This Thai BBQ chicken recipe with a turmeric/lemongrass rub and a zesty tamarind sauce also goes by the name Thai Golden Tamarind Barbecue Chicken.
It is slathered in turmeric, smashed lemongrass and freshly crushed black pepper before getting barbecued on the grill. The tantalizing tamarind sauce is where the greatness is with this authentic Thai barbecue recipe.This Thai Barbecue Chicken + Keto & Paleo Diets:
- The tamarind sauce has some carbs from the organic palm sugar, but we DO have a no-carb replacement that consists of stevia. This is what makes it keto and paleo friendly. It’s also a gluten-free recipe.
- The chicken itself does not contain too much fat, more protein, so this dish is 100% Paleo-friendly, but to make it more of a well-rounded keto meal, I usually eat it with a side (a very large side salad) that’s topped with a lot of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and an avocado.
The Charcoal Barbecue Used:
While many nowadays use gas to prepare food, in Thailand the charcoal stove is very alive and well. You’ll see many outdoor eateries that use this and every market throughout Thailand sells these clay BBQ setups for cheap.
I found one on Amazon:
- Great for an authentic presentation of Curries and Soups.
- Can be used to serve Jim Jum, Thai Style.
- 32 oz capacity, serves 1 - 2 people.
- Totally Unglazed and food safe if bought from Ancient Cookware directly.
- Charcoal stove.
And I also saw one available here, from a website called Temple Of Thai. Now onto the barbecue recipe…
Thai BBQ Chicken Recipe Ingredients
The ingredients above are for both:
- the golden rub for the Thai BBQ chicken,
- the tantalizing tamarind sauce.
So now that you know what’s involved, time to barbecue.
Step 1. Prep the chicken then barbecue
What you see below is a lot of turmeric, and a lot of crushed fresh lemongrass.
Step 2. Make The Turmeric Lemongrass Rub
This is the point where you chop and smash the lemongrass and black pepper grounds. You’ll then use turmeric with this mixture of lemongrass and black pepper to lather into the raw chicken. After you’ve covered the chicken, you put it on the grill. Black pepper may help your body absorb the non-water soluble nutrients that turmeric and curcumin possess.
Making The Thai BBQ Rub:
- Smash coriander root and lemongrass together
- Smash black pepper
- Mix these three with turmeric powder, add a pinch or 3 of salt and mix it all together with your hands
- Rub it into the chicken
- Throw it on the grill
You don’t need a mortar and pestle. To tell you the truth, you don’t really need to crush it up that much. Whole pepper grounds would even work. Give the whole pepper grounds a light smash and include some whole grounds in the final grilled chicken rub as well.
This is what the Golden chicken “breading” will look like when you throw it on the grill:
Step 3. Let it grill
Next, let that baby cook. Burn baby burn. Here she is grilling up. High heat and the occasional flips will cook it nicely and keep it moist on this inside.
Keep an eye on it. Don’t let it burn too hot. After about 15 minutes, cut some slits into it to let the juices soak into the chicken. While it’s cooking, make the tamarind sauce.
Step 4. Make Tamarind Sauce
I’m a big fan of cooking fast and cleaning while I cook, so I can enjoy my meal with a peace of mind. So feel free to start cleaning as you cook too. Here’s the setup of the tamarind sauce while the chicken grills:
Are you ready for the tamarind greatness? You will love this sauce. I cannot put it into words how good it is. I once ate so much of it by itself that it singed my tongue – it’s pretty nice and acidic when eaten like candy haha.
The special tamarind sauce for the Thai BBQ chicken:
What you do is you mix the tamarind in water and squeeze out that water into the bowl – then followed with the pieces of the actual tamarind flesh, along with the other ingredients (chili flakes, lemongrass, sesame powder (in lieu of rice powder – both work). You can use any style of tamarind you can find. It can be canned, fresh, or possibly even an extract which I’ve yet to try, but all will work.
We use fresh off the tree when they’re in season, and when not in season we buy fresh tamarind that’s been de-shelled and packed together like the image below. You can buy by the kilo at most shops around here. And I know you can buy it on Amazon or other places online in the states.
Action Steps: Tamarind Sauce
- Chop the shallots
- Chop the parsley and/or culantro (if you only have parsley that’s ok too)
- Mix the chopped shallots and parsley and/or culantro in a bowl with the rest of the tamarind sauce ingredients. Here you have 2 options. Both or fairly low carb and healthy, but one is optimized for optimal health. Here they are:
- Option 1: Mix the chopped shallots and culantro or parsley with the red chili flakes, rice powder, and organic palm sugar.
- Option 2 (Paleo version): Mix the chopped shallots and culantro or parsley with sesame seed powder and stevia tea (not store-bought stevia extract).
And then comes the final touches.
Just put it all together.
Thai BBQ Golden Tamarind Chicken is just one of various delicious Northern Thai ways of grilling chicken.
What makes this one special is the turmeric, lemongrass, and black pepper “breading” and the tantalizing, sweet and spicy tamarind sauce.
There are 2 options for the sauce:
1. Use a small amount of rice powder and organic palm sugar
2. Use a small amount of ground sesame seed powder with stevia water (basically stevia tea) instead of the organic palm sugar.
Both are delicious, although the first method is the authentic Thai way to make the tamarind sauce.
- 355 grams chicken thigh with drumstick
- 35 grams lemongrass fresh stalks
- 9 grams turmeric powder
- 12 grams black pepper freshly crushed
- 4 grams red chili flakes
- 50 grams shallots around 2 medium sized shallots
- 10 grams sesame seed sesame seed powder or gluten-free rice powder
- 5 grams palm sugar for the rub
Smash coriander root and lemongrass together.
Slightly smash whole black pepper grounds.
Mix these all together with turmeric powder. Add a pinch or 3 of salt and keep mixing it all together with your hands. Rub all the goodness into and on top of the chicken. *It should be pretty caked with yellow from the turmeric.
Throw it on the grill. Flip every so often on low heat to keep the juices intact.
Halfway through its cooking, add a few slits in the chicken, cook until finished.
Chop the shallots. Chop the parsley and/or culantro (if you only have parsley that’s ok too).
Mix the chopped shallots and parsley and/or culantro in a bowl with the rest of the tamarind sauce ingredients. Here you have 2 options. Both or fairly low carb and healthy, but one is optimized for optimal health. Here they are:
Option 1: Mix the chopped shallots and culantro or parsley with the red chili flakes,**rice powder, and organic palm sugar.
Option 2 (optimal health/just as tasty): Mix the chopped shallots and culantro or parsley with**sesame seed powder and stevia water (not store-bought stevia extract).
This is what the final result of the tamarind sauce for the thai bbq chicken looks like.
Keto diet considerations: Shared between 2 people, this makes for decent keto diet or Paleo diet meal. It's lower carb if you use stevia instead of organic palm sugar, or omit the palm sugar altogether.
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