Isan Grilled Chicken

Isan, or Isaan is a northeastern region of Thailand, bordering Laos and Cambodia that has its own style of food. Not that it stems too far away from the main culture, but I find it to be a bit spicier, and commonly the food is eaten with sticky rice (known as khao neow).  This grilled chicken is common in the region and is one that you will really love, whether you grill it (preferred) or bake it until you have crispy skin. I have made variations of this style of chicken over the last 15 years or so, but this one is a bit different as I brined the chicken in advance to make it even more juicy. If you are looking for in introduction into Northern Thai cooking, and one without a ton of spice but packed with tons of flavor.

Isan Grilled Chicken Recipe
Isan Grilled Chicken Recipe

I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs on this particular recipe, but feel free to use a halved chicken, or spatchcock a chicken and go that route, especially for a crispy skin.

Ingredients for the brine:

  • 1 gallon of water
  • 1/2 cup of kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup of white sugar
  • 1 whole chicken, cut into pieces, or 6 boneless and skinless chicken thighs

Ingredients for the Marinade: (if you have a mortar and pestle use it, otherwise your food processor)

  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup of thinly sliced lemongrass
  • 1/2 cup of cilantro, leaves and stems
  • 1/4 tsp MSG, optional
  • 3 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp curry powder, or turmeric
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp canola oil

Start by bringing the salt, sugar and water to a boil. Once the sugar and salts dissolve into the water, remove from the stove and let it cool.

Once the brine is cool, add in the chicken pieces, cover, and let this brine for 4 hours, and up to 24.

Isan Grilled Chicken Ingredients
Isan Grilled Chicken Ingredients

Make the marinade, either by using your food processor which many of you probably have, or go the authentic route and use the mortar and pestle. Make the mixture into a wet paste. Scrape into a sealable jar until the chicken is ready.

When the chicken is ready, remove it from the pot, and rinse and pat dry. Add the chicken pieces to a large sealable plastic bag, and pour in the marinade. Massage the marinade into the chicken and marinate for another 4-24 hours. The longer the better in my opinion.

Before you are wanting to grill, set the chicken out to get some of the chill off of it. I grill over charcoal, but again you can grill over wood, gas, or cook at 400 degrees until you get your internal temperature. My preference is grilling over coal for a more authentic taste.

When you have your grill going, I like to heat one side of the grill with coals and keep a warmer side with no coals. This way I can adjust the heat if things get too hot.

Place the chicken on the grill, near the coals, cover, and adjust the vents. You kind of want to go low and slow with this, slowly cooking the chicken, while any skin will get nice and crisp.

Isan Grilled Chicken Recipe
Isan Grilled Chicken Recipe

As this is cooking, feel free to whip up some dipping sauce that includes fish sauce, lime juice, chili, and a bit of sugar. Also feel free to serve this with jasmine rice, or better yet sticky rice (this is take a bit more planning, but recommended). When the chicken comes to your desired temperature, remove, and serve. Again, I used thighs, so I ended up chopping mine up as my kids love to eat stove like this in the style of larb.

Dig in and enjoy. The flavors are out of this world. A bit smoky from the charcoal, juicy from the brine, and just packed full of awesome flavor from the marinade. This is a great introduction to Northern Thai food, so give this one a try. Hope you enjoy!

Posole Verde or is it Pozole Verde

My wife and I (and my family for that matter) have been on a soup kick since late fall. Soup is so comforting.  We have so many favorites. My wife’s go to soup is probably Chicken Tortilla Soup whereas mine is probably Vietnamese pho, or this (or any type) Mexican Posole Verde. The thing I love about posole is that you can go the red (rojo) route, or go green (verde) and that it is loaded with hominy. I love hominy. This soup is super easy to make, makes a bunch, and is packed full of comfort.

Mexican Posole Verde Recipe
Mexican Posole Verde Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 8 large green tomatillos, husked
  • 2 whole onions, chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 2 whole jalapeno chilies, seeds removed is optional
  • 1 serrano chili, seeds removed is optional
  • 25 oz can of hominy, drained
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 green cabbage, shredded
  • 6 whole radishes, thinly sliced
  • salt to taste
  • cracked black pepper to taste
  • lime, quarted, optional
  • corn tortillas, warmed

Start by adding the chicken to a soup pot. Add the chicken stock, and 1 chopped onion. Next, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. To a baking sheet, add the remaining onion, tomatillos, garlic, jalapeno, and serrano chilies.

Mexican Posole Verde Recipe
Mexican Posole Verde Recipe

Bake for about 30 minutes until everything is well roasted. Add these ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.

Once the chicken is cooked, remove the chicken from the stock. Let it cool until you can shred or chop. Your call on this one.

Pour the chili blend into the soup pot, along with the drained hominy. Return the chicken back to the pot, give a good stir, and cook for about 30 minutes. Taste and season with salt if you desire.

To serve, ladle a nice amount into a bowl and serve alongside warm tortillas, shredded cabbage, radish, and lime. Spoon in some of the sides, taking bites of warm tortillas. Repeat. Now I need to make another batch! I hope you enjoy.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Lately I have been rocking out soups. There is something to be said about a great bowl of soup, and this recipe is one of those. I don’t know about you, but I typically never order soup, or seek out to get soup from any restaurant. I will often times hear my wife say that she had a bowl of soup from work, and I typically never get excited by the sound of that. Not sure why, but it’s true. There is some greatness when it comes to making your own stock, and building aroma and excitement when it comes to homemade. Maybe it’s the smell, or just simply the satisfaction of knowing that you made that pot of soup that you know everyone will be ladling from throughout the day.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

This is my take on chicken soup and one that I probably make about twice a month.

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken, cut into parts
  • water, to cover the chicken
  • 6 carrots, divided
  • 6 ribs of celery, divided
  • 2 onions, divided
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1/2 head of garlic, lightly smashed, skins removed
  • egg noodles, cooked, optional
  • salt to taste
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme, optional

Start by getting a large soup pot on the stove. Add in the chicken, and completely cover with water. This will not only form the base of your stock, but the chicken will be removed later to be added back to finish the soup.

Add in 3 carrots, 3 ribs of celery, 1 onion, garlic, peppercorns, and bay leaf. Bring this to a boil, then reduce the heat, and cook for about 3 hours to build your stock. I often times let it go longer as well, depending on the day. Remove any scum that comes to the top during the cooking process.

After 3 hours, remove the chicken pieces to a plate, and let them cool.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup Ingredients
Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup Ingredients

Strain the stock, or remove any of the remaining vegetables with a large slotted spoon.

Once the chicken is cooled, remove any skin and shred the chicken. Place the chicken back to the soup pot with the stock.

Dice up the remaining carrots, onion, and celery and add to the soup pot. If you are using thyme, add it now. Bring this back to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook for about 45 minutes or until your desire. Season with salt, taste and adjust any seasoning.

When you are ready to serve, add some cooked noodles to a bowl, and ladle in a generous amount of chicken soup. You want to talk about comfort, and something that I could eat every day, well… this is it. Hope you enjoy!

 

Filipino Tinola Halang Halang

Soup season is here. I love it. I might talk about soup two times a week, throwing out ideas, in hopes of making more soup. There is something about it. A bowl of pretty much the basic stuff, but there are always extras laying around to throw into the pot. Me? I’m hot sauce, herbs, chilies, fried garlic or shallots. Heck, sometimes an egg, a little more something, something. Who knows? That’s the great question about soup, and something that I always love.

I mentioned in the past about how much I love Filipino chicken tinola. It is a Pinoy recipe from what I know from my father-in-law, and one of pure comfort. The soup is a take on classic chicken soup in its basic form, but jazzed up a bit. This type of soup is what makes us happy and warms our body.  Coconut milk, Thai chilies, chicken? Ready?

This is (my take) Filipino Tinola Halang Halang.

Filipino Tinola Halang Halang
Filipino Tinola Halang Halang

Let’s get to it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 cup ginger, cleaned and cut into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 1 head garlic, minced
  • 1 whole onion, chopped
  • 1 russet potato, cleaned and cut into bite sized cubes (optional)
  • 1 whole chicken, breasts, legs, wings, and thighs, cut into pieces
  • 4 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 cup of water
  • 15 oz can of coconut milk
  • 8 Thai chilies (preference 2 per bowl)
  • 1 whole lemongrass stalk, top part removed, trim tender bottom part
  • 1 tsp salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 tbsp fish sauce, to taste
  • 1 bunch of spinach, cleaned and roughly chopped
  • jasmine rice, cooked

Start by heating the oil in your large dutch oven, or medium sized soup pot, on medium heat.

Next, add in your onion and ginger and give that a stir, cooking until it slightly begins to softens, about 4 minutes. Next toss in the garlic, and give that a good stir, cooking for about a minute.

Now add in your chicken pieces, moving the onion mixture around so that you are able to brown up some of the chicken skin. Cook the chicken for about 20 minutes, turning halfway through. After 20 minutes, add in the lemongrass, chicken stock, water, coconut milk, salt, pepper, and fish sauce. Add in the potatoes if you will be using them. Give this a good stir.

Filipino Tinola Halang Halang Ingredients
Filipino Tinola Halang Halang Ingredients

Cover, and cook this mixture on medium-low heat for about 30-45 minutes. Lastly add in the bunch of spinach, and Thai chilies, and give another stir. Cook for about 10 more minutes or until the spinach is wilted and cooked through.

Now it is time to serve. Ladle in the soup into your bowl, making sure you get pieces of chicken, potatoes, onion, etc. Garnish with more chilies should you desire or some fried shallots and get ready to dig in.

I like to serve mine with a side bowl of rice. This allows me to spoon some of that wonderful coconut broth and then chase it with some rice. This is everything you will love about Filipino tinola, but one with a twist. I mean you can’t go wrong with coconut milk, chilies, and chicken soup on a cool, Fall day. Hope you enjoy!