Thai Barbecued Chicken (Gai yang)
By Wendy Hutton, Southeast Asia’s Best Recipes
Reprinted with the express permission of Tuttle Publishing
Years ago, my young son made it his mission to try barbecued chicken in as many places as possible every time we visited Thailand. After a few years of research, he finally declared that the best version was the chicken served on the bridge linking Thailand with Burma at Mae Sai. I must confess that we never get tired of eating this chicken, which is marinated in the Thai trinity of garlic, black pepper and coriander root. Cook it over charcoal for that authentic Thai flavor and serve it with sweet Thai chili sauce.
Preparation time: 10 mins + 4 hours marinating
Cooking time: 15–20 mins
21/2 lbs (1.25 kg) chicken pieces (thighs, drumsticks and breasts)
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
6 large cloves garlic, minced
11/2 tablespoons coarsely minced coriander root
11/2 tablespoons coarsely minced coriander stems and leaves (cilantro)
11/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon Thai Mekong whiskey or Chinese rice wine (preferably Shaoxing), (optional)
Oil, for brushing
Sweet Thai chili sauce, to serve
Remove any excess skin and fatty deposits from the chicken and prick the skin all over with a fork to allow the marinade to penetrate.
Pound or process the peppercorns to a coarse powder in a mortar or spice grinder, then add the garlic, coriander root, stems and leaves, and the salt. Process to a smooth paste, adding the whisky or rice wine a little at a time.
Rub the chicken pieces all over with the mixture, then leave to marinate for at least 4 hours, or refrigerate in a covered container up to 24 hours if preferred.
Brush liberally with the oil and cook over hot charcoal, turning several times, until golden brown and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Alternatively, grill or broil until cooked. Serve with sweet Thai chili sauce.