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Chiang Mai Chicken (Gai Yang)

4 Servings

3 hours 20 minutes active

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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.




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

3 hours

20 minutes active


  • 1

    cup lightly packed cilantro leaves and tender stems

  • ½


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G O.
June 6, 2023
Gai Yang
Loved the Tangy dipping sauce. Famous dish from NE Thailand, near Lao. Reminds me of Mary Jane's Restaurant in BKK
Erin B.
September 19, 2022
This marinade is amazing. I ended up grilling the chicken and added some fresh mint on top. Very happy with this recipe!
Justin G.
July 26, 2022
Our family favorite!
Excellent grilled as well as baked. One family member dislikes cilantro. I’ve substituted basil and parsley.
Crystal M.
April 9, 2024
Easy and delicious! Family favorite immediately!
This chicken recipe is fantastic! The whole family LOVED it and LOVED the dipping sauces, too! I've made it several times now!
Marc H.

Excellent, excellent recipe for Kai Yang. Compared to Andy Ricker's impossibly complex recipe, this is a easy and delicious. We smoke these chickens in our pellet smoker (low at first and then hot) and they are always a major hit.

Beth M.

One of the most interesting and fantastically tasteful chicken recipes we have ever had. We grilled bone in chicken breasts, hot side of the grill first and then moved to cooler side to finish. Added saved marinade after we took them off and then let them rest. Served with rice and the Tamarind Dipping sauce - which was critical. Didn't feel the need for the lime sauce. Amazing meal.

Maria Felisa S.

Followed the recipe exactly and grateful for a splatter-free oven method as an alternative to a grill. I loved the flavor except that I felt it was too salty and will cut the fish sauce in half next time. Thank you for the wonderful culinary adventures around the world!


I made the sauce with my homegrown lemongrass. I used it on salmon, which I baked, and tofu. The salmon was fantastic, as was the tofu. I used a heaping tablespoon of miso instead of the fish sauce. Great recipe!

Michael L.

I’ve made a lot of milk street recipes and I think it’s probably our favorite. Flavorful easy it’s simply great. If you take the time to make the tamarind dipping sauce you’ll be happy

Emilie B.

Wow. Fantastic chicken. I usually can’t stand cilantro but in this recipe it is delicious, even for an avowed cilantro-hater!

Sandra V.

Whoa! This is the best chicken EVER! I made this with the tamarind sauce (that was just meh for me) the chicken alone was all I needed. I served it with the Thai Fried Rice recipe and my son said it was the best on the bone chicken (he hates bone in meats, so picky). This was so easy to put together and the trick to put a layer of salt on the bottom of the baking pan was a new one for me but will keep that in my bag of tricks for the roasting of other meats. I don't make a lot of the same foods more than a couple times in a year, but I think this chicken need to be a monthly addition. Next summer I will even attempt on the grill!

Scott P.

Excellent chicken with bold flavors (wouldn't have it any other way). Did the chili-lime sauce.

Astra F.

Winner, winner chicken dinner. Didn’t add cilantro because hubby has ‘the disorder’ and didn’t have white peppercorn. Still excellent.

Melissa B.

We loved the chicken, but I don’t get the purpose of the salt bed. Hoping someone can clue me in…

Lynn C.

Hi Melissa -

In the headnote of the recipe it mentions that cooking the chicken over a bed of salt prevents the marinade from burning as it drips off the chicken. It otherwise would hit the hot sheet pan and burn.

The Milk Street Team