point, this is where I made my salsa.
- Place breasts on hot side and sear about 1 ½ to 2 minutes. Turn and sear on the other side. Move to the cooler side, close grill cover and cook a few more minutes until no longer pink (use a small knife to slice open and check the thickest piece).
- Transfer to a clean platter and serve with the salsa.
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