mama saechao’s chili lime chicken

mama saechao's chili lime chicken

If we were to talk about the best culinary region in my opinion, I would have to say South East Asia.  Nowhere have I really seen an area that utilized and married so many great flavors.  I mean, where else do you see spicy, sour, salty, and sweet all in one plate?  Sometimes there’s even a subtle hint of bitterness that rounds out the whole dish to make it taste better then awesome.  Yeah, I said it – better!  I’m always happy eating Thai, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Filipino, it’s all good.  But one region I had never really perused was lu Mien cooking.  But, leave it to my roommate to teach me something about it.

Now, some history of the lu Mien folks – because, let’s be real.  Most of you don’t even know what I am talking about.  I mean, you can pretend if you want to.  Go ahead; check a map/atlas/globe/google map for the lu Mien region.  I dare ya…nay…I challenge you.  Or, I can just tell you now.  You aren’t going to find it, mainly because the Mien people are refugees originating from Southern China.  They made their way to Laos and settled there for a while.  Unfortunately because of the Vietnam War, they where forced again into refugee camps set up in Thailand.  Eventually many refugees came to the US.  You can see a lot of the displacement of the community just looking at the recipe below.

My roommate’s parents and cousin came to visit her for the holidays this past December.  There is something about parents, no matter if they are your own or others, that bring comfort and excitement.  I think part of it came from the fact that my roommate’s mom cooked a feast for us.  Every day, every meal.  It was amazing.  I have to give her mad props for the Christmas meal that she made for us.  150 pork egg rolls, stir fried vegetables, and this amazing chicken dish.  I really wanted to post the egg roll dish, but the mere craft and patience that her mom held requires way too much time to post and some secrets are best left to the family.  Makes it more special.

This dish is really simple, easy, but has amazing layers and complex flavors.  Tangy, spicy, savory, moist – I know, moist is not a taste.  It’s pretty succulent.  The one ingredient that might be hard to get, or easy if you have access to a Thai or Asian store nearby, is Fried Chili Paste.  The one that my roommate’s mom got us is in a plastic jar with a pink top.  The paste comes from Thailand and is steeped in thick oil.  It’s made with fried chili and shallots.  It’s really delicious.  You can substitute it with Sambal Olek, Siracha, or chili paste with a sprinkling of fried shallots.  I’m going to warn you now; it’s probably not going to taste the same.  This dish is awesome, moist, and tasty.  I guarantee you that your taste buds are going to be confused.  A little bit of tang from the lime, salt from the fish sauce, sweet from the soy, and spice from the chili paste.  It’s a ménage a trios plus one.


4 lb chicken, broken down

2 tsp fried chili paste

2 tbs soy sauce

1 tbs oyster sauce

1 tsp fish sauce

1 tbs limejuice

1 tsp ginger, grated


mix everything in a large bowl and marinate for at least an hour

heat oven to 415˚

roast chicken in a roasting pan for 15 minutes

baste chicken with juices and roast for 7 more minutes

remove wings and drumsticks to prevent over cooking and finish the rest of the chicken for 5 minutes, or until juices run clear

-serves 6-


4 Responses to “mama saechao’s chili lime chicken”

  1. 1 Brenda
    February 2, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    First so jealous that you got to eat all that when Mama Saechao came to visit. Second gotta love Mien food and I didn’t try to look it up cause I know all about that hey you can’t have a mein best friend and not be schooled. and I want some egg roles now cause those hands down are the best and I always ask myself when Nancy is gonna learn to make them on her own so she can make them for us!

  2. 3 Kahean
    February 5, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    if i just wanna make chicken wings, will the temperature and time be different?

    • 4 scott
      February 7, 2010 at 10:31 pm

      K: The temperature and time will be around the same. Just flip the wings halfway through to make sure both sides get brown. Comment back with the results and how it tasted!

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