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Wheeler’s Thai grilled chicken

This Thai grilled chicken, or Gai Yang, with a side of roasted chiles and rice, makes a great weekday staple.
Prep Time45 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Thai
Keyword: grilled chicken, Thai
Author: Wheeler Cowperthwaite



  • 1-4 lbs chicken breasts, thighs or drumsticks
  • 2+ green chiles
  • 1 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped


  • 3 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 2 jalapeños, chopped
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2+ tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp white or red wine (optional)
  • 1 tsp sesame seed oil (optional)
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 15 sprigs cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 lemon, deseeded, coarsely chopped


  • 2 dried red chiles, soaked, then coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar


Marinade and sauce

  • At least three hours prior to grilling the chicken, prepare and marinade the chicken.
  • In a blender or food processor, combine the marinade ingredients. Blend for 2-3 minutes, until everything is well combined. Everything should already be chopped.
  • Combine the chicken and the marinade in a container, bowl or ziplock bag and refrigerate for at least three hours. Overnight is preferable.
  • While the chicken is marinating, combine all of the sauce ingredients in the food processor or blender and mix until well combined. Remove to a separate container for serving and refrigerate until ready to serve.


  • Grill the chicken over medium to medium-high heat until done. Chicken thighs taken longer than breasts and bone in takes longer than boneless. If the chicken is bone-in, cook over medium heat. Add a little of the marinade to the chicken while it cooks.
  • While the chicken is grilling add the green chiles, cut lengthwise, to the grill and cook until the skin is well blistered.
  • Once the chicken is done, remove from the grill and allow to rest for 2-3 minutes.
  • Serve with rice and the sauce you previously made in the blender/food processor and the roasted chiles.
  • Garnish the plates with the chopped cilantro.


Serve with hot rice.
Barbecue chicken sauce recipe from Practical Thai Cooking by Puangkram Schmitz and Michael Worman.