Recipe By Chef John
Published Jul 13th
Prep 20m Cook 10m Additional 4h Ready In 4h 30m
Servings 10 chicken thighs Calories 221

This particular ping gai (Laotian for ‘grilled chicken’) recipe seems to have originated from the Queen Mother Cafe in Toronto, so some North-Americanization may have occurred. But rest assured, this is at least twice as good as your average grilled chicken, North American or otherwise. Generous amounts of freshly ground pepper and chopped cilantro are the main players in the marinade, while a sweet, garlicky dipping sauce is the perfect accompaniment.

Recipe Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns, or more to taste
  • 1 large bunch fresh cilantro stems and leaves
  • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 pinches cayenne pepper
  • 10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • ⅓ cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon sambal oelek (chile paste)
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • ¼ cup freshly chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons honey, or more to taste

Cooking Directions

  1. 1 Grind peppercorns coarsely using a mortar and pestle, electric grinder, or spice mill.
  2. 2 Chop cilantro finely and transfer to a mixing bowl. Stir in the freshly ground pepper, oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, oil, and cayenne. Add chicken thighs and toss by hand until completely coated. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the fridge for 4 to 12 hours.
  3. 3 Combine rice vinegar, lime juice, garlic, sambal, fish sauce, cilantro, and honey to make the dipping sauce. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. 4 Preheat grill for medium- to medium-high heat and lightly oil the grate.
  5. 5 Place chicken thighs on the grill, discarding any excess marinade. Cover and grill until thighs spring back to the touch, 5 to 6 minutes per side. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 155 degrees F (68 degrees C). Slice and serve with the dipping sauce.

Nutrition Facts

  • Calories 221
  • Carbohydrate 10 g
  • Cholesterol 71 mg
  • Fat 11.1 g
  • Fiber 0.6 g
  • Protein 20.2 g
  • Saturated Fat 2.8 g
  • Sodium 961.3 mg
  • Sugar 7.6 g

Chef's Notes

If you're part of the 10% of the population for whom cilantro tastes like soap, you can substitute using equal parts basil, parsley, and mint; Some recipes call for garlic in the marinade, and some don't, but since my dipping sauce was going to be very garlicky, I didn't add any to mine; Nutrition data for this recipe includes the full amount of marinade ingredients. The actual amount of marinade consumed will vary.


  1. Loved it!
  2. Loved this! Thank you!
  3. Some of the best chicken we've made! Added some lime juice to the chicken marinade. I've also made this with bone-in skin-on chicken thighs which are also incredibly juicy. 8 min on grill skin side down, then move off heat and cook at 350 degrees until 165 internal temp. Amazing!
  4. Amazing dish, delicious & so easy to make! Definitely a keeper.
  5. Excellent recipe. We followed it precisely. I have a problem with people not giving five stars to a recipe yet saying they changed it. You need to give the original recipe a chance.
  6. I just finished making this dish as a birthday present to myself. If I were to make it again I would slice the thighs thinly to cook better using a frying pan or use chicken breasts instead and do the same. The thighs looked nice in the package but when I pulled them out I - Read more ...
  7. I didn't make any change other than marinating it overnight so I could have it ready to put on the grill after work. I thought it was good without the sauce, but then tried the sauce and it was amazing. Definitely, one that we will make again. The sauce would also be good for fresh - Read more ...
  8. And yet another 5-star dish from Chef John. His recipes never disappoint. This was absolutely delicious and the dipping sauce, just divine. I marinated the chicken overnight. Followed the recipe to the letter. Will definitely make this again....and again...and again. Thank you!
  9. Turned out great. Typically we do not test new recipes on company....they loved this chicken. The dipping sauce (strangely enough) has a flavor profile similar to a vinaigrette.
  10. Made this twice so far since the video aired, my new go to chicken thigh recipe! I use the full 2 tbsp of black peppercorns, it adds a nice punch. Definitely will look into other Laotian recipes now!

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