All over Thailand, especially in urban areas, street-food stalls are everywhere, their sights and smells delightfully overwhelming. Chicken offerings are abundant, varied, and almost universally Mad Delicious. Four condiments are showcased at restaurants and makeshift street-side dining areas: white sugar (sweet), Thai chiles in vinegar (sour-piquant), fish sauce (salty-savory), and intensely flavorful crushed dry chile (depth-heat). In this recipe, the dipping sauce that accompanies honors the Thai condiment caddy. And the marinade on this chicken is deeply savory, welcoming generous amounts of the sauce. Eat your veggies, too, with your fingers. We left them raw.
Fire up a charcoal grill to low heat, creating a slow, even bed of coals.
MAKE THE MARINADE
Place the cilantro roots (or cilantro and parsley stems) in a large zip-top plastic bag. Seal the bag. Use the side of a rolling pin to bruise.
Add the sugar, the white pepper, the fish sauce, the oyster sauce, and the garlic to the bag and combine. Add the chicken thighs. Massage until well incorporated.
Seal and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Remove chicken from bag; discard marinade.
SKEWER THE CHICKEN
Using flat and long stainless steel skewers, thread the chicken thighs so that they resemble a flat, Middle Eastern-style kebab.
Using cooking spray, spray a clean grill rag and wipe down the grates of the grill very well. Use long tongs if proximity to fire makes you uncomfortable.
Place the chicken skewers on the hot grill.
Grill for 15 minutes, assuming the heat is between 275° and 300° and controlled; otherwise, you'll find yourself turning more frequently.
Flip and grill for another 15 minutes, or until you can easily pull off a piece of cooked chicken as if it has been slow-cooked.
Remove the chicken to a platter, and let rest 10 minutes.
Slide the thighs off of the skewers and onto the platter, arranging them to one side of the platter.
On the other side of the platter, in rows, line up the carrots, cucumbers, cilantro, and lime wedges. Serve with the Dipping Sauce.
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Wow! This is the greatest chicken and the dipping sauce is fantastic! I used a habanero pepper (and only used a small amount) because I couldn't find a thai bird chile. I also used cabbage slaw and cucumbers. The chicken would be great with regular salad greens as a thai chicken salad, though.
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