Guajillo Marinated Chicken with Guajillo Tamarind Glaze

The inspiration for this dish came from grilled octopus! In May, 2019, Allison, Jenn and I found ourselves in Mexico City, Mexico. We were headed to Columbia to celebrate Jenn’s 30th birthday, but after a bunch of canceled flight fiascos, ended up in CDMX- without luggage. The first thing we did was hit the nearest H & M. We shared clothes as we spent the rest of the weekend enjoying the fabulous food of the city.

In the photo above, I’m caught contemplating the pulpo (octopus) sizzling on its own little grill. Here at home, a local restaurant serves it much the same way – soaked in a delectable sauce and then grilled – but with an amazing and tangy guajillo tamarind glaze. So, I started Googling around for recipes. Since I’m not wary of eating pulpo, but not brave enough yet to go through the steps to extract all its slimy liquid before cooking it – I opted for chicken. Everything actually tastes like chicken anyway – right? Well, maybe not in this case since pulpo is very delicious, but chicken is a great substitute.

I was heavily influenced by marinade and glaze recipes I found online, but tweaked them to suit my taste. I found the guajillo chilies at Whole Foods and Walmart, but they can also be ordered from Amazon. They are so mild! Asian, Middle Eastern and Mexican groceries carry the tamarind paste, but that can be gotten online as well. 

If anyone out there has experience cooking pulpo, please email me at I’d love to hear from you!


Guajillo Marinated Chicken with Guajillo Tamarind Glaze

Ingredients for marinated chicken:

4 to 6 chicken breasts or various pieces

5 Guajillo chilies

2 chilies and 2 tablespoons sauce from can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/3 vegetable oil

2 tablespoons white vinegar

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper



Place the chilies in a bowl and pour enough boiling water over them to cover. Put a plate or saucer on top of them to keep them submerged. Let them soak for 20 minutes to soften them.

Drain the chilies, take their stems off and place them in a blender with all the other ingredients. Process until all ingredients are pureed together.

Pour over chicken pieces and allow them to marinate in refrigerator for a couple hours.

Remove chicken from marinade, allowing a coating to remain on chicken. Grill over medium heat until internal temperature is 160 degrees Fahrenheit. When cut into, no pink should show and juices run clear. 


Guajillo Tamarind Glaze – yields around 1 1/2 cups 


1 head of garlic

drizzle of vegetable oil

5 guajillio chilies

1 cup water

1/2 cup tamarind paste

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup lime juice

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper



Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the top of the head of garlic, drizzle it with a bit of oil and wrap it up in foil. Bake the garlic for 45 minutes.

Squeeze the garlic pulp into a pan, discarding the skin. Add all the other ingredients. Cook over medium heat while stirring often to prevent bottom of pan burning, until it comes to a boil. Take off the heat and allow it to sit for 10 minutes.

Pour the contents of the pan into a food processor and puree.

Put the mixture through a fine mess strainer to get rid of the seeds as you transfer the glaze into a squeeze bottle or container.

To serve, plate the grilled chicken and use the glaze to garnish as you wish. A “smear” is always nice!


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