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Khao nee-o and gai yang

One of my favourite meals in Thailand is khao neeo and gai yang, or sticky rice and barbecued chicken. Served with Thai sweet chili sauce of course! Of course in Thailand I get to eat this with its traditional accompaniment, a fiery green papaya salad or somdum. I can’t get green papaya here, so focus simply on barbecuing the chicken, and steaming the sticky (glutinous) rice. We have a lazy version of this quite often – a hot chicken from the supermarket, and superfast, cheats sticky rice (soaked for 40 minutes, and cooked in the microwave). but increasingly these days, I can readily find fresh coriander with roots still attached at the supermarket. So I bother to scrape the roots and marinate the chicken (with garlic and turmeric and some other things), and soak the glutinous rice overnight then steam it for 45 minutes. To replace the green papaya salad, I make a yum yai (big salad) with a peanut and coriander root/garlic/lime juice dressing that is absolutely … well … yum! It’s a treat, and always a delight, transporting us back to the beaches of Thailand, the gentle breezes, the waves lapping the shore, and the swaying palm trees. And especially appropriate on a warm summer evening like tonight.


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