There are few things in this world more satisfying than sitting down to devour a full juicy grilled chicken, especially if it’s a Thai grilled chicken! Grilled chicken is one of the many very popular Thai street food dishes, and on the streets of Thailand you’ll find gai yang (ไก่ย่าง) sold at countless carts throughout the country. It’s often eaten along with som tam (green papaya salad) and sticky rice, but you can also just eat it as pure delicious protein.
For this recipe, it’s best to marinate your chicken overnight, and then grill it the following day, but if you don’t have time to wait until the next day, just make sure you marinate your chicken for at least a few hours. The marinade includes a delicious combination of herbs like lemongrass, black peppercorns, and coriander roots, which are all pounded together to create a paste. Then you add in some soy sauce and palm sugar to sweeten and salt the marinade.
In this Thai grilled chicken recipe, I’m of course using whole chickens, but if you wanted to use already cut chicken pieces, I’m sure this recipe would still work fine. If you use whole chicken like I did, you first have to butterfly cut the chickens so they lay flat, which will help in the grilling process, and also ensure that every part of the chicken is layered in your delicious marinade.
After marinating the chicken it’s time to get started grilling. You want a nice low and ever heat for grilling. I first lit my charcoal, but then I had to tone down the hot coals using some leftover ash to make the fire less hot, so it wouldn’t burn the skin. Once your grill is ready to go, start grilling your chicken. Monitor the chicken closely, but try to wait for at least around 20 minutes before you make your first flip – flipping the chicken too frequently will make it lose some of its delicious juices. Also, as the chicken cooks, you can continue to baste it with that extra marinade left in the pan.
When the chicken is grilling, you can get started on the gai yang sauce (known in Thai as jim jaew). It’s a tamarind based sauce, mixed with toasted sticky rice, chili flakes, sugar, and fish sauce, so it’s sweet and tangy, and goes extremely well with the salty grilled chicken – Thais know how to make amazing sauce combinations!
My chicken took about 1.5 hours to finish grilling, but depending on how hot your charcoal is will determine how long it takes for you. Just make sure the gai yang (ไก่ย่าง) is cooked all the way to the bone, but don’t overcook it to the point where it’s not juicy. Final step is to take the grilled chicken off the grill, and chop it up using a big Chinese cleaver. I’m still practicing how to perfect my Thai street food gai yang (ไก่ย่าง) chopping skills, but I can say that it’s a lot of fun.
Here are the ingredients that you’ll need for this Thai chicken recipe, but be sure to see the full recipe for more details:
2 whole chickens (1.8 kg. each)
Bamboo sticks or skewers
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons palm sugar
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
8 tablespoons water
4 heads garlic (30 – 40 cloves)
2 stalks lemongrass
2.5 tablespoons black pepper corns
8 coriander roots (optional)
Gai Yang Sauce
1.5 tablespoons khao kua
1.5 tablespoons chili flakes
1 tablespoon of sugar
3 tablespoons fish sauce
8 tablespoons tamarind water
few sprigs of cilantro
Music in this video courtesy of Audio Network.
Full gai yang (ไก่ย่าง) recipe:
Authentic Thai recipes:
Free Thai street food guide:
Eating Thai Food Guide:
Bangkok 101 Guide:
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