Thai Grilled Chicken (Gai Yang)
An authentic Thai recipe, with traditional seasonings of black pepper, garlic, coriander root and fish sauce combined with coconut milk that make the chicken especially succulent and flavorful.
3 to 4 whole chicken breasts
2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns, ground in a spice grinder
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander roots (also known as cilantro), finely minced*
1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
1 cup well-stirred canned unsweetened coconut milk
Hot and Sweet Dipping Sauce (Nam Jeem Guy Yang):
1/2 cup cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 large garlic cloves, mashed to paste with pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons dried hot red pepper flakes
Hot cooked jasmine or other long grain rice for accompaniment
- For Chicken: With a cleaver or poultry shears halve chicken breasts and cut each half crosswise into 4 pieces.
- With a mortar and pestle, or flat side with the sharp edge of the cleaver, blend peppercorns and garlic with a pinch salt to a smooth paste. Add coriander roots and pound or blend to a paste.
- In a large non-metallic bowl stir together coriander paste, fish sauce, and coconut milk. Add chicken and turn to coat well with marinade. Marinate chicken, covered, at room temperature 1 hour, or for several hours in refrigerator.
- Prepare grill (or preheat broiler).
- Grill chicken, skin sides down, on a lightly oiled rack set 5 to 6 inches over glowing coals until browned, 7 to 10 minutes. Brush top of chicken lightly with marinade, discarding any remaining marinade, and turn chicken. Grill chicken until just cooked through and juices run clear, 7 to 10 minutes more. (Alternatively, chicken may be broiled in same manner on lightly oiled rack of a large broiler pan about 4 to 6 inches from heat.)
- Serve chicken with dipping sauce and cooked rice.
- For Hot and Sweet Dipping Sauce: In a small saucepan bring vinegar to a boil. Stir in sugar and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir garlic paste and red pepper flakes into vinegar. Cool. Serve sauce at room temperature in individual condiment bowls for dipping. Makes about 1/2 cup.
Makes 6 servings.
*If the roots are unavailable, use 1/4 cup finely chopped coriander/cilantro leaves.