Cilantro Root Recipes; Thai Grilled Chicken

Supo Techagumthorn

Some love it. Others hate it. Few are in between. Introducing, the most polarizing plant of all: the cilantro. While its leaves have taken up most of the limelight, the plant’s aromatic roots have been almost forgotten by the culinary world.

Not anymore.

We’re here to share some delicious cilantro root recipes that will be irresistible to even those who detest cilantro. This is partly thanks to the fact that we will be cooking up the best cuisine in the world, which is, of course, Thai cuisine.

I might be a little biased, since my family owns the Chili Basil Thai Grill. We have operated this small, but mighty, restaurant for the past five years and have differentiated ourselves from other Thai restaurants by offering dishes made from high quality ingredients—such as sirloin beef, wild sockeye salmon, organic salad greens—even though we’re located in a strip mall.

Although we try to use authentic ingredients for our dishes, some are impossible to find in the Seattle area; fresh cilantro roots were unfortunately one of these ingredients. Unfortunate because the cilantro root is one of three key ingredients that provides the base for many Thai dishes. According to the Thai culinary rule of thumb, the trio that comprises this fundamental paste is garlic, cilantro root, and white pepper. With the unbelievable number of Thai restaurants in the Seattle area, it’s surprising that even the Asian supermarkets don’t carry fresh cilantro with the roots attached. Fortunately, we were able to connect with our friends at the UW Farm to source our cilantro roots. Don’t worry, a little cilantro root goes a long way, so we won’t be ordering the UW Farm’s entire supply. This means there will be plenty left for you to pick up from the Farm—unless the volunteers decide to use it all up first. Because who can resist these recipes?

Thai Grilled Chicken – Serves 4

  • 1 lb chicken thigh meat* (cut about 2×2”, about 7-8 pieces)
  • 3 minced cilantro** roots (about 1 1/2 tablespoon)
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon thin soy sauce***
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

*We prefer chicken thigh meat because it’s more moist, but you may substitute it with chicken breast meat, if prefered.

**Also commonly known as coriander

***Found in most grocery stores. Can be substituted with regular soy sauce.

  1. Combine all the ingredients and marinate the chicken thigh meat overnight
  2. Grill the chicken meat over medium coals for 5-7 minutes on each side until they are cooked through.
  3. Traditionally served with steamed sticky rice

Stay tuned: We will be releasing the recipe for a Classic Thai Soup, once the weather turns a bit cooler.