Gai yang

Gai yang

Ben's Meat Bible
Benito Martin

Gai yang, or Thai barbecued chicken, is one of those street foods you experience in Thailand and just hope you can replicate when you get home. Well, now you can. This dish really does benefit from being cooked over a charcoal flame. If this isn’t possible, then don’t let that dissuade you. Traditionally this recipe would include turmeric, but I like it without – sometimes the turmeric can be overpowering.


Quantity Ingredient
1 x 1.2kg chicken
125ml coconut cream
1 tablespoon crisp-fried shallots, (available from Asian supermarkets)
15g coriander leaves, chopped, (cilantro)
3 kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced
sweet chilli sauce, to serve
1 telegraph cucumber, sliced, to serve

Curry paste

Quantity Ingredient
10 white peppercorns
3 coriander roots, scraped and chopped
pinch salt
4 garlic cloves
large pinch palm sugar or soft brown sugar
3 tablespoons fish sauce


  1. To butterfly the chicken, place breast side down on a chopping board. With a heavy knife or kitchen scissors, cut along both sides of the backbone and remove. Open up the bird and place on the board, skin side up. Press down on the breast to flatten out the chicken. (Alternatively, you can ask your butcher to do this for you.) Set aside in a tray that will comfortably fit the chicken.
  2. Make the curry paste by pounding the peppercorns in a mortar and pestle until finely ground. Remove and set aside in a bowl. Next, pound the coriander roots until they start to break down, then add the salt and garlic and continue to pound until combined and paste-like. Remove and add to the peppercorns, along with the sugar and fish sauce. Stir until well combined.
  3. Cover the chicken in the curry paste and allow to marinate for at least 4 hours or, ideally, overnight.
  4. When ready to cook, heat your barbecue or chargrill pan on medium heat. Place the chicken, bone side down, onto the hot surface and cook for 5–8 minutes. Ensure that the chicken is nicely browned before turning and cooking for a further 5–8 minutes. Lift the chicken up onto the resting rack of the barbecue, if available, or remove from direct heat. If using a chargrill pan, lower the heat. Baste the chicken with most of the coconut cream and continue to cook (with the lid down if cooking on the barbecue) for a further 15 minutes, until the chicken is done.
  5. Remove from the heat, place onto a board and chop into 8 pieces, splitting each leg and breast in half. Transfer to a bowl and drizzle with the remaining coconut cream and scatter with crisp-fried shallots, coriander and kaffir lime leaves.
  6. Serve with chilli sauce and a few slices of cucumber.
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