Recipe: Chiang Mai Chicken

Personal Notes

  • This is a ridiculously delicious chicken dish that I dream about if I’ve gone more than 10 days in summer without eating it.
  • If this is your first experience cooking with fish sauce don’t be scared off by the pungent smell. It’s one of the secrets of this recipe. Trust me.
  • The recipe below is for an oven. I usually grill the chicken. If you know how to grill you’ll figure it out.
  • I also like to serve this dish with sticky white rice (or Sushi Rice). Drizzle some of the dipping sauce onto the rice and you’ll never be the same (in a good way).
  • It’s also perfect with riced cauliflower for my fellow low-carbers.

(Adapted from Christopher Kimball’s recipe in the May-June 2017 issue of Milk Street Magazine to which I subscribe and encourage you to do the same)

Serves 4

Marinade Ingredients:

  • 1 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • ½ cup fish sauce
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 lemon grass stalks, ends trimmed, bottom 8 inches chopped
    (or buy lemongrass paste at most grocery stores and use 2 Tbsp)
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon white peppercorns

Other ingredients

  • Approximately 3 pounds chicken parts (whatever your favorites are)
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 cup white sticky rice (or sushi rice – available at most grocery stores). Follow package directions to cook.
  • Lime wedges, to serve (optional)


1. Put all of the marinade ingredients (the cilantro through the white peppercorns) in a blender and blend until smooth, about 1 minute.

2. Reserve 1/4 cup of the marinade for a glaze.

3. Pour the rest of the marinade in a 1-gallon zip-close bag. Put the chicken in the bag skin-side down and spread it out as best as you can. Seal the bag and let the chicken marinate for 2 hours, flipping the bag over a couple of times. (Important: Marinating longer than 2 hours will not improve the taste. It actually adversely effects the texture of the chicken).

4. Preheat the oven to 400° and put the oven rack in the center of the oven.

5. Line a large sheet pan with foil. Spread 1 cup of kosher salt over the foil. Place a wire rack over the salt. (The salt prevents the marinade from burning when it drips off of the chicken. Skip this if grilling.)

6. Put the chicken on the rack. Roast for 30 minutes.

7. Brush the chicken with the reserved marinade and roast for another 10 – 15 minutes, or until the thighs measure 175°F (160°F for breasts).

8. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes and then serve with rice, lime wedges and Chili-Lime Dipping Sauce.

Chili-Lime Dipping Sauce

  • ½ cup lime juice (4 – 6 limes)
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons chili-garlic sauce

Stir all ingredients together until the sugar dissolves. Keeps refrigerated for up to 3 days.

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