Fish sauce roast chicken

Fish sauce roast chicken

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If you’re a bit tired of the same old roast chicken, the sticky Thai flavours in this version will be a welcome change.

Even if you don’t like fish sauce, don’t be deterred – all that’s left of that fishy, pungent taste after roasting is a thick, caramelised glaze that’s full of flavour.

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1.75kg free-range chicken
  • 1 red onion, peeled and chopped into eighths


  • 1⁄3 cup (80ml) fish sauce
  • 1 whole coriander plant (i.e. everything attached to a single root), root, stems and leaves roughly chopped, some leaves reserved for garnish
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 3 bird’s-eye chillies, thinly sliced
  • Juice of ½ lemon


Heat the oven to 180°C (fan-forced). Mix together the marinade ingredients, stirring well to dissolve the sugar.

Set aside while you prepare the chicken.

Rinse the chicken under running water and pat it dry inside and out with kitchen paper. With kitchen scissors or a heavy knife, cut down either side of the backbone and remove the backbone completely. Remove the wishbone if you like, as this will make carving the breast easier when the chicken is cooked. Press down on the breast of the chicken to flatten it. (Instead of discarding the backbone, if you prefer, chop it into large pieces and place the pieces in the roasting tray to add more flavour to the pan juices.)

Work your fingers under the skin of the breast and thighs of the chicken and spoon the marinade both under and over the skin, as well as on the underside of the chicken.

Place the onion pieces in a roasting tray and lay the chicken, skin-side up, on top of the onion.

Roast for 45 minutes, basting every 15 minutes. Remove the chicken when the skin is dark and caramelised (it will be darker than a normal roast chicken from the caramelised sugars in the marinade) and the meat is only just cooked through. Rest the chicken in a warm, draught-free place for at least 10 minutes.

While the chicken is resting, pour the juices from the pan into a jug, leaving the onions in the tray. Skim off any liquid fat, then return to the roasting pan with the onions and place the pan over medium heat. Stir the pan juices and the onions, scraping off any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Spoon the sauce and onions over the chicken, scatter with the reserved coriander leaves, and serve.

Recipe from celeb chef Adam Liaw. 

Photo credit: Asian After Work, published by Hachette Australia; SBS Destination Flavour Japan.

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