This is an easy to prepare marinade that really is best made in a mortar and pestle, but can be easily done (actually way more easily done) in a food processor. The amount here is good for about 4 pounds of chicken and I strongly suggest you use chicken thighs and pan fry them. For me they are the tastiest part of the chicken not to mention way more economical than breast. The thighs I got were boneless and skin-less – I wasn’t looking for them that way and if you can only find skin on bone in ones – don’t despair! Instead of frying them, roast them at 425 F for about 40 minutes or a little less depending on when they are done.
Marinade Thai Style
Add 1/2 cup unflavored oil like Sunflower, grape seed or peanut (if peanut make sure you use organic ditto canola) to a heavy skillet over medium high heat. When the oil is hot add a 10 scallions that have been flattened by the side of a knife and cut roughly into 3 pieces – keeping most of the green park in tact. Fry for about 3-5 minutes, when the greens start to brown remove the pan from the heat and let cool with the scallions until it is room temperature.
The instructions are the same here with one exception regardless of if you use a mortar and pestle or a food processor. If you use a FP use roughly ground black pepper – if you use a mortar and pestle use whole peppercorns.
Add 2 teaspoons of Black Peppercorns and crush them until all the peppercorns have been smashed – they will still be fairly large and rough. Add 6 cilantro roots with a little bit of stem attached (Asian grocery stores usually sell cilantro with the roots as it is used in many spice pastes in Asian cuisines), 2 heaping tablespoons of peeled and roughly chopped ginger, 6 small Asian Shallots (or 4 of the big Western kind) peel and roughly chopped and 12 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed. Work until the mixture is broken down (see picture below):If you are having so much fun with your mortar and pestle you want to keep at it – go for it! I, however had, had enough! Of course in the food processor you will get a much finer and smoother end product. I like the rustic aspect of doing it by hand and though some would argue that the taste will be different, I find it hard to believe.
Add to the spice paste 1/4 cup of soy sauce (I prefer usukuchi light soy sauce) and mix until incorporated.Place your chicken (which has been rinsed, cleaned and dried) in a large baking dish and massage the marinade over all of it. Then sieve the scallions from the oil made earlier (reserving the scallions) and further work the chicken so the marinade and oil have reached a harmonious state 😉 let sit for an hour at room temperature.
When ready to cook heat a big heavy skillet over high heat until pan is very hot then as quickly as possible add the chicken making sure to use a lot of the oily marinade. Season your chicken – sprinkling a teaspoon or so on each side. Cook until crisp on the outside and nicely browned. A fork should be able to cut into a piece of the meat with ease.
Although i have not tried this with fish something tells me it would be delicious with Monk Fish or other meaty fish – maybe even Tuna? Let me know what you think.
Oh and one last thing, some people remove marinade before they cook whatever it is you were marinading, it seems a waste to me to throw out all that yummy goodness. Not to mention a pain to have to clean it all off, but its personal and if you feel it’s going to be too strong or affect the cooking or aesthetics in some way – go for it.
This chicken goes great with Spicy Isan Dipping sauce.