Clay's Kitchen : Tam Ra Ahan Thai (Thai Recipes) ตำราอาหารไทย

Tam Ra Ahan Thai (Thai Recipes) ตำราอาหารไทย

© Copyright 1995-2020, Clay Irving <>, Manhattan Beach, CA USA

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Kai Yang Isan (Barbequed Chicken) ไก่ย่างอีสาน

Click on picture to enlarge (© Photograph by Clay Irving)

Chicken barbequed roadside in Thailand
Kai yang is literally "barbequed (or grilled) chicken", and is peasant food. As such there are as many recipes as there are cooks in Thailand. There are however two main styles: gai yang khrung thep ("Bangkok Style") which is slightly more elaborate, and the basic gai yang isan ("North East style"), which this is. Originally the chicken was cut open along the belly, and opened out, then knocked flat with a couple of judicious blows from the back of a cleaver, marinated, pegged in a split stick to hold it and then grilled over a charcoal brazier.

Faced with the needs of restaurant cooking, my wife adapted the classic recipe for an industrial rotisserie by adding a stuffing. You can do this in a broiler oven or rotisserie. If you want a barbeque version, take two flattened chickens, place them face to face with the stuffing between them, and hold them in a pair of barbeque tongues, or one of those wire frame things, and barbeque the sandwich.

Thai chickens tend to be quite small. You can use a 2 pound bird, or a couple of cornish game hens, or other small poultry.

half a cup of fish sauce
half a cup of sweet dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons of crushed garlic
2 tablespoons of freshly ground ginger root
1 tablespoon of freshly ground black pepper.

Marinade the poultry overnight.

Mix half a cup each of freshly ground ginger, freshly ground galangal, thinly sliced bruised lemon grass stalk, chopped coriander (cilantro) (use the whole plant, including the roots, if you can get it), and fresh mushrooms. Add the marinade left over from the night before, and heat in a small saucepan to bring out the flavour if you are doing the mock gai yang (see below). Stuff the body of the bird(s).

Bake or broil until cooked, and the skin is crispy brown.

This is served with Thai sticky rice, and nam prik jaew, you should also put some more fresh ground ginger on the table and the usual Thai condiments (I particularly like chilis marinated in sweet dark soy sauce with this one). you can also serve it with a simple green salad.

Mock gai yang
Wondering what to do with the left over turkey? well its a bit late now I guess, but next time you have the problem try this:

Shred some pre-cooked poultry, to make about 4 cups of shredded meat. Add about half a cup of the marinade (above) and mix well, and leave for the meat to absorb the marinade. Make up about a cup of stuffing, moistening it with a tablespoon of the marinade mix, and heat it in a saucepan to bring out the aroma, then mix thoroughly with the marinaded meat. Serve cold with a salad and the other ingredients... (If you prefer you can mix the meat in with the stuffing and heat the whole thing, then eat it hot or cold to suit yourself).

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