Thai grilled chicken (gai yang)

Adam Liaw
Thai grilled chicken.
Thai grilled chicken.  Photo: William Meppem

Barbecuing a whole chicken is much easier than you think, even without a rotisserie. This one benefits from a long marinating time and a relatively slow roast in a hooded barbecue.


1.8 kg whole chicken

2 stalks lemongrass, finely chopped

6 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 coriander plants (roots and stems, leaves reserved)

2 tbsp oyster sauce

2 tbsp fish sauce

1½ tbsp sugar

juice of 1 lime

freshly ground black pepper

lime wedges to serve

Nam jim jaew

1 tbsp uncooked rice

2 tsp sugar

1 tsp chilli powder (preferably roasted)

2 cloves garlic, grated

1 eschalot, sliced

2 tbsp finely shredded coriander leaves

juice of 2 limes (or 1 lemon)

2 tbsp fish sauce


1. Cut down either side of the backbone of the chicken and remove it. Press down on the breast of the chicken to flatten it. Combine all remaining ingredients and pour over the chicken, rubbing it into both sides. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours but preferably overnight.

2. For the nam jim jaew dipping sauce, place the rice in a dry frying pan and heat over high heat, shaking regularly until the rice is lightly golden. Transfer it to a mortar and pestle and grind to a coarse powder. Stir through the remaining ingredients then taste and adjust seasoning.

3. Heat a hooded barbecue to medium-low heat and add the chicken, skin side down. Cook for 20 minutes with the hood closed, then turn over and cook for a further 20-25 minutes. Remove from the heat and rest for 10 minutes before serving. If cooking the chicken in the oven, roast at 220C fan-forced (240C conventional) for 45 minutes. Serve with reserved coriander leaves, lime wedges and the dipping sauce.

Adam's tip: Use a meat thermometer if you really want to make cooking chicken on the barbecue foolproof. The legalities require me to tell you that the temperature you're looking for at the thickest part of the breast is 74C, but personally, I cook it to about 65C.

Also try: my grilled snake bean and basil salad

Find more of Adam Liaw's recipes in the Good Food New Classics cookbook.

Buy Now