Friday, June 28, 2019

Ping Gai Chicken - Laotian "Grilled Chicken Chicken"

I believe this ping gai chicken is the first Laotian recipe we’ve ever posted on the blog, but based on how incredibly delicious this was, it won’t be the last! Having said that, based on my several minutes of exhaustive research, this particular recipe seems to have originated from the Queen Mother Cafe in Toronto, so I’m not sure how much North Americanization has occurred, but it’s only a matter of time before someone lets me know.

Besides all the freshly ground black pepper, the other key element here is the equally generous amount of chopped cilantro, which unfortunately not everyone is able to enjoy. For roughly 10% of the population, the herb tastes like soap, so below I’m going to provide you with a substitute herb blend that will get you pretty close.

You can use this same marinade with chicken breasts, but I really think the darker, richer meat makes for a much better match with the herbaceous, black pepper flavor profile. By the way, 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. As usual, suit yourself, but either way I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 4 Large Portions Ping Gai Chicken:
2 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 10)
For the marinade:
1 to 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns, freshly and coarsely ground
1 very large bunch fresh cilantro, stems and leaves (about 1 cup packed)
note: instead of cilantro, you can use equal parts basil, parsley, and mint
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

For the dipping sauce:
2/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar
juice from 1 lime
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Asian chili paste or sauce
1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro
2 to 3 tablespoons honey, or to taste


tblackshaw said...

Our barbecue is broken - is pan frying acceptable?

Ojay said...

Oh this is simple and brilliant. It is morning but I'm heading to my butcher to grab some birds for this. I know what's for lunch today. Thank you.

Chef, my food wish is goat meat. Never seen you use the ingredient and this is one of the most abundant meats in my neck of the woods.

Dave said...

I always appreciate you listing alternatives to cilantro!

Joanne Rake said...

Thanks a zillion for giving an alternative herbal mix to folks like me who think cilantro tastes like soap. And I'm not talking, just a little background hint of a soap=like flavor, I'm talking like someone grated a bar of Ivory Soap over your food and it is impossible to smile and consume it for the sake of being a good guest or restaurant patron. Push, shove food around during dinner and declare you are full or whatever excuse you can manage, but you simply cannot eat that bar of soap.

Hope you continue to provide alternate herb mixes in your recipes.

Unknown said...

Marinating as we speak! And so is the chicken! Cant wait to try it, even though the Mrs wrinkled her nose at the mention of fish sauce.

Jnettum said...

Hey, I have all the ingredients. Making this tomorrow.

TT said...

I made this today. OMG. I urge everyone to try this as soon as humanly possible. Two modifications: I used cilantro and mint because I didn’t have enough cilantro, and I used a mixture of tamarind and Chinese black vinegar to approximate oyster sauce (it’s sort of close). I’m a huge fan of all the black pepper in this. I will be seeking out more recipes that call for extreme amounts of cracked black peppercorns. I also want to try this marinade on lamb, with the mint/cilantro mix.

Unknown said...

Made this tonight. It was really good. I went with 1 tbsp pepper and it was perfect imo, though I can see some people wanting to kick it up a bit.

Eric L. Barnett, LVN said...

Made this tonight. Wish I could post a pic. It was a change from my standard Asian marinade which relies on more soy sauce and ginger. Still, I used boneless chicken leg parts and the results were very good, but not necessarily mind blowing. It's a good recipe for when you are lacking a bunch of more flavorful ingredients, and cilantro is cheap. Would make again in a pinch. Overall not a bad recipe.

Mike said...

Made the chicken and dipping sauce
Risks and it was delicious!
Thanks Chef John

Mike fun Vancouver BC

Rasin said...

just made this last night. wow. soooooo goood. this is gonna be a go to in the future.

chef, my food wish is Beef Lok Lak, Cambodian beef, it is amazing if you have never had it but i cant find a good recipe

Tim said...

All that oyster and fish sauce, my crew found it a little too funky. It was ok but rusty chicken remains you piece de la resistance. Recently purchased a Teflon matrix non stick mat for BBQ’s, sticking marinades is now a thing of the past, does exactly what it says on the tin. If you want one and can’t find it online drop me a note and I’ll forward a link.
Also when it comes to chilli sauce have you tried Harrisa, I think it maybe North African. Has the heat and a ton of other flavours which compliment. You gotta try it, it’s the bomb as the chilli ingredient in rusty chicken. But then again you are the boss of you’re own chilli sauce.
Love your stuff John.

Tim said...

With the oyster and fish sauces my crew found this to be a tad funky, ok but Rusty Chicken remains your piece de la resistance. Recently purchased one of these teflon matrix grill mats for BBQ’s. Sensational, sticking marinades are a thing of the past, does exactly what it says on the tin. If you want one and can’t find it on line gimme a shout and I’ll send a link.
Have you tried Harissa chilli paste/sauce, I think it’s North African, chilli with a lot of other flavours that compliment. As the chilli ingredient in Rusty Chicken it’s superb. But of course you are the boss of you’re own chilli sauce.
John, love your stuff

NoUseForAName said...

Coriander? Cayenne? Both not on the ingredients list but are in the video.

Amy Pablo said...

I just tried this last night, and it was fantastic! The chicken was so savory and flavorful on its own, it didn't even need the accompanying sauce. Had it with the smashed cucumber salad, which was a perfect combination of flavors. Will definitely be making it again.

how do I always use so many bowls? said...

This was so good! I only marinated it for like 30-45 minutes on the counter and didn't even chop up the cilantro as well as I should have, but the flavor's worked amazingly well together. I substituted fish sauce for worcestershire sauce, since I think they're both made from anchovies. We may add more aromaitics like lemeongrass or ginger and see if that adds anything. Thanks Chef John!

Unknown said...

Served this for my 4th of July BBQ. Used a combo of skinless boneless thighs and chicken tenders. The tenders actually came out very juicy. Some people liked them better than the thighs. Will definitely make this again!

A. Lemons said...

Did this tonight, and it is nothing short of AMAZING. Thanks again for another great recipe.

Unknown said...

This was a super easy recipe to do, came out incredible - super flavorful and unique. Thanks Chef John.

Mark said...

Made this as shown and the only flavor that came through on the chicken was the black pepper. Having said that, when dipped in the sauce, the combination was great!

Derek Newman said...

I made this tonight for a party of seven, so I made almost twice of everything. So delicious. I mixed the dipping sauce into my rice and it was just the right amount of sweet and sour. I have been a long time viewer but this it the first recipe I've actually made. I look forward to trying more of your creations.

Unknown said...

Rice Ah Roni is the perfect compliment to this chicken chicken!

Unknown said...

Nice meeting you today and welcome to the neighborhood! I'm with you on fish sauce (Red Boat 0r Three Crabs). This recipe is great, I'll make it tomorrow. I watched your clotted cream and strawberry jam vids, now a fan. Just so you know, I have a prolific quince tree which is a great source of serious pectin. So, if you run out of apples (which is hard to do around here) let me know. Jocelyn, your new neighbor.

Shim Farm said...

Made this last night and it was stupendous! Definitely going into the summer grilling rotation. Served with Cilantro Lime Basmati pilaf and stir-fried veggies. The dipping sauce is a winner too! Thanks CJ.

Unknown said...

Chef John it's crazy that you mentioned cilantro tasting like soap to 10% of the popopulation because I've never been a fan and that is EXACTLY what it tastes like to me, but when Ive told that to other people in the past, they think idk what I'm talking about lol thank you for everything!