Bangkok Garlic and Black Pepper Chicken

October 3, 2011

John uses no more than five spices per recipe in the low in fat, but tasty meals that can be made any night. Gregory-Smith has written recipes and spice features for magazines and websites including Bacardi, Men's Health, and

More information about Mighty Spice Cookbook and John Gregory-Smith can be found on the website: Gregory-Smith's TV pilot can be found on and the extended version is on

Bangkok Garlic and Black Pepper Chicken

Serves 4

  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 8 garlic cloves, very roughly sliced
  • 1 pound 2 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into very thin strips
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • a pinch of sugar
  • juice of 1 lime

I love to find food inspiration everywhere I go, and I would love to say that I first tried this stir-fry sitting on a mon khwon (Thai triangle cushion) on the beach watching the sun set over the Gulf of Thailand, or huddled at a tiny plastic table at the famous Chatuchak market. Sadly not: I ate this in the sterile surroundings of a food hall in a huge Bangkok shopping mall. But no matter -- this is still an incredible dish. Don't be scared about the crazy-seeming amount of garlic; cooking it first mellows the flavor so you're left with something that's sweet, sticky and not too pungent.

1. Heat a wok over high heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot, stir-fry the garlic 20 to 30 seconds until just turning golden, then remove with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels. Watch the garlic carefully while it's cooking—if it starts to change color quickly, remove the wok from the heat immediately so the garlic doesn't burn. You want the garlic to be golden on the outside and tender and sweet inside.

2. Pour off half the oil from the wok and reheat the remainder over high heat. Add the chicken and stir-fry 3 to 4 minutes until it is golden, cooked through and tender. 3 Add the black pepper, fish sauce, sugar, lime juice and cooked garlic. Mix everything together and serve immediately.

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