For Thais, no gai yang is complete without dipping sauces, with the clear favourite being this tangy sauce made with toasted rice powder and tamarind juice.






Skill level

Average: 5 (1 vote)


  • 1 whole 2 kg (4 lb 7 oz) chicken
  • 7 coriander (cilantro) roots, scraped clean
  • 3 lemongrass stalks
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
  • 2 red shallots
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) evaporated milk
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 pandan leaves
  • cooked sticky rice, to serve (optional)
  • Papaya salad (recipe here), to serve (optional)

Dipping sauce

  • 1–2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp tamarind concentrate
  • 1 tbsp grated palm sugar
  • 1–2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp toasted rice powder
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp finely sliced spring onion (scallion)
  • coriander (cilantro) leaves, to garnish

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Marinating time: 30 minutes

  1. First, butterfly the chicken. Place it breast-side down on a cutting board and, using a pair of kitchen scissors, cut along both sides of the backbone from the cavity to the neck. Remove the backbone and discard. Turn the chicken breast-side up and press firmly against the breastbone to break the bone and flatten the chicken. Place in a large container or non-reactive bowl and set aside.
  2. Using a food processor, blend the coriander roots, lemongrass, garlic, black peppercorns, shallots and evaporated milk into a fine paste. Add the oyster sauce, soy sauce and salt, stirring to combine. Pour the mixture over the chicken, add the pandan leaves and mix well, making sure that all of the chicken is coated in the marinade. Set aside in the refrigerator to marinate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  3. To make the dipping sauce, combine all of the ingredients except the spring onion and coriander in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Once cool, transfer to a small bowl and garnish with the spring onion and coriander.
  4. Using a charcoal barbecue (grill), cook the chicken over low–medium heat until the internal temperature reaches 70°C (158°F) or the juices run clear (not pink) when a metal skewer is inserted into the thickest part of the thigh. Alternatively, if you don’t have a charcoal barbecue, you can roast the chicken in a preheated 210°C (410°F) oven for 30 minutes, or until the chicken reaches temperature or passes the skewer test.
  5. Serve the gai yang with the dipping sauce, accompanied with sticky rice and/or papaya salad, if desired.



Recipe and images from Bangkok Local by Sareen Rojanametin and Jean Thamthanakorn, Smith Street Books, RRP $39.99