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Laotian Grilled Chicken (Ping Gai)

Laotian Grilled Chicken, known as Ping Gai (also spelled Ping Kai or Ping Gai), is a popular dish in Laos and Northeastern Thailand (Isan region). This dish is celebrated for its flavorful marinade and the smoky, juicy chicken that results from grilling over an open flame.

Laotian Grilled Chicken (Ping Gai)


• Chicken Thighs: 6-8 pieces, bone-in, skin-on
• Garlic: 4 cloves, minced
• Shallots: 2, finely chopped
• Lemongrass: 2 stalks, finely chopped
• Cilantro Stems: 1/4 cup, finely chopped
• Fish Sauce: 3 tablespoons
• Soy Sauce: 2 tablespoons
• Oyster Sauce: 1 tablespoon
• Lime Juice: 2 tablespoons
• Brown Sugar: 1 tablespoon
• Black Pepper: 1 teaspoon
• Vegetable Oil: 2 tablespoons


1. Prepare the Marinade:
◦ In a large mixing bowl, combine minced garlic, chopped shallots, finely chopped lemongrass, and chopped cilantro stems.
◦ Add the fish sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, black pepper, and vegetable oil to the bowl.
◦ Mix well until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.
2. Marinate the Chicken:
◦ Add the chicken thighs to the bowl with the marinade, ensuring each piece is well coated.
◦ Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight, to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat.
3. Prepare the Grill:
◦ Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. If using a charcoal grill, ensure the coals are hot and have an even heat distribution.
4. Grill the Chicken:
◦ Remove the chicken from the marinade, letting any excess drip off.
◦ Place the chicken thighs on the grill, skin side down.
◦ Grill for about 6-8 minutes per side, or until the chicken is cooked through and has a nice char. The internal temperature should reach 165°F (74°C).
5. Serve:
◦ Remove the chicken from the grill and let it rest for a few minutes.
◦ Serve with sticky rice and a side of fresh vegetables or a simple salad.


• Accompany the Ping Gai with a tangy dipping sauce made from lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, and sliced chili peppers.
• For an authentic experience, pair with sticky rice and a Laotian papaya salad (Som Tum).

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