New Recipes

Gai Yaang (Thai BBQ Chicken for July 4th)

Gai Yaang (Thai BBQ Chicken)
Gai Yaang (Thai BBQ Chicken) pictures (1 of 4)

July 4th is two days away and I am sure you are busy finalizing your party menu. If you are looking for a new recipe idea to impress your guests, I have got you covered with this guest post by my dear friend Chef Robert Danhi—Gai Yaang or Thai BBQ Chicken Wings recipe. Chef Danhi is my cookbook colleague as he is currently working on his second cookbook, Easy Thai Cooking by Tuttle (my publisher). This Sunday also marks the 4th anniversary of Rasa Malaysia, so to all my American readers, have a great 4th and Happy Independence Day, and Happy 4th Birthday to Rasa Malaysia!

July 4th is all about grilling and each year I like to try something new. This year I am in the midst of writing my second book Easy Thai Cooking (Tuttle, November 2011) and the flavors of Thailand fill my test kitchen. If you are still undecided about what to make this July 4th weekend, I recommend trying out Gai Yaang or Thai BBQ Chicken Wings with a sweet-and-spicy chili glaze.

Like American French fries scream out to be dipped in ketchup, grilled chicken of Thailand yearns for Thai Sweet Chili Sauce. Traveling through the streets of Thailand, especially in the northeast area of Issan, grilling chicken (Gai Yaang) is a common sight. Charcoal fired grills release aromatic smoke and imbue the marinated chicken with a welcome layer of smoky flavor that the sweet chili sauce is right at home with. It is usually served on the side to dip the chicken in but here I find that tossing the grilled wings in the sauce ensure every bite is filled with a sweet-spicy goodness…

Like ginger, garlic and scallion is a common trinity that lays the foundational flavor in many Chinese dishes, the combination of garlic, coriander root (cilantro) and white pepper is a prevailing ingredient combination of Thai cooks. Then seasoning this mixture with some sweet golden palm sugar and the omnipresent fish sauce. Minced lemongrass come to the party with a bright citrus-like aroma.

In short, use the traditional recipe marinade, there is no problem to use coriander (cilantro) stem instead of the less available roots and buy the chili sauce to save that time—also having the remaining bottle will encourage you to incorporate it into all sorts or recipes. I even make a mean coconut martini that I use this chili sauce to coat the glass with.

Now back to my new cookbook…the new book will be different than my Southeast Asian Flavors book in that the recipes may not be the long standing traditional recipes of this food focused culture, they are recipes that have the genuine flavors of Thailand but rely on store-bought condiments to save some time. This is how many of us cook now, even in Thailand. Stay tuned and follow me on Twitter or friend me on Facebook to check on the progress of the cookbook.

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20 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. J. Long

    Please verify step 2 and 4:

    2.Make Glaze: Whisk together all ingredients for glaze in large bowl. Toss wings in glaze until coated well.

    4.Glaze Wings: Toss wings in glaze until coated well.

    Tossing pre-cooked wings in glaze in step 2 and tossing cooked wings in the same glaze in step 4 would caused cross contamination!

  2. David

    The Marinade ingredients include oil but no soy sauce; the instructions say to mix the soy sauce with the other ingredients, but omit the oil.
    Please indicate which is correct.
    Also – white or black pepper? It doesn’t make much difference in this sort of marinade, but again the ingredients and instructions seem to be in conflict!

    • FoodieDuckling

      From personal experience I found Squid brand fish sauce to be a very good all round brand. It’s a thai brand but high quality. A thai gourmet chef here recommended that brand for me personally.

  3. John W.

    Robert, what I love about your first book is it’s educational detail that stays truly authentic. I have dozens of Asian cookbooks that cut corners for us lazy Americans who won’t go out of the way to source real ingredients. I don’t need more shortcut books – I need more books like your first that are my proxy directly into an Asian kitchen with no subtleties omitted. Alas, I’m sure they are not as good of a seller as those with “easy” or “fast” in the title. I’ll buy your number 2 book but will put in a vote for book #3 to be a return to the painstakingly authentic. There is no substitute for real.

  4. Daniel

    Chef: So is it Gai Yaang or Gai Yang? You’ve used both spellings here. Both can’t be correct, can they? I am wondering which one you prefer and why.

  5. David N.

    OMG delicious and easy to make…thank you for sharing and I look forward to giving these a shot…

  6. jen

    Made this last night and will do it again with some changes. Halfway through the marinating time I came back to the site (there had been some inconsistencies in the printed recipe that now appear to be fixed) and noticed the discussion of garlic and the link to the more authentic recipe. I kicked myself for not reading more thoroughly the first time, particularly with regard to the garlic and the cilantro root, and use of mortar and pestle. Following the simplified recipe, I used the stems and discarded the root having no idea that the root is in fact preferred – good to know, how interesting! There was nothing I could do about that but I did pull out the old mortar and pestle and ground up some garlic, poured in the marinade, gave it a few good swishes and dumped it all back on top of the chicken. I let it marinate another hour or so with the revised concoction. The results were DELICIOUS. We used a combination of wings and legs and they came out great. A total keeper.

    I recommend that when making the glaze, put in half the sriracha and taste – then decide if you want to add the rest. Half gave it a good level of heat. Going the rest of the way might have been a bit masochistic for the main plate of the meal. For me, anyway.

    Next time I will follow the authentic recipe for the marinade and allow them to marinate overnight. I will add the glaze (with half the sriracha) at the end as well. Delicious, thanks so much for sharing this!!

    • jen

      ah, good point! my mae ploy doesn’t seem very garlicy so I think I did myself a favor by adding the garlic. thanks again for sharing the delicious recipe!

  7. Caroline

    Made this for dinner tonight,….. was a hit! Simply delicious!
    Thanks for sharing! will definitely use this recipe again!

  8. FoodieDuckling

    I used to post comments as “Simon” before. However I’m popping in Kinda late, but finally got myself to register. After eating lots of thai food there isn’t really any thai stores here who serve Gai Yang, however the Moo Yang is popular among thai citizens here. This recipe is very interesting. I think I’m gonna go ahead and try and impress my other half with some grilled chicken thai style.

    Thanks Robert for sharing this interesting recipe.

  9. jim Peterson

    Robert…looks like you’ve got your work cut out for you just answering all the comments. I think most of the questions could be figured out by the home chefs. Good thing you have nothing else in the world to do.

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