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Southern Thai-style grilled chicken

Andy Oliver

A simple, brightly flavoured southern Thai barbecue dish from the co-founder of Kolae

Recipe Meta


15 mins + marinating


Up to 1½ hours






  • 1 small spatchcocked chicken, 4 chicken legs or 8 boneless chicken thighs (skin on)
  • 20 black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • 8g fresh turmeric root (or ⅓ tsp powdered turmeric)
  • 8g coriander root or stalks
  • 35g peeled garlic cloves
  • 25g palm sugar
  • 40ml good quality fish sauce


Using a pestle and mortar, pound the dry spices until fine, then add the coriander root, garlic and turmeric and keep bashing until they form a paste. Add the palm sugar and pound until soft, then pour in the fish sauce, mixing until well combined.

Rub the marinade all over your chicken and leave for at least 1 hour (ideally overnight, especially if using a whole bird).

Cooking times will vary according to which cut of meat you’re using. The important thing to remember when barbecuing chicken Thai style is to grill long and slow over a low to medium heat. Look for nice even colour, rather than black bar marks or heavy char. Boneless chicken thighs should take 15-20 mins and a whole chicken can take up to 1½ hours.

When fully cooked, chop the chicken with a knife or cleaver and serve with a spicy dip or a salad such as som tam (green papaya salad) and either jasmine or sticky rice.

Images: Anton Rodriguez