Thai grilled chicken Braai

Thai grilled chicken Braai

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  •  2–2.5kg whole free-range chicken
  • Steamed rice and lime wedges to serve

For the marinade

  • 3 tbsp chopped coriander, roots and stalks
  • 1 garlic bulb, cloves peeled
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 30g fresh turmeric, grated (see Know-how)
  • 2 tsp white peppercorns
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce

For the nam jim jaew

  • 1 tbsp glutinous (sticky) rice
  • 2 small Thai shallots (or 1 regular shallot), thinly sliced
  • 1 spring onion, green part only, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1-2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 3-4 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp chilli flakes (or to taste)


  1. To make the marinade, pound the coriander roots and stalks, garlic, sugar, turmeric and peppercorns to a paste in a pestle and mortar, then mix in the fish sauce and soy sauce.
  2. Spatchcock the chicken by cutting either side of the backbone with kitchen scissors. Remove the bone, turn the bird over, then open it out and press down firmly with the heel of your hand to flatten). Rub the marinade all over the chicken, then cover and marinate in the fridge overnight.
  3. Toast the glutinous rice in a pan or wok over a medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring continuously to stop it burning. It should have an even golden colour. Let the rice cool, then grind to a coarse powder in a spice grinder/pestle and mortar. You want to retain some of the crunchy texture, so take care not to grind it too finely.
  4. When you’re ready to cook, prepare the barbecue for indirect cooking with the coals banked to one side. When the coals are ready, almost close the vents, leaving just a small gap at the top and the bottom. Wipe any large clumps of marinade off the chicken and cook the bird away from the coals, breast side up, with the legs facing towards the hotter side, for 1½ hours. You may need to move the chicken during cooking so it barbecues evenly.
  5. To make the nam jim jaew, combine all the ingredients with the toasted rice powder in a bowl. Let the chicken rest somewhere warm for 15 minutes before serving it with the dipping sauce, steamed rice and lime wedges.

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