Recipe: Sweet Chilli Soy Chicken Bowls with Japanese Dressed Leaves

Finally, in amongst all of the lockdown cooking and baking projects I’ve got going (the Bank Holiday weekend just past, for example, was all about sourdough English muffins from scratch, making elderflower vinegar and testing out my first barbecue recipe of the year) I’m finally, once again, craving healthy weeknight recipes.

I marinate and griddle a lot of skinless boneless chicken thighs at home. I find they make a great protein to add to a rice bowl if I’ve got a load of pickles and things to finish in the fridge, and I usually marinate some in whatever I’ve got a little bit of left in the fridge to clear the jar (think chermola paste, miso, sambal etc.), griddle them while I’m making dinner, let them go cold, slice them and put them in J’s lunch wraps the next day.

When I say griddle, I do this on the stovetop / hob. Eons ago Le Creuset gifted me a toughened non-stick grill pan (ad) which is utterly fantastic to get that indoor barbecue experience, but of course you can also cook these outside on an actual barbecue, or grill / broil chicken thighs under the grill. Whatever works for you.

Sweet Chilli Soy Chicken Bowls and Japanese Dressed Leaves
Sweet Chilli Soy Chicken Bowls with Japanese Dressed Leaves

Anyway, so these chicken bowls. The marinade combination came to me finishing off a bottle of Mighty Fine Things’ brilliant Kentish Ginger, Sweet Chilli & Honey Sauce with a splash of soy sauce to help it go further. Obviously, if you have some of this brilliant sauce, skip the ginger in the marinade and just use sweet chilli and soy.

The other little ‘added bonus’ in this dish is the salad dressing on the side salad, inspired by a wonderful Japanese-style vinaigrette they put on the side salads at Yashin Ocean House in South Kensington, one of my favourite places for a set sushi lunch in West London. Made with finely chopped spring onion, vegetable oil, toasted sesame oil, soy sauce or tamari, and Japanese rice wine vinegar if gives a nice little warm weather lift, lightening up supper considerably. 

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Sweet Chilli Soy Chicken Bowls with Japanese Dressed Leaves

  • Author: Rachel Phipps
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: Japanese
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Easy chilli and soy marinated chicken served over nutty brown rice, with a delicious sushi restaurant-style Japanese dressed salad.



For the Chicken Bowls

  • 4 skinless boneless chicken thighs
  • 2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce (or tamari for a gluten free option)
  • thumb sized piece of ginger, finely grated
  • 110g (4 oz) brown basmati rice

For the Japanese Dressed Leaves

  • 1 1/2 tsp Japanese rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp light oil
  • 1/2 tsp dark soy sauce (or tamari for a gluten free option)
  • 1 small spring onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large handfuls baby mixed leaves (I used red lettuce and baby pak choi) 


  1. To marinate the chicken combine the chicken thighs with the sweet chilli sauce, soy sauce and grated ginger. Leave to marinate for at least half an hour, or in the fridge overnight.
  2. Pre-heat the grill to medium high / prepare the barbecue / heat the griddle pan.
  3. Cook the chicken for roughly 10 minutes on each side, until just cooked through. Cook the rice as per the packets instructions – I find this usually takes about 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, to make the dressing whisk together the rice wine vinegar, oils and soy sauce. Stir in the finely chopped spring onion.
  5. Just before serving, toss the salad with the dressing, and serve alongside the chicken and the rice.