Thai Grilled Chicken with Cilantro

2 jalapeƱo peppers, seeds and ribs removed
4 cloves garlic, 2 smashed, 2 minced
1/2 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves and stems, plus 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce (nam pla or nuoc mam)
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/3 pounds in all)
6 tablespoons rice-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes
1 1/2 tablespoons water

Light the grill or heat the broiler. In a blender or food processor, puree the jalapeƱos, smashed garlic cloves, the 1/2 cup cilantro leaves and stems, the fish sauce, cooking oil, sesame oil, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Put the chicken in a shallow dish and coat it with the cilantro puree.

Grill the chicken over moderately high heat or broil it for 5 minutes. Turn and cook until just done, about 5 minutes longer.

Meanwhile, in a small stainless-steel saucepan, bring the vinegar, sugar, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt to a simmer, stirring. Simmer for 2 minutes. Pour the liquid into a small glass or stainless-steel bowl and let cool. Add the minced garlic, the 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, the red-pepper flakes, and water. Serve each chicken breast with a small bowl of the dipping sauce alongside.

NOTES Asian fish sauce is available at Asian markets and many supermarkets.

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