Gai Yahng (Thai Grilled Chicken with Sweet Chile Sauce)

Thai Grilled Chicken with Sweet Chile Sauce (Gai Yahng)
Gai Yahng (Thai Grilled Chicken with Sweet Chile Sauce)Austin Bush

Though the chicken is normally spatchcocked for this smoky Thai specialty, cutting it into pieces works just as well. Cilantro leaves and stems are a fine substitute for the cilantro root traditionally used in this dish. This recipe first appeared in our June/July 2013 issue with Andy Ricker's article Best Bird.

Gai Yahng (Thai Grilled Chicken with Sweet Chile Sauce)
Though the chicken is normally spatchcocked for this smoky Thai specialty, cutting it into pieces works just as well. Cilantro leaves and stems are a fine substitute for the cilantro root traditionally used in this dish.
Yield: serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 (3–4-lb.) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves and stems
  • 13 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 12 tsp. ground white pepper
  • 15 cloves garlic, peeled (10 whole, 5 finely chopped)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 12 cup white vinegar
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 tbsp. crushed red chile flakes

Instructions

  1. Place chicken in a 9″ x 13″ baking dish. Pulse cilantro, soy sauce, oil, white pepper, and 10 whole garlic cloves in a food processor until smooth; rub ¾ marinade over chicken. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate overnight. Reserve remaining marinade.
  2. Bring chopped garlic, sugar, vinegar, salt, and 1 cup water to a boil in a 2-qt. saucepan. Cook, stirring, until sauce is reduced by half, 12–15 minutes. Stir in chile flakes; let sauce cool.
  3. Heat a charcoal grill or set a gas grill to high; bank coals or turn burner off on one side (see "Grilling 101"). Grill chicken on hottest part of grill, turning as needed, and using a brush, baste chicken with reserved marinade, until slightly charred and cooked through, 25–30 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh reads 165°. If the outside starts to burn before the chicken is fully cooked, move to the cooler side of the grill until done. Serve with chile sauce on the side.