Thai Coriander Chicken

This Dish Will Awaken Your Grill, Grill Pan, or Air Fryer

Most cooks employ only two parts of cilantro [aka coriander]—the seeds and the leaves. I’ll bet you did not know there is a third; the roots! In northern Thailand this dish is street food currency. Pair it with their famed hot and sweet sauce and you will begin a new chapter in chicken cookery.

Cilantro roots are often hard to purchase, they are trimmed away for a nicer display. I use the stems instead with equal success. That’s not to say you can ask your store to preserve the roots.

The Thai hot and sweet sauce could easily be bottled and sold and used on almost any dish that lacks oomph! I spoon it onto rice bowls, veggies, and other grilled meats


  • chicken pieces – 6, skin on, bone-in [dark meat is preferred]
  • Marinade
    • cilantro stems – 3 TBS, or roots, finely minced
    • salt – 1/4 tsp
    • peppercorns – 2 tsp, ground
    • garlic – 6 cloves, finely chopped
    • Thai fish sauce 7 tsp
  • Hot and Sweet Sauce


  1. Make the marinade by using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder and combine the stems, salt, peppercorns, and garlic to form a paste
  2. Add the fish sauce to form a marinade
  3. Use a sharp paring knife and poke deep holes every inch or so into the chicken pieces and place them in a zipper top bag along with the marinade
  4. Massage the marinade into the chicken and refrigerate for 6-8 hours [or 1 hour if needed]
  5. Preheat the grill, grill pan, or air fryer and wipe off most of the marinade
  6. Grill or fry until there are char marks and cooked to 165º

Serve with sauce at the table

This chicken is usually served with sticky rice, a specialty rice, which is soaked for 8 hours and then steamed; the results are a rice to pick up with their fingers then wrap a piece of chicken about it and then down the hatch.

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