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A potent marinade revolutionizes the commonplace bird
Milk Street Bowtie Chiang Mai Chicken (Kai Yang)

Chiang Mai Chicken (Kai Yang)

3 hours 20 minutes active

Free

Chicken leg quarters and breasts were easy to buy at the grocer, but breaking down a whole chicken worked well, too, and ensured the parts were of similar size. You also can use four whole legs or four split breasts instead of a combination. While optional, lemon grass added bright, citrusy flavor that's characteristic of Thai food. We also found the lemon grass paste sold near the fresh herbs worked in a pinch; substitute 2 tablespoons of paste for the fresh lemon grass. If you can find it, Thai palm sugar can be substituted for the brown sugar; it adds a delicious earthiness. Cooking the chicken over a bed of salt prevented the marinade from burning as it dripped off the chicken. While a simple squeeze of lime was enough to dress the meat, we also liked dipping it in tangy tamarind or chili-lime sauces.

1 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves and tender stems
1/2 cup fish sauce
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 lemon grass stalk, ends trimmed, bottom 8 inches chopped (optional)
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon white peppercorns
2 10- to 12-ounce whole chicken leg quarters
2 10- to 12-ounce bone-in skin-on chicken breasts, ribs trimmed
1 cup kosher salt
Lime wedges, to serve (optional)
Ingredients
  • 1

    cup lightly packed cilantro leaves and tender stems

  • ½

    cup fish sauce

  • ½

    cup soy sauce

  • ¼

    cup packed light brown sugar

  • 1

    lemon grass stalk, ends trimmed, bottom 8 inches chopped (optional)

  • 4

    garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

  • 1

    tablespoon coriander seeds

  • 1

    tablespoon black peppercorns

  • 1

    teaspoon white peppercorns

  • 2

    10- to 12-ounce whole chicken leg quarters

  • 2

    10- to 12-ounce bone-in skin-on chicken breasts, ribs trimmed

  • 1

    cup kosher salt

  • Lime wedges, to serve (optional)

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Chiang Mai Chicken (Kai Yang)

Get Ready to Cook

4

Servings

3 hours

20 minutes active

Tip

Don’t marinate the chicken longer than two hours. The salt in the marinade can toughen the meat and overwhelm its flavor.

Ingredients
  • 1

    cup lightly packed cilantro leaves and tender stems

  • ½

    cup fish sauce

  • ½

    cup soy sauce

  • ¼

    cup packed light brown sugar

  • 1

    lemon grass stalk, ends trimmed, bottom 8 inches chopped (optional)

  • 4

    garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

  • 1

    tablespoon coriander seeds

  • 1

    tablespoon black peppercorns

  • 1

    teaspoon white peppercorns

  • 2

    10- to 12-ounce whole chicken leg quarters

  • 2

    10- to 12-ounce bone-in skin-on chicken breasts, ribs trimmed

  • 1

    cup kosher salt

  • Lime wedges, to serve (optional)

Step 1 of 4

Blend the marinade

1
cup lightly packed cilantro leaves and tender stems
½
cup fish sauce
½
cup soy sauce
¼
cup packed light brown sugar
1
lemon grass stalk, ends trimmed, bottom 8 inches chopped (optional)
4
garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1
tablespoon coriander seeds
1
tablespoon black peppercorns
1
teaspoon white peppercorns

In a blender, combine the cilantro, fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar, lemon grass, if using, garlic, coriander and both peppercorns. Blend until smooth, about 1 minute. Reserve ¼ cup of the marinade for the glaze.

Step 2 of 4

Marinate the chicken

2
10- to 12-ounce whole chicken legs
2
10- to 12-ounce bone-in skin-on chicken breasts, ribs trimmed

Place the chicken in a large zip-close plastic bag. Pour in the remaining marinade and seal. Set in a bowl and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Step 3 of 4

Bake the chicken

1
cup kosher salt

Heat the oven to 400ºF with the rack in the middle position. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spread the salt over it. Mist a wire rack with cooking spray, then set over the salt.


Arrange the chicken on the rack over the salt. Bake for 30 minutes. Brush the chicken with the reserved marinade and continue to bake until the thighs register 175ºF and the breasts register 160ºF, another 10 to 15 minutes.

Step 4 of 4

Transfer and serve

Lime wedges, to serve (optional)

Transfer the chicken to a carving board and let rest for 20 minutes. Serve with lime wedges or dipping sauce, if desired.

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