I was thrilled to see a recipe from one of my all-time-favorite cookbook authors, Naomi Duguid, in the April issue of Food and Wine. As many of you know, I have somewhat of an obsession with southeast Asian food. I'm all about the balance of hot, sour, salty, sweet (also the title of one of Duguid's fabulous cookbooks) and this recipe goes straight to the point. It doesn't call for a ton of ingredients either which makes it an even more appealing addition to your dinner rotation. This is stripped down Thai; fresh, bold, and in my opinion, intoxicating flavors.
I made a few changes, the biggest one being that I kept the skin on the chicken. She used skinless chicken legs which I'm sure would also be delicious. I opted to double the recipe and used two whole chickens. I broke them down and used the backs to make a lemongrass broth for some rainy day but you can most certainly find a whole cut-up chicken if you chose to go that route.
This meal was MADE for a balmy summer've eve dinner on the patio. Invite some friends, serve with sticky rice, a salad and maybe some mango slices.
grilled thai chicken
adapted from Naomi Duguid
1 whole chicken, cut up
for the marinade:
1/4 c cilantro
1/4 c Thai basil
3 T fish sauce, please use Red Boat if you can
2 t fresh ground pepper or crushed red pepper
for the sauce:
1 t tamarind concentrate disolved in 2 t of water
1/4 fish sauce
2-3 T fresh lime juice
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 bird chili, minced
2-3 t sugar
1 T water
1/3 c cilantro, chopped
1/3 c Thai basil, chopped
Combine all of the marinade ingredients together in a food processor.
Coat the chicken and let it rest, covered, in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.
Combine all of the ingredients for the sauce together in a small bowl. You can keep this at room temperature while the chicken is marinating.
Preheat oven to 400º
Light your grill, taking care to rub the chicken and the grill with a little oil. Grill the chicken on all sides on medium heat for about 12 minutes until nicely marked and a little charred. Transfer the chicken to the oven on a baking sheet and cook through. If you have opted to use a whole chicken, the wings are most likely already cooked through. Remove the smaller parts from the oven as they are done.
When the chicken is cooked through, arrange it on a platter, spoon over a little bit of the sauce and serve the remaining on the side.