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Spicy Ginger Basil Drumsticks


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Here is a really easy recipe  inspired by the beautiful Thai Basil that is growing in our yard:  perfect for a summer grill with a marvelous explosion of flavors.


The kids have gone back to school and I am adjusting to this incredibly quiet house. I love the quiet. Silence relaxes me even more than any slow soothing music. It is in silence that I can think, work and get creative. I am rearranging my entire day, slowly getting back to spending more time in the early hours of the day in the yard, before it gets too hot. These few minutes only belong to me. I try to set the pace for the day: the current with which it will flow.


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There can be calm even in rush. I just need to remind myself…


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We planted Thai Basil besides the Sweet Italian Basil for the first time this year. It has fared well. However I realized the other day that I have not much cooked with it and summer is going by too fast!


On one tranquil morning while I was watering the plants, I decided to try the basil in the marinade. I had planned out grilled chicken and coleslaw for next day’s dinner, mostly for P (who loves chicken and the rest of us not so). She prefers quick, non messy, “not so Indian” food and T had been asking for Chicken Lollipops (yes yes I am yet to post that), so it felt like this might work for both. P loved them but it turned out to be too spicy for T! She still ate as she wiped off the crust of the drumsticks with a napkin. And she asked for more.


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Ginger, Thai Basil and Sriracha.

Each on their own have pretty disntict flavors and when they combine it is truly an explosion. The intense flavors meld really well. Trust me on this one. Ginger also tenderizes the meat. So when the drumsticks sit bathing in the marinade spa for that long, you will have the intense flavors seen deep inside.


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I have used Sriracha for the hot sauce, but any hot sauce that you prefer could be used. I like Sriracha because it is not sour like most of the other hot sauces available on the shelves here. And the consistency is sort of spreadable and not runny like most others.


Thai Basil 1


These drumsticks are really great for parties and easy crowd pleasers. You may cook them a few hours ahead (keep them loosely covered so they do not dry out), if there are a lot of guests  and then just broil them after a final basting with the sauce and marinade for 10 -12 minutes. 


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Spicy Ginger Basil Drumsticks

Ingredients: (serves/makes 6 chicken drumsticks)

  1. 6 medium sized chicken drumsticks (skinless and bone in)
  2. 1 tablespoon vinegar/rice vinegar + a sprinkle of salt
  3. 1 dry red chili pepper, toasted until brown and fragrant
  4. 1/4 cup garlic cloves
  5. 1/2 cup chopped fresh ginger
  6. a few tablespoons Sriracha (adjust amount to taste and spice tolerance) + more Sriracha for the final coat on the chicken
  7. 1/2 cup packed fresh Thai Basil + more for garnish and cooking
  8. 2.5 tablespoon rice vinegar
  9. 3 tablespoon rice flour
  10. 1 tablespoon oil + more to mist or drizzle

*Note: Ginger, Basil and Sriracha, each have very distinctive flavors. So please adjust amount to your preferences. More or less of each and you have what you want. Also any hot sauce (like the Indo Chinese Chili Sauce), may be used. I used Sriracha because it is not as tart (no vinegar) and the consistency is denser than most others.

Instead of drumsticks, chicken wings can be used too.



Wash drumsticks and pat dry. Make 2-3 deep slits on the flesh. This helps the flavors seep in when they are marinated.

In a non reactive bowl or ziploc bag, add the tablespoon of vinegar and some salt and rub into the drumsticks. Allow them to sit for about 30 minutes.

Toast the red dry chili pepper. In a blender/food processor combine the chili pepper, garlic, ginger, Sriracha, Thai Basil, vinegar, one tablespoon oil and rice flour. Process in to a thick paste. Do not add any water. You want a thick paste for it coat the drumsticks.

Add the mix to the bag or bowl of drumsticks, toss well and refrigerate for at least 24 hours. Long marination is required for all the flavors to infuse and also to tenderize the chicken. Toss and rub in the marinade on the drumsticks a few times.

Remove marinated drumsticks from the refrigerator a few hours before you are ready to cook and allow them to come to room temperature.

Pre heat oven to 375F – 400F.

Place a baker’s rack/cooling rack over a foil lined cookie sheet.  The rack allows hot air circulation which cooks the meat evenly and makes them crispy. If you do not have a rack, place them directly on a greased foil or baking paper. Place the marinated drumsticks on the rack. Make sure some of the marinade coats the drumsticks. Lightly spray with olive oil (or any oil) mist/spray. You can throw in some fresh basil with the chicken for flavors.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and white inside. Turn them over and bake for another 10 minutes for the other side to crisp. If you want more flavors and even more spicy, baste the drumsticks on all sides with more Sriracha and the leftover marinade. Turn the broiler on for an additional 10 minutes for the coating to set in and make a crispy outer layer. The cooking time will depend on the size of the drumstick and your oven.

The drumsticks can be grilled in a grill pan or on an outdoor grill. 

Garnish with slivered fresh basil if you want. Serve hot!



Preparation Time: 20 minutes + 24 hours marination
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
Serves/Makes: 6 drumsticks
Difficulty level: Easy



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17 comments to Spicy Ginger Basil Drumsticks

  • They look ever so scrumptious! A wonderful combination of flavors and recipe.



  • Gaurav

    Soma, thanks for sharing the recipe. Going to try this over the weekend. I have a question. Why the use of rice flour? Thanks, Mr. Gaurav :)

    Gaurav ;) the flour is for the marinade to stick (even during baking) to the drumsticks. It also gives a thickes outer coating texture. Can be done without too. I usually use a little besan/chickpea flour for chicken tikka. but I was afraid the flavors of besan will interfere with the flavors here, so I used something neutral.

  • Gaurav

    Thanks for that info. Will share some pictures with you hopefully! :

    Looking forward! Hope you like them!

  • My husband, after seeing the pictures: “why don’t you make something like this? I can eat them with beer”. Now I have to. Will replace regular basil as I do not have Thai ones.

  • Wow! They look absolutely fantastic! i will definitely make them very soon! Love your pictures! :-)

  • These drumsticks look seriously delicious. I am especially loving the sound of that marinade.. I have to try the recipe out!

  • These look so delicious! Trying them soon!

  • Olivia

    Hi, I found this on FoodGawker and was hoping I could get your permission to post the recipe on my recipe instagram page as it looks amazing! I will put the website address on the post! Hope this is okay. Thanks :) x

    Yes you can! I am @somarathore in twitter…holler if you can.

  • Wow! This chicken looks amazing! The spices in the marinade sound really interesting…they’re not ones I cook with usually, but they sound exciting to try!

  • these look amazing and have some Thai basil in the fridge. going to try this this week

  • These look awesome! Adding it to my list!

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  • Amybeth Hurst

    Mouth watering here! Your photos are inviting and your writing is fantastic. Thank you so much! Amybeth Hurst, Portland, ME

  • I have tweaked the recipe and marinated the drumsticks today. Will grill them tonight. I’ll let you know how they turn out.

  • Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive read something like this before. So good to find someone with some unique thoughts on this subject. realy thank you for starting this up. this web site is something that’s needed on the net, someone with somewhat originality. useful job for bringing something new to the internet!

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