This recipe is great for a crowd, as it can be prepared ahead of time.
- 1 whole chicken, butterflied
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp minced lemongrass
- 2 chillies, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp tamarind concentrate
- 2 tbsp fresh lime or lemon juice
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- Lettuce leaves, to serve
1. To butterfly chicken, lay it ona chopping board, breast-side down. Using kitchen scissors, cut down both sides of the backbone to remove it. Turn it over so that the skin side is facing up and use the heel of your hand to firmly push down to flatten it. Trim any excess fat.
2. Make a paste by putting the garlic, lemongrass, chillies, sugar and salt in a mortar and pestle, or food processor, and grind to a paste. Add the tamarind, lime or lemon juice, fish sauce and sesame oil.
3. Using a sharp knife, make deep slashes in the flesh of the drums and breast meat, to assist with the cooking and flavour penetration. Then use a spatula or your hands (be careful though because chilli can sting) to smother the chicken with the paste, working it into the cuts. Put the chicken in a well-greased roasting dish. At this stage you can either cook immediately or leave to marinate overnight – I never have time, so it’s usually about 15 minutes maximum in my kitchen!
4. Preheat oven grill to hot. Splash a lick of oil over the chicken and place under a hot grill until the chicken begins to blacken in some places, about 10 minutes. Cover with foil and bake at 220°C for 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.
5. Chop the chicken roughly and wrap in lettuce leaves. Serve with a dipping sauce of your choice.