Monday, 27 February 2012

SmartCooks Rates Kai Yang an Excellent Thai BBQ Chicken

February 2012 

SmartCooks here.  

It snowed a LOT on Friday.  15 cm? Enough to lead to dreams of warmer vacations and taking in new sights, sounds and smells.  So I travelled the internet and came across 'Kai Yang' or 'Kai Yaang' BBQ chicken.  It's extremely popular in Thailand; in fact, it is referred to 'peasant' or street food.  

So, I'm neither in Bangkok nor all that keen on street food BUT the BBQ version looked intriguing and good.  Only problem was digging out the BBQ from the foot of snow on the hood -- gave that up in favour of the indoor Cuisinart grill.  Worked like a charm ... 

Kai Yang is one of those recipes that depend on the cook or the region.  Recipes can range from elaborate to basic.  I chose one that seems to fall in-between, and which corresponded to what I had on hand.  

I made a few modifications, in keeping with my style.  I used boneless, skinless, organic chicken breasts.  

Most importantly, it is important to experiment with the seasoning.  The recipe  called for 6-8 thai bird chilies, minced.  That's HOT!  I put in one, taste tested, two, tested again and quit at three chilies.  Husband and I both agreed we wouldn't have wanted it any hotter.  

I used a combo of lemongrass stalks and already minced lemongrass and ground them and the garlic in my Cuisinart small food processor.  i used a whole 1/2 cup of lemongrass as I adore it.  Again, it depends on taste.  

The chicken can be roasted alone or on skewers.  

To serve Kai Yang, some recipes suggest a sweet chili dipping sauce, while others call for sticky rice.  I made it with steamed bok choy for me and home-made fries for Husband.  

It was yummmm... Chased away the winter blues as we settled in to watch Lost in Translation.  Eek, and now it's snowing heavily again.  Sigh.  Barbecue? Chicken anyone? 

Kai Yang (Thai grilled chicken)


1 lb chicken (breasts, legs, thighs, or drumsticks, depending on taste). 
2 (or more, depending on taste) minced garlic cloves
1 T ground white pepper
1/4-1/2 cup minced lemongrass
3 Thai bird chilies, minced (can do more or less depending on preference)
1 T light soy sauce
2 T fish sauce (for vegetarian version, use more soy sauce) 
1 T vegetarian oyster sauce
1 T Chinese black vinegar 
1 T turbinado (or light brown) sugar
Large bunch of cilantro, chopped
Skewers, if desired 

Place chicken in a bowl. Add all the marinade ingredients and mix well.  Marinade for at least four hours or overnight.

Use the BBQ or an indoor grill.  Grill the chicken for 10-15 minutes, turning often, until a nice color develops.  Move to side for indirect grilling for another 20 minutes or so.  

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