Thai Grilled Chicken with Sweet Chile Sauce

Prep Time: 35 minutes hands-on plus about 8 hours to marinate

Meal Notes: This flavor-packed gai yang (grilled chicken) dish is a specialty of Loas and northern Thailand, although it is popular in street markets across all of Thailand. The traditional version involves cooking an entire chicken on a bamboo stick over charcoal, then serving it with green papaya salad. But this variation can be broiled at home in the oven and served with any salad; I recommend Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad. I like to marinate the chicken in the fridge while I’m at work and then come home to a head start on dinner.

Source: Modified Savuer: The New Classics Cookbook


  • Chicken

    • 2 pounds chicken boneless chicken thighs

    • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves and stems

    • 1/3 cup soy sauce

    • 2 Tablespoon canola oil

    • 2 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper

    • 10 gloves garlic

  • Sauce

    • 5 cloves garlic

    • 1 cup sugar

    • 1/2 cup white vinegar

    • Kosher salt to taste

    • 1 Tablespoon dried crushed red chile flakes


  • Marinate Chicken: Trim fat from chicken thighs. Cut each thigh into 2-3 smaller pieces. Place chicken pieces in shallow bowl or baking dish. Then, in a blender or food processor, pulse cilantro, soy sauce, oil, white pepper, and 10 whole garlic cloves. Rub three quarters of marinade over chicken, reserving remaining marinade in a small, covered bowl. Cover and refrigerate over night (or up to 8 hours).

  • Cook chicken: When you are ready to cook the chicken, preheat oven broiler on high. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil for easier clean-up. Place an ovenproof wire rack over the sheet, then place chicken pieces on the rack. Cook chicken in preheated oven for about 20 minutes (or until meat is done), basting with reserved marinade every few minutes.

  • Make Sauce: While chicken cooks, make the sweet chile sauce by bringing garlic, sugar, vinegar, salt and 1 cup water to boil in a small saucepan. Cook, stirring, until sauce is reduced by half (12-15 minutes). Let sauce cool.

  • Finish: Serve with sauce either on the side or drizzled over the chicken.