Saturday, January 07, 2012

RECIPE: Thai Grilled Chicken (Gai Yang)

Over the Christmas and New Year break there have been quite a few barbeques going on near my place that are within nose range but depressingly out of reach. You might be tucking into an awesome meal when you smell it, but there is nothing that will beat the perfume of grilling meat. I had to have it.

I've been eating a lot of Vietnamese and Thai food lately (the best food for a Sydney summer--after barbeques, of course--for mine), so wanted some of that flavour in my grilled meat. The answer was an obvious one: gai yang.

It's not the most traditional recipe (which would probably use a whole or broken down chicken and would omit soy) but it's pretty easy and it's bloody tasty.

- 1 kg of chicken thigh fillets, cut in half
- 2 T of Thai fish sauce
- 2 T light soy
- 2 T dark soy
- Pinch of salt
- Generous pinch of palm sugar (or brown)

And the following blended up to a rough paste:
- 2 lemongrass stalks, outer leaves removed
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 2 thumbs of ginger
- 2 red chillis, deseeded if you want it mild like I do

Mix everything together well so all parts of the chicken are covered. Cover well in a container or in a bowl tightly covered with plastic wrap and marinate overnight (minimum 2 hours).

It's not rocket science. Cook until you start seeing some lovely charred edges either on the barbeque, under the grill or in an oven as hot as it goes. Once done, a little squeeze of lemon or lime will go a long way.

Serve on it's own or even in rice paper wraps (or lettuce leaves) with a Viet herb mix, bean sprouts and vermicelli.

However you serve it, it tastes nice dipped into some nouc cham, the Vietnamese dipping sauce.

Nouc Cham
1. In a medium-sized bowl, add 1 T of sugar (white or palm). Add 1 C of warm water and stir until sugar is dissolved.
- Add 2 T of rice wine vinegar, 1.5 T of thai fish sauce, the juice of 1 lime and mix.
- Finely chop 3 garlic cloves and 1 red chilli (leave the seeds in) and add to the bowl.
- Stir and check for seasoning. You may need to add more of something to balance out the dipping sauce to your taste. It should be sour, but also salty from the fish sauce, tart from the citrus and sweet from the sugar.

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