|5 tablespoons||Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce (nam pla or nuoc mam)|
|¼ cup||Light brown sugar|
|¼ cup||Canned, unsweetened coconut milk|
|2½||Tbsfresh lime juice|
|2 tablespoons||Five-spice powder|
|2 tablespoons||Soy sauce|
|1 tablespoon||Crushed dried Asian chilis (about 8 small)|
|1 tablespoon||Plus 1 tsp curry powder|
|3 pounds||Chickens, quartered, rinsed, patted dry|
|8||Leaves of butter lettuce (Boston, Bibb, etc)|
|2 mediums||Tomatoes, quartered|
|2 mediums||Cucumbers, sliced 1/4 inch thick|
|½||Red onion, sliced and separated into strips|
|Amerasian Dipping Sauce (separate recipe)|
Servings: 8 Notes: This Asian-influenced dish is from Philipe La Mancusa, the chef at Embarko in San Francisco. He serves the chicken with fried plantains, rice and Singha beer from Thailand. The chicken must marinate for one to two days before grilling.
DIRECTIONS: In a small bowl, mix the fish sauce, brown sugar, coconut milk, lime juice, five-spice powder, soy sauce, crushed chiles and curry powder. Set aside for at least 2 hours.
Stir the marinade well. Place the chicken in a glass baking dish and coat thoroughly with the marinade. Transfer the chicken to 2 large, heavy Ziploc plastic bags. Pour in any extra marinade. Press out any air and zip the bags to close. Set aside to marinate at room temperature for 2 hours, then refrigerate for at least 24 hours or up to 2 days, turning the bags occasionally.
Light the grill. Cut the chicken wings off at the second joint or fasten the wing tips to the rib cages with metal skewers. The fire is ready when you can hold your hand 7 inches above the coals for at least 4 seconds. Grill the chicken, bony sides down, for 1½ minutes, then turn and grill for 1 ½ minutes to seal in the juices.
Turn the chicken again and grill for about 6 minutes, until the surface meat is firm. Turn and grill for 6 minutes longer. If the fire is too hot, the skin will char, so watch carefully and turn the chicken if necessary. Grill the chicken, turning occasionally, for 17 to 25 minutes longer. It is done as soon as the meat is white throughout and the juices run clear when the meat is deeply pierced.
Alternatively, preheat the broiler. Broil the chicken for about 35 minutes, beginning skin-side up and turning every 10 minutes.
Serve the chicken on plates or a platter, garnished with the lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and red onion. Serve each person ¼ cup of the dipping sauce in small dishes.
Source: Food & Wine magazine, 07/90