Grilled Turmeric Chicken (Gai Yang Khamin) Recipe

My Thai

Traditional Thai cooking with a home-style bent.

Grilled Turmeric Chicken (Gai Yang Khamin) Recipe

[Photographs: Leela Punyaratabandhu]

This is a skewered, simpler version of Thai-style turmeric-scented grilled chicken that greatly reduces the time it would take you to grill a whole chicken as traditionally done. The flavor is not compromised, however.

Note: For best results, use chicken thighs. Breast meat can be substituted, but the dish will be drier.

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  • Yield:serves 4
  • Active time: 30 minutes
  • Total time:3 hours

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons finely-chopped cilantro stems or 2 cilantro roots
  • 2 teaspoons whole white peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
  • 4 large cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (see note above)
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar

Directions

  1. 1.

    Combine cilantro, white pepper, coriander, and garlic in a mortar and pestle and pound into a fine paste. Alternatively, combine in a small food processer and process until a fine paste is formed.

  2. 2.

    Cut the chicken into 1-inch cubes; Transfer a large mixing bowl along with fish sauce, oyster sauce, ground turmeric, brown sugar, and the prepared paste. Mix everything together well, cover, and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.

  3. 3.

    Thread the chicken pieces onto bamboo skewers, pushing them tightly against each other to form a tight, compact body of meat on the skewers.

  4. 4.

    Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals over the full surface of the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Alternatively, set the burners on a gas grill to the medium-high, cover, and preheat for 10 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate.

  5. 5.

    Grill the chicken, turning occasionally, until thoroughly cooked through and slightly charred, about 8 minutes total. Remove the chicken from the grill and serve.