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Garlic and pepper chicken (gai pad gratiem prik Thai) is a popular dish. If you like garlic, how could you go wrong? We make this dish with tender bits of bite sized pieces of chicken that cook quickly in a hot pan, along with lots of freshly smashed garlic, a little bit of fish sauce, healthy amount of white pepper, and a few kaffir lime leaves for citrus tang. Top everything with a sprinkle of cilantro leaves and you have a simple and flavorful Thai chicken you can add over a bed of sticky rice, pasta, or all on its own.
Two delectable and optional additions to this recipe are kaffir lime leaves, which balance out the heat with a bit of delicious citrus tang, and green peppercorns. For a mild, added peppery taste, stir a handful of dried peppercorns into your pan as you’re sautéing the garlic and chicken, or—if you can find it—add a sprig of fresh to your plate when serving. Not only does it make the dish pop with contrast and beauty, it adds a bit of mild heat to your tongue in between bites of tasty chicken.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Lay out shelled peanuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes (or until golden brown). Remove from heat and allow to cool completely before handling. Use a mortar and pestle to crush the peanuts and then set aside for your garnish.
Chop the shallots and set aside for later.
Rinse the chicken and then pat it dry with paper towels. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
Smash the garlic lightly with the side of a knife.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a pan until very hot. Add the shallots to the heated oil. Sauté until the shallots turn a crispy golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to remove the fried shallots to a paper towel lined plate. Set aside for garnish.
Add another 1 – 2 tablespoons oil to the pan and stir in the green peppercorns (if using) and garlic. Sauté until the garlic is lightly browned (about 1 – 2 minutes).
Add the chicken and stir until the chicken is cooked (about 3 – 5 minutes). Add small amounts of water (1 – 2 tablespoon at a time) to keep the chicken and peppercorns moist.
Add the palm sugar, fish sauce, white pepper and optional kaffir lime leaves. Stir in a little bit more water to ensure proper mixture of the ingredients.
Spoon the mixture onto plates or serve it over rice.
Garnish your garlic and pepper chicken with the fried shallots and crushed, roasted peanuts. For the perfect finish to your delectable meal, you can graze on a sprig of fresh green peppercorns.