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Fragrant Grilled Chicken, close-up2

Earlier this summer, I was at Borders and came across this cookbook called Thai & South-East Asian Cooking & Far Eastern Classics by Deh-Ta Hsiung, Becky Johnson and Sallie Morris.  The title is a little long-winded, but it is full of great recipes and inspiration.   I’ve used it for several dishes so far, including Lion’s Head Meatballs.

The original recipe called for chicken with the skin on.  I opted for skinless chicken breasts, as that’s what I had available and that’s what we prefer.  However, leaving the skin on will help prevent the chicken from drying out during the grilling process.

After making the sauce and tasting it, I noticed that it tasted a LOT like the bottled sweet Thai chili sauce I had bought a few months ago.  As in, if there wasn’t any cilantro, I probably wouldn’t have known the difference.  The sauce in this recipe is very easy and quick to make, but for those looking for a shortcut, I’d say sweet Thai chili sauce could easily substitute.

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By the way, what are your thoughts on this new blog theme? I’d like to get reader thoughts on this one in terms of readability, looks, design, etc.  I’ve been having a hard time finding one that I really like.  One of these days, I’ll design my own site, but since that involves me learning code and all that, wordpress themes will have to suffice for now!

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Fragrant Grilled Chicken, adapted from Thai & South-East Asian Cooking & Far Eastern Classics

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 T sesame oil
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
Cilantro (approx 1/5 of the cilantro bundle), finely chopped
1 t chili bean sauce (or 2 small red chilies, seeded and finely chopped if you prefer)
2 T Thai fish sauce
1 t sugar

For the sauce:
6 T rice vinegar
4 T sugar
1/2 t kosher salt
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 t chili bean sauce (or 1 small red chili, seeded and finely chopped)
Cilantro (approx 1/2 of the original cilantro bundle), finely chopped

Begin by laying a chicken breast between two sheets of plastic wrap.  Using the flat side of a meat tenderizer, pound the meat until it is about half of its original thickness.  Cut the resulting meat into thirds.  Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts and set aside in large shallow dish or bowl.Fragrant grilled chicken, marinade

In a mixing bowl, combine the sesame oil, garlic, cilantro, chili bean sauce, fish sauce and sugar.  Mix well, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.

Pour mixture over the chicken, turning each piece to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and let marinade in refrigerator for at least 20 minutes (I did 3 hours).

In the meantime, make the sauce by heating the vinegar in a small pot over medium heat.  Add the sugar, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.  Add the salt and stir until the mixture begins to thicken.  Add the garlic, chili bean sauce and cilantro.  Stir well to combine.  Transfer the sauce into a serving bowl.

Once the chicken is done marinating, preheat the grill.  Cook the chicken on one side until it is golden brown and has begun to cook through.  The original recipe called for 5 minutes per side, but I didn’t find that to be enough and ended up cooking about 15 minutes per side.  Use your judgment, as this may depend on the type of grill you use.

Then turn, baste with the marinade and cook the other side until the chicken is cooked through.  Remove from heat.  Top with sauce and serve over rice.

Serves 4.

Fragrant grilled chicken, overhead shot2