Ook Gai, or braised chicken Chiang Mai-style, captures the simplicity and earthy flavors of rustic Thai cooking.  The citrus notes, coupled with subtle spice, go especially well when served with fragrant jasmine rice.  This is sure to warm you up, both body and soul.


  • 5 dried long red Thai peppers (or 8 to 10 dried Thai chiles)
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped lemongrass (or ½ tablespoon lemongrass powder)
  • 2 (1/2 inch) slices galangal (or ½ tablespoon ground dried galangal)
  • 1 teaspoon cleaned, crushed, and minced cilantro root (or 1 whole sprig cilantro, chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped shallots
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh turmeric (or 1 teaspoon turmeric powder)
  • 2 tablespoons shrimp paste
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 whole chicken, cut into 8 bone-in pieces
  • 1 quart Thai Chicken Stock
  • Steamed jasmine rice
  • Chopped cilantro, culantro, bamboo mint, or scallions


  1. Place the dried chiles in a bowl and add warm water to cover.  Leave to soften for about 15 minutes.  Remove the chiles from the water and squeeze out excess water.
  2. Using a mortar and pestle, mash the chiles with a generous pinch of salt.  Add the lemongrass, galangal, cilantro root, and coriander seeds and continue mashing until a paste starts to form. Add the shallots, garlic, turmeric, and shrimp paste and mash into a smooth paste, about 10 minutes.  Alternatively, process ingredients in a food processor for 3 to 5 minutes, until smooth and blended.
  3. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add the chicken, being careful not to splash the oil, and brown on both sides, about four minutes per side.  Reduce the heat to medium.  Stir in the paste to coat the chicken and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes to give it some color.  Add the stock, cover, and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat to maintain a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes, then uncover and continue to simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes more.
  4. Serve family-style over steamed jasmine rice with chopped cilantro, culantro, bamboo mint and/or scallions.

Inspired by: Hong Thaimee, “True Thai, Real Flavors for Every Table”

February 06, 2017

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