Thai Grilled Chicken: The Heroine Upstaged by Her Sidekick

Thai Grilled Chicken by
When people think of Thai cuisine, images of coconut-based curries, warm herbal soups, and stir-fried noodles are often the first to pop up in their minds. Meanwhile, balking indomitably from a place of neglect is a vast repertoire of grilled chicken traditions from every region of Thailand. It is noteworthy that Thai sweet chili sauce, arguably the most famous Thai condiment the world over, is known to the Thai people as “nam jim kai” (น้ำจิ้มไก่) literally, “dipping sauce (for) chicken” with no other formal name.

This points to one thing: the sauce’s raison d’être is to accompany grilled chicken. The fact that the sidekick’s international fame has surpassed that of the heroine adds insult to her injury and puzzles the local observers.

Thai Grilled Chicken

I feel compelled to be an advocate for our prima donna’s right to be heard by introducing her as one of the most glorious and underrated parts of Thai cuisine (which is true, in my opinion). This is a post announcing a series of Thai grilled chicken recipes. In the next several days, please tune in to see grilled chicken and more grilled chicken, plus a little bit more of grilled chicken with a side of grilled chicken punctuated by grilled chicken with possible detours to either grilled chicken or grilled chicken.

In the meantime, if you would like to make the turmeric grilled chicken which you see on this post, here is the recipe. The dipping sauce recipe can also be found here.

16 Responses to Thai Grilled Chicken: The Heroine Upstaged by Her Sidekick

  1. Sue/the view from great island May 24, 2013 at 8:27 pm #

    Love love love this! Your chili sauce looks completely different from the one I make, I’m definitely trying yours this week. Great shots of the grilled chicken, too.

  2. Andy May 24, 2013 at 8:46 pm #

    It’s funny that sweet chill sauce is wholly associated with chicken, especially on the english translated labels where is it called sweet chilli sauce for chicken. I often thought it confusing and wondered where the sheet chili sauce for other meats could be purchased!

  3. Pey-Lih May 25, 2013 at 12:13 pm #

    You crack me up….with a side of grilled chicken and grilled chicken….or you sure that’s enough grilled chicken? 😀

  4. Spikygreengobbermonster May 26, 2013 at 2:13 am #

    I love cooking this just as much as eating it.Just watching it sizzle and char and smelling those smoky plumes is amazing.Definitely a subject worth going in to more detail on.Looking forward to this!

  5. R. Saunders May 26, 2013 at 6:13 pm #


    I think some people who are not familiar with Thai cuisine might get confused with the jaew sauce in the top picture with the nam jim gai, especially if they don’t look at the links.

    By the way, I love your older blog post on the grilled chicken, which I hadn’t read before.

    What a great way to start off the Summer season!

    • Leela May 26, 2013 at 7:14 pm #

      R Saunders – True, true. Thank you.

  6. Juan May 28, 2013 at 8:39 am #

    Read the post this morning+a visit to the supermarket+too much fresh rooted coriander at the garden= would try it tonight!!!

  7. Phil May 28, 2013 at 11:19 am #

    My finger nails are still a little stained from the turmeric, absolutely wonderful recipes and bog! The grilled chicken was one of the few recipes I have made that got a spontaneous resounding approval from my kids with out a prompting of “how was it?”
    Loved the Jaew dipping sauce also.

  8. Teresa May 29, 2013 at 2:10 pm #

    I come back to your website again and again for many things, but especiually the grilled chicken so I am DELIGHTED to be seeing a buck more grilled chicken posts!!

  9. Ken from SAN / BKK June 22, 2013 at 2:34 am #

    I think I need to go back to Bangkok ! … been there 11 times …. why not make it 12 !

  10. Al July 8, 2013 at 6:53 pm #

    Well, the turmeric grilled chicken with the dried chili dipping sauce where incredible! (Eating leftovers as I type and getting turmeric yellow all over my ipad). I just have one question. Are the dried chili flakes I get at Costco acceptable to use or should I make my own from birds eye chilis?

    • Leela July 10, 2013 at 3:39 am #

      Al – Either one is fine. Bird’s eye chilies would be more fragrant, but also hotter.


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