Chicken porn (Thai grilled chicken, Gai Yang)

gai yang

Well, it’s actually just a Gai Yang, or Thai grilled chicken.  But it does look mildly obscene, don’t you agree?  The poor innocent chicken, stripped bare and spread out in a rather immodest position for all the world to see.  It’s also quite immoderately delicious, and inordinately easy to do.

There’s a term for this flatten out chicken, it’s called “spatchcock”.  To spatchcock a chicken is to remove its backbone and flatten it out before cooking.  I doubt the folks grilling the chickens on the street in Bangkok know the proper culinary term, but this is precisely how they do it over there.  It makes things a whole lot easier to do a whole chicken on the grill.  I also think that it normalizes cooking time so that the breasts, legs, and thighs finish cooking at about the same time.  I’ve never had dried out breasts and undercooked thighs when grilled like this over low fire.

This chicken got a Thai seasoning rubbed all over and let marinated for a bit.  It doesn’t take that long, really, just prepare the chicken before you set your barbecue afire.  By the time the fire dies down enough to cook the chicken, the marinade will have done its job.

In Thailand, a grilled chicken like this is usually served with two sauces: one is often referred to as “grilled-chicken sauce”, which is basically a sweetish chili sauce you can buy in a bottle, and the other is a Jaew sauce, which is basically this dressing I used in my Ugly Salad post last week.  You can use either, or both, or none at all.

Thai Grilled Chicken

Gai Yang, Thai Grilled Chicken

5 cloves of garlic
2 stalks of lemongrass, use only up to about 3 inches from the root (optional)
1-2 tbsp of chopped cilantro roots or the bottom part of cilantro stalks
1/2 tbsp white and black peppercorns
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1/4 cup fish sauce
3 tbsp canola oil or other mild-tasting cooking oil
1 tsp turmeric powder (or curry powder if that’s all you have)
a dash of rice vinegar

Peel and finely chop the garlic.  Peel the tough outer part of the lemongrass, disgard everything but the inner stalks, about three inches from the root.  Finely chop the lemongrass.

In a mortar or food processor, pound (or process) the garlic, lemongrass, cilantro roots, and peppercorns together.  In Thailand we use only white peppercorns, but I like to mix it a bit of black pepercorns in it as well.  You can do as you wish, or as your kitchen pantry dictates.  Work everything together into a fine paste.

Add the oyster sauce, fish sauce, oil, turmeric powder, and rice vinegar into the mortar and mix well.  You might need to take the paste from the mortar into a bowl before doing this, depending on the size of your mortar.

Spatchcock your chicken.  If you don’t know what to do, here’s step-by-step, illustrated instructions with from the Chron.  The only thing I suggest differently is to use a kitchen sheer instead of a knife to cut off the backbone–much easier that way, trust me.

Place your spatchcocked chicken on a large serving platter and massage the marinade paste all over that baby.  Let rest while you go take care of the fire.  Let the fire dies down to almost ember before you place the chicken on the barbecue.  You want to do this on a very low fire or your chicken will burn before it’s fully cooked.

Grill the chicken, basting a few times with the remaining marinade, until done.  Serve with a chicken sauce or Jaew sauce.


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5 Responses to “Chicken porn (Thai grilled chicken, Gai Yang)

  • tiffanyfree said:
    January 23rd, 2010 at 12:12am

    I think that these mushrooms would be a great addition to my mushroom collection.

  • Wholesale NFL Jerseys said:
    February 4th, 2010 at 11:11pm

    Mangosteen is my favorite childhood fruit. Can’t find any fresh ones when I moved to US. Can’t wait to let my toddler taste the Pear Mangosteen cottage cheese.

  • Tina said:
    January 21st, 2011 at 12:51pm

    I use to make chicken Barbecue during family day and looks like this is a very good alternative… My kids love chicken and may this new taste will bring them a brand new meaning to chicken food. I will surely try it.

  • Barbecue said:
    February 19th, 2011 at 5:12pm

    Do you use it with sauce? i heard that Asian food always go with sauce and its brilliant. Sauce is made from fish sauce, lemon, chili, garlic, sometimes yoghourt, cream and even chopped bone

  • Aznbabe43 said:
    March 16th, 2011 at 2:01am

    Spatchcocked Chicken-, has a very good step by step process on how to spatchcock your chicken.

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