Top | Marinades, Rubs, Brines, Cures, and Glazes

Basic Southeast Asian Marinade

(recipe, Jim Tarantino)

primary-image, l


Whether you marinate vegetables for a stir-fry, shrimp for the grill, or chicken breasts for the broiler, this versatile marinade is a catalog of Southeast Asian flavors. It’s a play on shelf staples and fresh aromatics. The Asian fish sauce (nam pla), basil, and mint are typically Vietnamese; the sweet soy sauce is a Malaysian staple. Ginger, garlic, shallots, and lemongrass are traditional Asian essentials that give this soak added depth. For vegetables, shrimp, chicken breasts, turkey breasts, or pork tenderloin, marinate for 3 to 4 hours. For beef kabobs, lamb rack, or lamb rib chops, marinate 4 to 6 hours.


  1. 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  2. 3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  3. 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh lemongrass
  4. 2 Tbsp. peeled and grated fresh ginger
  5. 3 shallots, chopped (about ¼ cup)
  6. 3 Tbsp. Asian fish sauce (nam pla)
  7. 1 Tbsp. kecap manis
  8. ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  9. 2 to 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint
  10. 1 tsp. ground coriander
  11. ½ cup Asian rice-wine vinegar
  12. ¼ cup Asian or domestic cold-pressed peanut oil


  1. Lightly coat a nonreactive saucepan pan with the oil over medium heat. Sauté the garlic, lemongrass, ginger, and shallots for 5 to 10 minutes, until soft. Cool to room temperature.
  2. Combine the cooled mixture with the fish sauce, kecap manis, basil, mint, coriander, and vinegar in a blender or a food processor and process until all the ingredients are well blended. While the motor is running, drizzle in the oil a little at a time.
  3. The marinade will keep in a clean, airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days.


For quick marinating, cut chicken into 1-inch pieces and marinate for 30 minutes to 1 hour. This can do double duty as a baste, but bring it to a boil for 3 minutes before brushing onto food.