Steven Raichlen’s Thai Grilled Chicken

Break out the grill for Thai-style chicken fragrant with lemongrass, ginger and curry powder.

The Aussies may love their shrimp on the barbie.

But we Americans can’t get enough of chicken on the grill.

After all, it’s economical, versatile and always a crowd-pleaser.

Especially when it’s tender, moist and flavored with a fragrant Thai paste like this one from “Steven Raichlen’s Planet Barbecue!” (Workman Publishing) by that master of the grill, Steven Raichlen. This book, of which I received a review copy,  is sure to whet your appetite with its more than 300 recipes inspired by the cuisines of six continents.

You marinate a quartered chicken (we used chicken thighs) with a paste of garlic, fresh ginger, lenongrass, cilantro, sugar, pepper, soy sauce and curry powder. Raichlen says to use a mortar and pestle, but a food processor will make easy work of it even quicker.  Let the paste do its magic on the chicken for at least four hours in the fridge or overnight.

The southern Thailand-style chicken grills up with nicely charred skin that takes on a golden hue from the curry powder. You can really taste the lemongrass and ginger, plus a warm earthiness from the curry powder.

Serve with steamed rice and an easy side vegetable dish. With the grill already hot, just lay down some planks of eggplant until tender. The, toss them in a bowl with a little fish sauce, sesame oil and Chinese black vinegar (use balsamic if you don’t have any), as well as chopped Thai basil. Add a few grindings of black peppercorns and you’re good to go.

It may not be your usual sweet, sticky, saucy barbecue chicken grill-out, but it’s guaranteed to please.

Serve the chicken with grilled eggplant flavored with fish sauce, sesame oil, black vinegar and fresh Thai basil.

Thai Grilled Chicken with Lemongrass and Ginger

(Serves about 4)

4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

1 piece (3 inches) fresh ginger or galangal, peeled and coarsely chopped

3 stalks lemongrass, trimmed and coarsely chopped

3 tablespoons fresh cilantro root or cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon curry powder

1/3 cup soy sauce

3 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus 2 tablespoons oil for basting

1 chicken (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), quartered (2 legs and 2 breasts) OR 8 chicken thighs

Place garlic, ginger, lemongrass, cilantro root, sugar, pepper, and curry powder in a heavy mortar and pound to a coarse paste with a pestle. Work in the soy sauce and oil. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, combine these ingredients in a food processor and puree to a coarse paste.

Rinse chicken quarters under cold running water, then blot them dry with paper towels. Make 3 deep slashes in each piece of chicken (this helps the chicken absorb the marinade and speeds up the cooking). Arrange chicken quarters in a nonreactive baking dish just large enough to hold them in a single layer. Spoon the marinade over the chicken, forcing it into the slits and turning pieces to coat well on both sides. Let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or as long as overnight, turning the pieces several times so they marinate evenly. The longer the chicken marinates, the richer the flavor will be.

Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat it to medium.

When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Drain chicken quarters and arrange them on the hot grate skin side down. Grill chicken until it is darkly browned on the outside and cooked through, 6 to 10 minutes per side. Start basting the chicken with oil after about 5 minutes. Watch for flare-ups; if they occur, move thicken to a cooler part of the grill.

Transfer chicken to a platter or plates, and serve.

Adapted from “Steven Raichlen’s Planet Barbecue!”

Another Steven Raichlen Recipe: Ginger, Garlic, and Honey Grilled Baby Back Ribs

Summer Barbecue Sides: Corn, Tomato and Scallion Salad

And: Green Bean Salad with Pickled Shallots

And: Long Bean Salad with Feta and Preserved Lemons

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Date: Wednesday, 6. July 2011 5:26
Trackback: Trackback-URL Category: Asian Recipes, Chefs, Meat

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  1. 1

    Yum! Love the flavor combo of this chicken. When I think BBQ chicken I usually go with the typical american flavors. The Thai twist is a good one. Sounds like a great book.

  2. 2

    Sigh, oh I wish I had a back yard for grilling. Even a side yard.

  3. 3

    We love grilled chicken, love the flavors of lemongrass and ginger..

  4. 4

    This looks great, I really love the eggplant accompaniment. I wonder if this is doable in the oven? I don’t have a grill but would love to try this.

  5. 5

    Now THAT looks like a winning chicken recipe – yum!

  6. 6

    wow…that looks freaking amazing, incredible photo.

  7. 7

    Yuuuuuuuuum! :D

  8. 8

    Wow, that chicken looks so irresistible! Thai food is awesome.



  9. 9

    I love the flavors going on here – lemongrass makes me happy. I feel like I can smell the aroma straight from the photo!

  10. 10

    The effort to obtain/use coriander root, instead of just the leaves will be well worth the effort. Coriander root will add a dimension to the overall flavor that will taste really *Thai*. Also, a dash or two of fish sauce will help!

  11. 11

    Gai Yang is one of my favourite Thai dishes! :D And I felt a bit excited when you mentioned Australia :P

  12. 12

    This looks juicy and delicious! I love that you used chicken thighs too hehe, the flavours sound so mouthwatering..

  13. 13

    Mmm I would prefer this to regular old bbq sauce any day!

  14. 14

    Wonder if there’s ever been a poll taken on which meats are most popular on the grill?
    Chicken is mine. Your Thai marinade sounds wonderful and that photo at the top is surely some of the most luscious pieces of chicken I’ve ever seen!

  15. 15

    Since we just bought a fancy new grill, and have been spending much time outside in our new home’s courtyard, I think I need this cookbook for the collection! The Thai flavors sound amazing and that crispy skin..OMG

  16. 16

    Sounds just amazing. I love the lemongrass, and garlic in the marinade.

  17. 17

    The paste sounds delicious! I love the idea of bringing Asian flavors to the backyard cook-out. The sauce with grilled eggplant sounds like a great side dish too.

  18. 18

    that stellar char makes my knees weak.

  19. 19

    […] More Steven Raichlen Recipes: Thai Grilled Chicken with Lemongrass and Ginger […]

  20. 20

    My mouth actually started watering looking at this page. Can’t say that happens too often.

  21. 21

    Made this with chicken thighs but think it would be absolutely awesome on some wings with a little heat bringing up the rear.

    Amazing recipe. YUM!

  22. 22

    […] But there have been some really amazing ones which were not only super tasty but really quite easy to make: 1. Thai Grilled Chicken With Lemongrass and Ginger. […]

  23. 23

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  24. 24

    I haven’t found a recipe of Steve’s I don’t like. They’re all delicious and his products are too. I often use one of his BBQ sauces for a BBQ Pizza. In fact, it was so good, I used it to teach a pizza class to adults.

    I think I have most of his cookbooks and frequent his site – lots of great tips and others sharing ideas.

    I haven’t tried this recipe but now that you’ve posted it I’ll have to pull out the book and make it.

    Thanks for sharing.

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