Christmas is always the festival that I look forward to. The feeling of being home, surrounded by people who you love and love you, playing games where everyone is involved, drinking a lot of tea, a nice big christmas meal, cheese with fruits, and whisky of course... The list is too long to mention. However one dish that everyone thinks of on Christmas is that nice and juicy turkey, marinated just for Christmas. Oh my, just think to it, it makes me want Christmas to be tomorrow.
But this year, I'm spending Christmas by myself. This year is quite funny, I'm at my home country. But I have more than one home. Because being family is not only by blood but importance in my life way back across the world in Glasgow. They are my family too. So I was thinking what I can do this Christmas since I don't have lot of things that could make a Christmas meal. But that doesn't stop me. And yay!! There was a way to marinate and bake chicken in Thai way that I know. This is just perfect, I can combine my two feelings of home, Thailand and Scotland, this christmas. And I would love to share this with whoever at all wants to make your turkey special this year. Let Christmas be herby this year. So let's start with things you will need for marinating: Thai herbs and spice.
Recipe to marinate
The video taken at the little farm house stay, Nakhonsawan, the place that you could living Thai authentic life.
First clean up the turkey or chicken that you got and let it dry up from the water. While you are waiting for the turkey/chicken to dry, prepare the marinade. You can use a mortar and pestle or blender to crush the following ingredients; red onion, garlic, black pepper, lemongrass and pandanus. Just remember to make them coarse. It doesn't be fine! Pour the liquid ingredients in to the turkey/chicken bowl. Follow with salt and those herbs and spices that have been crushed. Mix everything together nice and well. Rub it in the turkey/chicken. Stuff the rest inside. Then you let it sit in the refrigerator for 3-6 hrs. The longer it is in the refrigerator the juicier and herbier it will get.
(If you could find coriander root that would be completely Thai. Only 2-3 roots. Clean it up real nice and crush it with those ingredients above. The reason that I didn't put it on the recipe and on the video is that I had a difficult time getting coriander's root back in UK stores. So I don't want to put pressure here. It could be cooked without it. Don't worry if you can't get it.)
Baking in a Thai traditional way
You will need these following equipment;
Safety note: Find open space. While burning rice straw, you should stand upwind. Get a bucket of water just in case.
First you should clean up the metal box and the metal box should be bigger than the turkey/chicken that you will be baking. At the place that you will be baking, dig up soil big enough to place your plate in and deep enough so your turkey/chicken won't touch the top of the metal box. Fill up your glass bottle with water (my father's recipe, he fills the bottle with Thai vodka). Place the glass bottle on the plate. Then place the turkey/chicken on the glass bottle. Cover it up with the metal box. Make sure there is no open space between the metal box and the ground, so your turkey/chicken will bake evenly and ashes will not get in. For rice straw you only need as much as can cover the metal box. What you do with the rice straw, pick it up like two hands full then twice it in a line. Then line it up around the metal box. Up rice straw on to of each other until it cover the whole metal box. And light it up. Wait until finish burning. Then open it nicely to check if your turkey/chicken is cooked. If not do the same, line the rice up and light it. That it's. Or if you have an oven in your house, that will do too. Set the same temperature and time as you bake your turkey/chicken. Ummm, yum, yum.
I have seen my father cooking with this recipe since I can remember. And it was often cooked in the rice harvest season (twice a year). After everyone in the village helped harvesting rice, there was rice straw left over. And to celebrate the hard work, they used simple ingredients that they could find around and create a delicious meal. I hope you enjoy reading and cooking this recipe. Merry Christmas everyone xx