Grilled coriander pepper chicken

Grilled coriander pepper chicken
Grilled coriander pepper chicken Photo: Quentin Jones

The fire should be hot but not flaring, so that the chicken pieces grill steadily rather than ferociously and develop a deep-golden-brown crust.


1 x 1.6kg chicken

6 cloves garlic, peeled

2 tsp salt

1 tbsp black peppercorns

1/2 cup firmly packed chopped coriander leaves, stems and roots

1/3 cup fresh lime juice


Detach chicken legs at thigh joint and divide into thighs and drumsticks. Cut wings away from collarbone. Divide breast fillets and then cut each fillet crosswise through the bone. With a sharp knife, make a few slashes in skin side of each thigh and drumstick.

Pound garlic, salt and peppercorns to a paste in a large mortar. Add coriander and continue to pound. Scrape paste into a small bowl and stir in lime juice. Rub paste all over chicken pieces, working it into the slashes. Leave to marinate for about 1 hour (or they can be left overnight).

Preheat barbecue or griller to hot. Cook chicken for 10 minutes, taking care not to poke or move it. Turn carefully and cook the other side. The cooking will take at least 20 minutes in total. The chicken is cooked when a skewer slips through the thickest part with no resistance.

To serve transfer to a heated platter and serve with the coriander and mint sauce, rice if you wish, and a big green salad. Alternatively, serve with your favourite fruit chutney and stir-fried greens.

Top tip: A mortar and pestle is much better for crushing the peppercorns and garlic than a food processor - they are available from Asian food stores. It is very satisfying thumping the pestle on the contents and seeing how quickly they become crushed and then paste-like.