Laotian Grilled Chicken (Ping Gai) Recipe

"This particular ping gai (Laotian for ‘grilled chicken’) recipe seems to have originated from the Queen Mother Cafe in Toronto, so some North-Americanization may have occurred. But rest assured, this is at least twice as good as your average grilled chicken, North American or otherwise. Generous amounts of freshly ground pepper and chopped cilantro are the main players in the marinade, while a sweet, garlicky dipping sauce is the perfect accompaniment."


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  • For the Marinade:
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns, or more to taste
  • 1 large bunch fresh cilantro stems and leaves
  • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 pinches cayenne pepper
  • 10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • For the Dipping Sauce:
  • 2/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon sambal oelek (chile paste)
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons honey, or more to taste
  • Directions

  • Prep
  • Cook
  • Ready In
    1. Grind peppercorns coarsely using a mortar and pestle, electric grinder, or spice mill.
    2. Chop cilantro finely and transfer to a mixing bowl. Stir in the freshly ground pepper, oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, oil, and cayenne. Add chicken thighs and toss by hand until completely coated. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the fridge for 4 to 12 hours.
    3. Combine rice vinegar, lime juice, garlic, sambal, fish sauce, cilantro, and honey to make the dipping sauce. Refrigerate until ready to use.
    4. Preheat grill for medium- to medium-high heat and lightly oil the grate.
    5. Place chicken thighs on the grill, discarding any excess marinade. Cover and grill until thighs spring back to the touch, 5 to 6 minutes per side. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 155 degrees F (68 degrees C). Slice and serve with the dipping sauce.


    • Chef’s Notes:
    • If you’re part of the 10% of the population for whom cilantro tastes like soap, you can substitute using equal parts basil, parsley, and mint.
    • Some recipes call for garlic in the marinade, and some don’t, but since my dipping sauce was going to be very garlicky, I didn’t add any to mine.
    • Editor’s Note:
    • Nutrition data for this recipe includes the full amount of marinade ingredients. The actual amount of marinade consumed will vary.

    Nutrition Facts

    Per Serving: 221 calories;11.1 g fat;10 g carbohydrates;20.2 g protein;71 mg cholesterol;961 mg sodium.Full nutrition
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