My Goals and Discoveries
Fatty, collagen-rich chicken thighs cook up juicier and more tender than white meat and can stay on the grill longer to pick up flavorful charring without drying out.
Maximum surface area
Cutting the chicken into wide strips (instead of chunks) and stretching them between two skewers offers more surface area for coating with the paste and for charring.
Deeply fragrant paste
Lemongrass, ginger, and galangal, plus garlic, shallots, spices, and a touch of sugar make for a complex paste that develops savory character when charred. Briefly microwaving the paste deactivates the enzyme in ginger that makes meat mushy.
Savory, bright sauce
Browning the paste that's used for the sauce softens the aromatics' raw edge and fibrous texture and develops savory depth. Simmering it with ground peanuts, water, tamarind, and sugar creates a subtle sweet-tangy undertone.