Friday, June 26, 2015

Thai Grilled Chicken with Hot and Sweet Dipping Sauce

This Sunday at the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market you will be able to find a wide selection of pastured meats from Fair Valley Farm, beautiful fresh cut flower bouquets from Tiger Lily Art Company, and a bounty of produce from Good Food Easy at Sweetwater Farm.

If you are planning on grilling for the 4th of July, you couldn't do better than to pick up a pasture raised chicken from Fair Valley Farm, break it down into parts, and grilling it with this Thai pepper paste from Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid's Hot Sour Salty Sweet.

The recipe calls for cilantro roots, which sounded pretty exotic, but cilantro stems produced a wonderful paste, combined with garlic and pepper corns, that infused the chicken with flavor and produced a wonderfully crisp coating during grilling. 

An essential ingredient for the dish is the sweet and spicy dipping sauce, which you should drizzle on generously at the table. It keeps in the refrigerator and makes a great addition to grilled vegetables or rice noodle salads. So celebrate the birthday of our great, inclusive country with a dish from afar.

Thai Grilled Chicken with Hot and Sweet Dipping Sauce
from Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid's Hot Sour Salty Sweet

For the peppercorn-cilantro root paste:
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons cilantro roots, chopped
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon fish sauce

In a mortar and pestle, or a small blender or food processor, pound or blend the peppercorns and garlic into a paste. Add the cilantro roots and salt and pound everything into a paste again. Stir in the fish sauce.

For the grilled chicken with sweet and hot dipping sauce:
1/2 cup rice or cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 to 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 teaspoons dried red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons fish sauce
3 pounds chicken parts, cut into 10 to 12 pieces total

For the dipping sauce: In a small saucepan, heat the vinegar to a boil. Add the sugar, stirring until it dissolves, then lower the heat to a simmer for 5 minutes. In the meantime, pound or mash the garlic and salt into a paste in a mortar or on a cutting board with the side of your knife. Stir the red pepper flakes into the sauce. When the vinegar and sugar mixture is done simmering, stir in the garlic paste and fish sauce and let the sauce cool to room temperature. 

For the grilled chicken: After you've stirred the fish sauce into the peppercorn-cilantro root paste, toss the chicken parts in the mixture and marinate at room temperature for at least an hour or up to three hours in the fridge. 

Prepare your grill. Remove the chicken from the marinade and grill until it is a beautifully golden brown and its juices run clear. Serve alongside the dipping sauce.

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