I learned this recipe/flavor profile while attempting to replicate Thai barbecued chicken I’d had at a local (now defunct) restaurant. I think it was one of the first times I had stumbled across Leela’s blog. This will give a punchy herbal sweetness with peppery undertones to whatever you’re cooking, be it bone-in skin-on chicken or pork chops.
I never make this with exact measurements and often add other flavorants such as lemongrass and ginger root for additional oomph. Traditionally this would be made with cilantro root, but its stems are used here instead. The turmeric is optional, but I think it adds a nice sweet earthy note and a great color; you could use Madras curry powder in its place if you want more complexity.
- Stems and leftover leaves from 1 bunch of cilantro, washed well and sliced finely
- 3-5 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
- (1 small shallot, cleaned and chopped)
- 1 tbsp. white and/or black peppercorns, coarsely ground
- 3 tbsp. fish sauce
- 3 tbsp. brown sugar
- (1 tbsp. ground turmeric)
- (1 tbsp. brandy)
- 2 tbsp. neutral-tasting vegetable oil
Generally, the idea is to make a flavorful paste; the fine details of how you arrive there aren’t that important in the grand scheme of things. I’ve assembled this using both my hands/knives and my food processor, and both methods give tasty results; although there is something very satisfying about using a mortar and pestle to pound the garlic and peppercorns into just the right consistencies.
The next step is to slather it on your desired edible, let it chill out for a few hours, and then cook. Grilling, roasting, and stir-frying are the best cooking methods, in that order. Due to the high sugar content of this marinade, you will get significant browning (and if unmonitored, burning); be sure to account for this.
For the full monty, serve with sweet chile dipping sauce and shrimp fried rice.