When we lived in San Francisco there was a wonderful place we went to often that had Thai BBQ chicken, Ribs, Duck, and Salmon. It was served with sticky rice and a sweet chili garlic sauce and a carrot salad. It was called San Francisco BBQ. They also served the BBQ chicken over noodles in a tasty noodle bowl. That was the first Thai style food I had ever eaten back in the very early 80's. We loved it! We still do. This chicken reminds me of that very same chicken. I actually have the recipe from that restaurant but I find this better. The marinade is also good on pork or beef ribs. I have not tried it yet but I bet it would be great on Salmon as well.
Thai Grilled Garlic Chicken, Issahn Style
adapted from Quick and Easy Thai
3 T. coarsely chopped fresh cilantro root, or stems and leaves
3 T. coarsely chopped garlic
1 t. freshly ground pepper
2 T. soy sauce
1 T. fish sauce
1 t. salt
3 Tablespoons water, or more as needed to grind the paste
3 pounds chicken pieces
Sweet Hot Garlic Sauce.
In a food processor or blender, combine the cilantro, garlic, pepper, soy sauce, fish sauce, salt, and water. Grind to a fine fairly smooth paste. Add another Tablespoon or two of water if needed to help grind evenly.
Transfer the marinade to a large deep mixing bowl and add the chicken pieces ,turning to coat everything well. Cover and refrigerate at least an hour, turning occasionally to coat evenly with the marinade.
Prepare a very hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill or oven to 450*. When hot ,place the chicken on a lightly oiled rack, or in a roasting pan in the oven , and cook turning occasionally to brown and and cooked evenly and the chicken is cooked through.
(I cook the chicken until it registers 160* on an instant read thermometer)
Serve hot, warm or at room temperature, with small bowls of Sweet- Hot Garlic Sauce.
You can buy Thai Sweet Chili Sauce in the supermarket. There are several good brands or you can make it yourself. If you make it yourself it keeps well in the fridge in a jar or container.
Sweet- Hot Garlic Sauce.
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 Tablespoons coarsely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon chili garlic sauce(sambal oelek)
or Sri Rachaa, or minced fresh hot red chili peppers, or 1 to 2 teaspoons dried red chili flakes.
(I use the sambal oelek)
In a medium saucepan, bring the sugar, vinegar, water, garlic, and salt to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring well to dissolve the sugar. Simmer 8 to 10 minutes, until you have a thin smooth syrup. Remove from the heat, stir in the chili garlic sauce. Set aside to cool. Serve at room temperature with the Grilled Garlic Chicken or any other grilled or crisp fried food. Sealed in a Glass jar this keeps in the fridge for one week.
( my notes: I find that this comes out as a thin marinade rather than a paste. That is fine. I have doubled this and it works really well as I usually use more than 3 pounds of chicken parts when I make it. My organic cilantro comes with the roots attached so I use all of it...roots ,stems, and leaves. Just be sure to wash it really well as cilantro can be sandy and gritty. I sometimes just throw in a big handful of the cilantro and do not measure it...I always use the processor. Also I normally marinate the chicken in a large zip- lok bag and place that on a tray or in a bowl in case it leaks. I find the chicken gets better covered in the marinade that way. I just turn the bag over ever now and then and make sure everything is covered well.)
I use a gas grill and I put this on a hot grill and turn the cooking area down to low and cover the grill, checking often to see that is does not burn.I leave the other burners on medium.