Oxbow Farm & Conservation Center

Gai Yang

Thanks to chef Wiley Frank of Little Uncle for sharing this delicious recipe! If you don’t have cilantro root available you can use finely chopped cilantro stem with similar effect.


  • 1 whole chicken, 2 ½ -3 lb
  • 2 T black peppercorns
  • 1/4 C cilantro root, scraped clean, sliced thin
  • 1/4 C garlic cloves
  • 2 T palm sugar
  • 1/2 C Thai light soy sauce (use less if using a Japanese style soy sauce)
  • 1/2 C lager beer (or whatever is in the fridge, or even some whiskey is fine)

  • Make the marinade:
    In a mortar and pestle, smash peppercorns, then cilantro root, then garlic to form a paste. Smoosh in palm sugar. Add the soy sauce and smoosh around to dissolve the sugar. Mix in beer.

    Prep the chicken:
    Split the chicken down the keel (aka breast bone). We call this a reverse spatchcock. Flatten the chicken out so the skin is on one side. The backbone will be the axis of symmetry.

    Pour the marinade over the chicken and rub in all the chunky bits on both sides of the chicken. Leave the chicken, skin side down coated in the marinade in a refrigerator overnight.

    Cook:
    Over medium-low coals, or in a 350 degree F oven on a roasting rack, begin to slowly cook the chicken. Reserve the marinade to brush onto both sides of the chicken every 5-10 minutes until the marinade is used up. Flip the chicken occasionally so both sides get mahogany in color. Continue cooking the chicken in this manner until done, around 45 minutes to an hour. Technically a thermometer in the thigh would read 165 degrees F.

    Serve:
    Hack the chicken up into pieces and serve with your favorite spicy sauce, sticky rice and some veggie som tam (Thai green papaya salad) made with awesome cucumbers, beans or whatever else is ready from Oxbow Farm!