Sun-grilled chicken ‘more tender, evenly-cooked’
PHETCHABURI: Not many chefs don a welding mask before they enter the kitchen, but Sila Sutharat prefers to cook his chicken sunny side up.
The 60-year-old roadside vendor has found an ingenious way to offer his customers something a little different by harnessing the power of the sun.
Using a large wall of nearly 1,000 moveable mirrors — a device he designed and built himself — he focuses the sun’s rays onto a row of marinated chickens, sizzling away under the intense heat.
His unusual culinary methods raised a few eyebrows when he first hit upon the idea.
“They said that I’d gone mad, that cooking chicken like this was impossible,” he said next to his stall, the row of sun-drenched chickens behind him too bright to look at for any length of time.
“After awhile, they said: ‘Actually, you could do it’.”
That’s because the solar reflector generates intense heat, easily enough to match an oven, with a sunshine-baked chicken taking just 12 minutes to cook through.
For much of the last 20 years, Sila grilled in relative obscurity for a fairly local crowd.
But, after videos of his solarcooker went viral, people from across Thailand have flocked to his stall here.
Sila said the idea came to him in 1997 when he was struck by the heat reflecting off a passing bus.
“I thought, with this heat reflecting from the window from the sun, I could possibly change it into energy.”
He said compared with a traditional charcoal grill, which he used before his solar epiphany, his meat was more tender and