Tamarind and Agave Glazed Chicken Thighs with Poblano Rice

Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser Yield:  4 servings
Prep Time:  30 minutes Cook Time:  30 minutes

Tamarind and Agave Glazed Chicken Thighs with Poblano Rice

The tart tamarind paste, sweet agave nectar, and hot chipotle chili in adobo sauce in the glaze for this chicken make a delectable sweet-sour-hot accompaniment to the spicy heat of the poblano-studded rice.


1½ cups chicken stock

3 tablespoons canola or corn oil, divided

1½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste

1 cup medium-grain white rice

4 fresh poblano chilies, halved, stems and seeds removed (see Kitchen Tips)

1¼ pounds boneless chicken thighs (4 to 5 thighs), skin on

1 teaspoon roasted ground cumin (see Kitchen Tips)

½ teaspoon finely ground black pepper

2 tablespoons tamarind paste 

Juice and zest of 2 limes

½ cup agave nectar 

1 to 2 tablespoons chipotle chilies in adobo sauce (about 1 chili and enough sauce to make 2 tablespoons, or to taste; see Kitchen Tips) 


  1. Pour the chicken stock into a medium saucepan with 1 tablespoon of the oil. (If you are using low-sodium stock, taste and add salt if needed.) Cover the pot and bring to a gentle boil.
  2. Pour the rice into a fine-mesh sieve and run under cold running water for 1 to 2 minutes, until the water runs clear. Drain. When the stock is boiling gently, add the rice, stir, cover, and bring to a boil again. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for 18 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat, keep covered, and steam in the pot for 5 minutes to finish cooking.
  3. Heat a grill to high heat. Rub the poblanos with 2 teaspoons of the oil and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt. Place on the grill and cook, turning with tongs as each side becomes charred. Place in heat-resistant bowl, cover with foil or plastic wrap and set aside.
  4. Season the chicken with cumin, salt, and pepper. Rub with the remaining 4 teaspoons oil.
  5. Combine the tamarind paste, lime juice and zest, agave, and chipotle in adobo in a bowl and mix to combine, and set aside.
  6. Place the chicken on the grill, skin side down, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Turn with tongs and reduce the heat to medium. Brush the skin side liberally with the tamarind agave mixture, and cook for 2 to 4 minutes. Turn again, liberally brush the top with the tamarind mixture again, and cook for 2 to 4 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken reads 165°F. Transfer to a clean platter (see Kitchen Tips).
  7. Peel the skin off the poblanos and chop into ¼-inch pieces. Add the poblanos to the rice and mix to combine.
  8. Divide the rice between 4 individual serving plates and top each with a chicken thigh. Serve immediately.

Kitchen Tips

  1. The chemicals in chili peppers that cause that wonderful feeling of heat on the tongue can cause a not-so-wonderful feeling if they get into your eyes—and can share the love with other foods on your menu. To avoid cross-contamination, avoid touching your face or eyes after cutting and trimming hot chilies. Change work surfaces and knives. Some cooks wear plastic gloves.
  2. To toast spices, pour the ground or whole seeds into a frying pan or cast-iron skillet and set over medium heat. Toast for 10 to 20 seconds, or up to 1 minute, until fragrant. Watch carefully so the spices do not burn.
  3. Chipotle chili is the name for the fiery smoked jalapeño. It is sold in a variety of formats, often canned in adobo sauce, a condiment made of chilies and spices. For a milder flavor, you can just use less than the recipe calls for. The remaining chipotles in adobo will keep, refrigerated in an airtight container, for 2 weeks, or you can freeze them in individual portions.  You’ll have most of the can of chipotles in adobo left over.
  4. Always use a fresh plate for fully cooked meat, poultry or fish cooked on the grill;  NEVER place it back on the plate that held it when it was raw, as the original plate holds uncooked juices that might carry foodborne bacteria. These microorganisms are killed during cooking, but placing the cooked food back into the uncooked juices can contaminate it and cause foodborne illness.

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