Fast Recipes

Pounded chicken with jaew

Jaew, a Thai dipping sauce made for barbecued meat, is the perfect marriage of sweet, sour and spice.

By Lisa Featherby
  • 15 mins preparation
  • 5 mins cooking
  • Serves 4
  • Print
Jaew is a sweet-spicy sauce from Thailand's Isaan region made to accompany barbecued meats. It usually includes ground roasted sticky rice, but we've left this out to keep it simple. If you'd like to include it, buy the rice ground and roasted from Asian grocers or dry-fry sticky rice yourself in a wok until it's golden and fragrant before grinding it; add a large pinch or two when you combine the ingredients.


  • 2 large chicken breast fillets, each thinly sliced diagonally into 3-4 pieces
  • 1 lemongrass stalk (white part only), coarsely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
  • 1 coriander root, cleaned
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp light soy sauce
  • Grapeseed oil, for brushing
  • Sliced cucumber, coriander, lime wedges and steamed rice (optional), to serve
  • 15 gm (about 8) dried long red chillies
  • 80 ml (1⁄3 cup) lime juice (from about 4 limes), or to taste
  • 60 ml (1⁄4 cup) fish sauce, or to taste
  • 1 tsp caster sugar, or to taste
  • 1 small spring onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp coarsely chopped coriander leaves


  • 1
    For jaew, dry-roast chillies in a wok over low heat until toasted and smoky (3-4 minutes; see note). Process in a blender until finely ground (30-40 seconds), then transfer to a bowl and combine with lime juice, fish sauce and sugar. Adjust to taste with lime juice, fish sauce and sugar, then stir in spring onion and coriander.
  • 2
    Pound chicken between two sheets of baking paper to 5mm thick and transfer to a bowl. Pound lemongrass, garlic and coriander root to a paste with a mortar and pestle. Add fish and soy sauces, and toss with chicken to coat. (If you have time, marinate the chicken in the refrigerator up to a day.)
  • 3
    Heat a barbecue or char-grill pan to high heat. Brush chicken with oil and grill until just cooked through (11⁄2-2 minutes each side) and serve with cucumber, coriander, lime wedges, jaew and steamed rice.


Roasted chilli flakes are also available from Thai grocers.
Drink Suggestion: Zesty off-dry riesling. Drink suggestion by Max Allen

  • undefined: Lisa Featherby