Thu May 24, 2007
I eat at Thai a lot, since two of my favorites (Thai Pavilion and Arharn Thai) are in Astoria, and every year they have a contest to win free tickets to Thailand. Each year I enter over and over, but for reasons that are beyond me, I never seem to win. Well, winner selection just passed, and guess what, I'm just as big of a loser this year as in the past. I guess I just have to settle on bringing Thailand to me, so I grilled up some tasty Thai chicken breasts with a sweet, sour, and spicy dipping sauce...so many flavors in one!
Making the wet rub for this chicken is a lot of fun. All of the ingredients have their own wonderful smell that gets my mouth watering. First I started with the cilantro, followed by juicing 4 limes. Then the garlic really gets things going, and the ginger is just the icing on the cake, not to mention grinding the pepper and coriander. By the time I was done making the rub, it was hard to wait to start the grill and get these cooking (I actually had to sneak in a little snack, but nothing could really satisfy until I had the flavors of the chicken on my tongue).
After starting to grill them, I became a little discouraged as I watched the rub slowly drip off as I waited for the skin to brown. Each drip, and subsequent flair up, seemed like a beautiful pocket of flavor gone to waste. I found comfort in the fact that I actually put most of the rub under the skin, and all of that was still safely stored away for later consumption. A good thing about chicken breasts on the grill is that they don't take very long to cook, which is great for this recipe, since I couldn't wait to eat after making that rub. It only took about 20 min to get them to 160 degrees, and that happened the second the gf got home from work. I love it when a plan comes together.
The flavors of the rub stayed in well during grilling, but it's the combination of that with the dipping sauce that really make these awesome. I love spicy, sweet, and sour, and I see no problem combining them all to make a super sauce, which is what this is. I actually made it the night before, because it needs the time to really bring out the spicy side from the pepper flakes. The gf got one breast, I made myself two, but if I had made a couple more, I could have kept eating these all night. I'll still try for my free tickets to Thailand for next year, but until then, this will do very nicely.
Thai Grilled Chicken Breasts with Spicy, Sweet, and Sour Dipping Sauce
From The Cook's Illustrated Guide To Grilling And Barbecue
Chicken and Brine
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup table salt
2 quarts water
2 whole chicken breasts, bone in, skin-on, split to make 4 halves
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1/2 cup juice from 4 limes
2 tablespoons fish sauce
3 small cloves garlic, minced
2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup juice from 4 limes
12 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
2 tablespoons ground coriander
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
To make the brine dissolve the salt and sugar in 2 quarts of cold water in a large container. Submerge the chicken in the brine, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towels.
Whisk together all ingredients of the dipping sauce until the sugar dissolves. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld.
Combine all the rub ingredients in a small bowl and work with yours fingers to thoroughly combine. Carefully run your finger between the skin and meat of the chicken, taking care not to detach the skin. Rub 2 tablespoons of the mixture under the skin. Apply the remaining rub all over the chicken breasts.
Light 1 chimney full of charcoal, and when lit and covered in gray ash, dump and arrange on one side of the grill. Place chicken skin side down and grill until browned, about 3 minutes. Flip the chicken and brown on other side. Move the chicken breasts to the cool side of the grill and cover. Cook until the thickest part of the breast registers 160 degrees, about 10 - 15 minutes longer. Remove the chicken from the grill and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Serve with dipping sauce.