Little-known, but very worthwhile, Lao cuisine is absolutely packed with flavours that make for incredible marinades. This BBQ chook is served with a spicy tomato dipping sauce.






Skill level

Average: 3.2 (21 votes)


  • 6 chicken thigh cutlets
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, pale part only, finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ cup finely chopped coriander roots and stems, leaves reserved
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1½ tbsp sugar
  • 1 lime, plus extra lime wedges to serve
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 125 ml (½ cup) vegetable oil

Tomato jaew som

  • 3 bird’s eye chillies (or 1 large red chilli)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 5 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 limes (or 1 lemon), juice
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • ¼ cup finely shredded coriander leaves

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.


Serves 4 as part of a shared meal

Marinating time: 2 hours

  1. To prepare the chicken, cut down either side of the bone to loosen the meat from the bone on one side, but don’t remove the bone. Flatten out the meat and put 1–2 cuts into the muscle. Combine all the remaining ingredients except the oil in a large bowl. Add the chicken, toss to combine, then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours but preferably overnight.
  2. Preheat a grill to very hot. Drizzle the chicken with a little oil and add the chicken pieces, skin side-down. Cook for 5 minutes, then turn and cook for a further 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from the heat and rest for 5 minutes before serving.
  3. Meanwhile, for the jaew som dipping sauce, place the chillies and garlic in a mortar and pound with the pestle to a coarse paste. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle you can finely chop the ingredients. Add the tomatoes, lime juice, sugar and fish sauce and crush with the pestle until the tomatoes release their juices and the sugar is dissolved. Stir through the coriander. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking. Serve the chicken with the reserved coriander leaves, lime wedges and the tomato jaew som for dipping.


Adam Liaw cooks, laughs, and explores culture with some of Australia's most beloved in The Cook Up With Adam Liaw.

Photography by Adam Liaw.