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Thai Grilled Chicken with Sweet & Spicy Dipping Sauce

May/June 2013

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In this recipe for gai yang, or Thai grilled chicken, the chicken marinade is enriched with a little coconut milk, which keeps the meat moist during grilling. Prepare the sweet-and-spicy dipping sauce the day you want to use it, because it loses freshness quickly. If you prefer to use chicken breasts instead of thighs and drumsticks, use 3 bone-in breast halves and cut each in half crosswise for 6 servings total.


Thai Grilled Chicken with Sweet & Spicy Dipping Sauce

Makes: 6 servings

Serving Size: 2 pieces chicken & about 1 1/2 Tbsp. sauce each

Active Time:

Total Time:

Ingredients

Chicken

  • 3 medium cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns, coarsely ground
  • 2 tablespoons minced cilantro stems
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce (see Tips)
  • 1/2 cup “lite” coconut milk
  • 4 pounds bone-in chicken drumsticks and thighs (about 12 pieces), skin removed, trimmed

Dipping Sauce

  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Preparation

  1. To prepare chicken: Combine garlic cloves, pepper, cilantro stems and pinch of salt in a large mortar or food processor or food mill and mash or pulse to a coarse paste. Transfer to a large bowl; stir in fish sauce and coconut milk. Add chicken and stir to coat with the marinade. Refrigerate, loosely covered, for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
  2. Preheat grill to medium. (No grill? See broiler variation, below.)
  3. To prepare sauce: Heat vinegar to a boil in a small nonreactive pan. Add sugar, stir to dissolve it, then reduce heat and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes. Add crushed red pepper and minced garlic; simmer for 1 minute more. Remove from the heat and stir in salt. Pour into a serving bowl and let cool to room temperature before serving.
  4. Remove the chicken from the marinade. (Discard marinade.) Oil the grill rack (see Tips). Grill, turning occasionally, until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part without touching bone registers 165°F, 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Serve the chicken with the dipping sauce.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Prepare sauce (Step 3) and hold at room temperature for up to 4 hours.
  • Tip: Fish sauce is a pungent Southeast Asian condiment made from salted, fermented fish. Find it in the Asian-food section of well-stocked supermarkets and at Asian specialty markets. We use Thai Kitchen fish sauce, lower in sodium than other brands (1,190 mg per tablespoon), in our recipe testing and nutritional analyses.
  • Tip: Oil a grill rack before you grill to keep the food from sticking to the rack. Oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack. (Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill—it may cause a flare-up.)
  • Broiler Variation: Preheat broiler to high. Place chicken in a roasting pan and broil about 5 inches from the heat, leaving the oven door ajar. Check after 8 minutes or so; the chicken pieces should be browning. Turn them over and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part without touching bone registers 165°F, about 8 minutes more.

Nutrition

Per serving: 269 calories; 9 g fat (3 g sat, 3 g mono); 90 mg cholesterol; 19 g carbohydrates; 17 g added sugars; 27 g protein; 0 g fiber; 469 mg sodium; 252 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Zinc (19% daily value)

Carbohydrate Servings: 1

Exchanges: 1 other carbohydrate, 4 lean meat


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Recipe Categories

Main Ingredient
Chicken
Preparation/ Technique
Grill/BBQ
Meal/Course
Dinner

Season
Spring
Summer
Type of Dish
Main dish, poultry
Ethnic/Regional
Thai
Ease of Preparation
Easy
Total Time
More than 1 hour
Servings
6
Publication
May/June 2013
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