I love South East Asian flavours, so it’s no surprise that we grow lemongrass, limes, chillies, lemons and kaffir lime leaves in our garden. It makes things a lot easier (and cheaper) when it comes to cooking recipes like this. I love that I can just pop into the garden and go around collecting bits and pieces for dinner.
This recipe comes from an old Taste magazine (September 2012) and was provided by Nici Wickes. She writes that it was inspired by a chicken meal she had at a roadside barbecue on the border of Malaysia and Thailand. Her recipe actually calls for a whole butterflied chicken, but I used four leg cuts instead (thigh + drumsticks). In summer, you could easily stick this on the barbecue instead of doing it in the oven if you like.
This would be great served with lettuce and sticky rice, but we had ours with cucumber and steamed rice, which also works well. If you love chilli and lime, this is definitely a recipe to check out. The result is juicy chicken with sweet, salty and spicy flavours. Hard to beat in my book!
Thai style chilli chicken
Ingredients for chicken
1 whole free-range butterflied chicken, (or other chicken cuts such as the leg in similar quantity)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 Tbsp minced/finely chopped chilli (to taste)
2 kaffir lime leaves, central vein removed, sliced very thinly
2 tsp tamarind pulp (or concentrate), soaked in a little warm water to loosen (from Asian food stores)
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp fresh lime (or lemon) juice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp cooking oil
Ingredients for dipping sauce
1 tsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp white rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
juice of 1 lime
1 Tbsp shaved palm sugar (or 1 tsp brown sugar)
1 red chilli (or to taste), chopped
lettuce leaves (or substitute cucumber)
rice (steamed or sticky)
With a sharp knife, make deep slashes in the flesh of the thick parts of the chicken to assist with the cooking and flavour penetration.
In a bowl, mix the other ingredients for the chicken until the sugar has dissolved. Use a spatula or your hands (maybe wear gloves if you’re worried about the chilli!) to smother chicken with the paste, working it into the cuts.
Put the chicken in a well-greased (or foil-covered) roasting dish. Cook immediately or leave to marinate overnight. Place under a hot grill until chicken begins to blacken – about 10 minutes. Cover with foil and bake at 220 degrees Celsius for 30-40 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.
Mix dipping sauce ingredients together while the chicken cooks. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Adjust to taste as required.
If you wish, serve by chopping chicken roughly, then sprinkle with herbs. Serve with dipping sauce and lettuce leaves to wrap the chicken in.