Cooking can seem complex and arduous sometimes, and it’s true that some recipes take a ton of time, skill, and special ingredients. Luckily, there are plenty of easy meals out there, and when it comes to marinading chicken, there are tons of variations that you can use to spice your dinner up.
My favorite type of recipe isn’t even really a recipe–it’s more of a simple formula that you can follow and riff on endlessly, creating your own ideal blend. These types of formulas can help you create your own dry rub for barbecue meats, for example. Or if you’re after a simple chicken marinade, it only takes a few ingredients.
The essential elements you’ll need in your marinade are fat, acid, and salt. So, for example, for a coconut-forward marinade, combine 1/4 cup coconut milk (fat), 2 tbsp lemon juice (acid), and 1-2 tsp kosher salt. For a Tex-Mex concoction, try using canola oil (fat), lime juice (acid), and taco seasoning (salt).
The beauty of these “non-recipe” recipes is that you can experiment as much as you like, so long as you follow the fat + acid + salt formula. For example, why not mix sesame oil with lime juice instead of rice wine vinegar, or swap miso in for kosher salt? As long as you balance the flavors, you can’t go wrong!