Thai Grilled Chicken (Gai Yahng)

Total Time
3hrs 15mins
Prep
2 hrs 30 mins
Cook
45 mins

Another recipe from Nancie McDermott's 'Real Thai'. This is my absolute favorite Thai recipe (the cookbook's spine is broken so that it always falls open to this recipe, that's how much I use it)! It's so amazingly good, yet really fairly simple. Apparently in northeastern Thailand, this is street food, halves of small grilled chicken sold by vendors as the delicious aroma fills the air. For a real treat, have your butcher halve Cornish game hens and grill those rather than chicken pieces or quarters. Prep time includes marinating time.

Skip to Next Recipe

Ingredients

Nutrition

Directions

  1. To make pesto, crush or grind the peppercorns with a mortar and pestle or in a spice or pepper grinder (empty grinder first, then pour in the measured peppercorns and grind until empty). Combine pepper, cilantro, and garlic and work into a smooth paste with a mortar and pestle or in a food processor. Add a little oil or water if needed to facilitate the grinding.
  2. To make sauce, combine sugar, water, vinegar, garlic, and salt in a small, non-reactive saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil over medium heat (Beware of the fumes! It will taste much, much better than it smells at this stage--vinegar fumes will make your nose itch and eyes water!). Stir to dissolve sugar and reduce heat to low. Simmer until slightly reduced and thickened to a light syrup consistency, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in chili-garlic sauce. Cool to room temperature; if not using right away, transfer to a jar and seal tightly (can be stored at room temp for 2-3 days).
  3. In a 1-gallon ziplock bag, combine 1/3 cup of the pesto (save remainder for another use), the soy sauce and the salt, if desired. Add chicken pieces and shake until coated. Cover and chill 1-2 hours, turning over now and then.
  4. Prepare a hot coal fire or preheat a gas grill. Arrange chicken on grill and cook for about 45 minutes-1 hour (depending on size of pieces), turning now and then to cook evenly.
  5. When chicken is done, transfer to a platter and serve with the sauce and some rice.
Most Helpful

5 5

Garlic lovers unite. We NEED to unit because nobody else will sit with us while we're creating a microclimate with our garlic aromas. WONDERFUL!

3 5

I loved the marinade (I'll be using it again!), but the sauce was too sweet. I did enjoy trying something different.

5 5

Great flavor combinations. The chicken by itself is quite good, and the dipping sauce takes it to another level! Don't let the long ingredient list scare you off, it is really a very easy recipe to put together. The chili sauce recipe would be good with pork or shrimp also! I am going to try the game hen version next time!