Prep 50 mins
Cook 20 mins
Grilled or barbecued chicken is popular as a common street food and as a restaurant specialty across Thailand but the best and tastiest comes from Isan province where they take whole chickens and roast them butterflied down the middle.
- 3 medium garlic cloves
- 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns, coarsely ground
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced
- 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled
- 1⁄8 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
- 1⁄2 cup light coconut milk
- 4 lbs bone-in chicken legs with thigh, skin removed trimmed
- 1⁄2 cup rice vinegar or 1⁄2 cup cider vinegar
- 1⁄2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- Up to 4 hours prior to serving, make the dipping 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 and 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.
- When ready to cook, combine garlic cloves, pepper, cilantro, ginger 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.
- Preheat grill to medium. Oil the grill rack using a folded paper towel coated in vegetable oil. Hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade, discarding marinade. Grill, turning occasionally, until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part without touching bone registers 165 degrees F, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Optional: Preheat broiler to high. Place chicken in a roasting pan, discarding marinade. 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 degrees F, about 8 minutes more.
- Serve the chicken with the dipping sauce.