Sunday, February 12, 2006

Toms chicken

... otherwise known as Thai-style spicy grilled chicken.

I credit my friend Tom with this recipe coz he was the first to cook it for me years and years ago. I re-discoverd it this weekend and had forgotten how yummy it is and how much of a hit it is with hungry BBQ crowds. This is enough paste for 1kg of chicken thigh fillets, trimmed of fat and cut into 2 or three pieces each.

In a food processor, or big mortar and pestle, put

4 cloves of peeled garlic
1 teaspoon of coarsely cracked black peppercorns
2 teaspoons each of sugar, turmeric powder and paprika (not the smoky kind)
1 teaspoon of garam masala,
1 tablespoon of chopped coriander roots,
2 fresh red chillies, chopped and
1-2 tablespoons of peanut oil, or enough to bring it to a thick paste.

Blitz or pound this ‘til thick and luscious.

At this stage, wear latex gloves. Scoop the paste out and massage into the chicken pieces so they are totally covered. Hands are really the best way. The first time I made this I didn’t wear gloves and looked like a yellow-fingered chain smoker for three days. The earthy sharpness of the pepper and coriander is delicious. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight/ 24 hrs.

You can cook the chicken under a grill or on the BBQ. You can cook it in individual pieces or if you’re doing a big batch, thread it onto metal skewers so you can turn many pieces at once.

Have the grill/barbie on medium-hot and as the chicken cooks baste it with coconut milk using a brush. Baste it with a little milk each time you turn it. This keeps the chook ultra moist and prevents it from charring too much as you cook it. It usually takes 15-20 minutes to cook. On the last turning, omit the coconut milk to let the outside crisp up a little. Serve with fresh coriander and a Thai dipping sauce of sugar, lime juice, fish sauce and chilli. Goes really well with cucumbers as a garnish.


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