Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Thai Chicken with Amazing Hot-Sour-Salty-Sweet Sauce

Thai Chicken with Amazing Hot-Sour-Salty-Sweet Sauce

Serves: 4
Thai Chicken with Amazing Hot-Sour-Salty-Sweet Sauce
Are you tired of chicken cooked the same way?  Looking for something with a different and more complex taste? Try your hand at Thai cooking. Thailand is condiment heaven with a gazillion sauces. This northern Thai-style recipe is extra sour because it has both tamarind and lime. Thai cuisine is most accurately described as four regional cuisines derived from those neighboring countries and regions. This particular recipe is from the north and northwest regions and thereby influenced by Burma and Laos. Most dishes of Northern Thailand are milder than those of other regions and patterned by Burmese influence.

The ingredient found in almost all Thai cooking, and easily found in most US grocery stores, is nam pla, a very aromatic and strong tasting fish sauce. It is prepared with fermented fish that is made into a fragrant condiment and provides a salty flavor. Another important ingredient in this particular dish is Tamarind. The concentrate can be found in many grocers, Asian markets and Mexican markets. Tamarind comes from a tree native to tropical Africa. The tree produces edible pod-like fruit, which are used extensively in cuisines worldwide. In Western cuisine, it is found in Worcestershire Sauce and HP sauce. In this dish, and in many Thai cuisines, it is an essential souring ingredient found commonly in sweet-and-sour sauces. The good news: tamarind can be stored at room temperature nearly indefinitely.
I love this dish with the entire chicken leg: thigh and drumstick attached. This can be obtained by asking your butcher to cut up the chicken.  I have seldom, if ever, seen it pre-packaged in this fashion. If unable to obtain, use chicken drumsticks and thighs.

  • ¼ C chopped cilantro
  • 2 Tb nam pla – Asian fish sauce
  • 1 ½ tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 4 WHOLE chicken legs

Dipping Sauce:
  • ½ tsp tamarind concentrate dissolved in 1 tsp water
  • ¼ C Nam pla – Asian fish sauce
  • 2 Tb fresh lime juice
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1 small Thai chili, seeded and minced
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 Tb water
  • ½ Tb vegetable oil
  • ½ C chopped cilantro 

Marinate Chicken: In a small processor, process cilantro, 2 Tb fish sauce and fresh pepper into a coarse puree. Coat chicken completely with pureed marinade.  Store overnight in the refrigerator or let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Marinated chicken 
Prepare dipping sauce: In a bowl, combine the dissolved Tamarind concentrate with ¼ C nam pla, 2 Tb lime juice, 1 minced garlic, 2 tsp sugar and 1 Tb water. Set aside.
Dippin' sauce
Preheat oven to 400 degree F. Light grill. Remove chicken from marinade and rub it with ½ Tb vegetable oil. Rub grill gates with paper towel soaked with vegetable oil.  Grill the chicken over moderately high heat, turning, until charred, about 12 min. Transfer chicken to a baking dish and roast in warmed oven about 30 minutes, until cooked and thigh measures 150 degree F.

Just before serving, stir ½ C chopped cilantro into the dipping sauce. Serve with cooked chicken.
Sauce with cilantro
You will not be sorry after trying this simple dish. I used the sauce the next day with shrimp – equally great. My favorite wine with this, hands down, is a wonderful peppery, raspberry Zinfandel, such as one from Turley winery in Paso Robles.  You cannot go wrong.


No comments:

Post a Comment