Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Crispy Asian chicken thighs

This is my Mum's recipe, so you know it's going to be good. Alongside the lovely English classics such as cottage pies and Sunday roasts, my wonderful Ma has a magnificent repertoire of Asian recipes. 

Having lived in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong, my family are lucky enough to have been exposed at a young age to the flavours of the Orient, meaning that recipes such as this are a regular occurrence at home (thank goodness because it's mind-bogglingly delicious). Not bragging or anything, but Mumma Beare knows her way round an Asian kitchen.

This recipe produces some gloriously tender chicken, crispy skin and a sauce that will blow your mind (and be perfect for drizzling over your exquisitely cooked rice). And that's all I have to say about that.


Quantities: Serves 4

Timings: 35 - 40 mins (not including marinating time)

Kitchen Stuff: Roasting pan, wok (or big frying pan)


Crispy chicken:

1.2kg skin on chicken thighs (8 thighs)
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp Chinese wine (or dry sherry, at a push use 1 tsp white wine vinegar)
1 tbsp honey
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2cm fresh ginger, grated
1 red chilis, finely chopped (can use dried)

Rice & Veg:

250g basmati rice (NOT quick cook)
3 carrots, roughly chopped
1 broccoli head, cut into smallish florets.
1 red pepper, roughly chopped
3-4 tbsp soy sauce
2 cm ginger, finely chopped
3 shallots, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 red chili, finely chopped


1. MARINATE: Trim your chicken thighs of all extra fat and skin. Turn them skin side down and open up all the skin and fat. Using a sharp knife, slice off any skin that extends beyond the chicken meat. You will be left with neat thighs with skin just covering the top of the thigh.

In a large bowl, mix all the marinade ingredients together (light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, Chinese wine, honey, crushed garlic, grated ginger, red chili) and add your chicken thighs. Massage the marinade onto the thighs and cover with cling film. Pop in the fridge for 1 hour - overnight if you fancy. The longer you marinade, the more the soy sauce will tenderise and flavour your chicken for more delicious thighs (and everyone wants delicious thighs).

2. COOK CHICKEN: Preheat your oven to 200°C. When you're ready to cook your chicken, remove from the fridge at least half an hour before you put it in the oven to allow the chicken to get back to room temperature. Preheat your oven. 

Transfer your chicken thighs to a roasting dish with high sides. It's best to use a smaller dish so your thighs fit snugly together. This means the sauce will keep the skin tender and they won't dry out, but will leave enough of the skin showing to crisp up.

Put the chicken in the oven for 30 minutes, until the skin is dark and crispy and juices in the thigh run clear when prodded with a skewer.

3. RICE: Whilst your chicken is cooking, put your rice on. For wonderfully fluffy rice, follow this method:
- Wash your rice 2 -3 times.
- Choose a small/medium pan where the rice comes up to the first knuckle on your index finger. Add cold water until it reaches your second knuckle.
- Put the rice on a high heat for 12 minutes, or until all the water has just been absorbed from the pan and there are holes in the top of the rice. 
- Turn the heat to very low, cover the rice with a lid and cook for a further 7 minutes. Remove from the heat (without removing the lid) and set aside for another 5 - 10 minutes. Test the rice with a fork. Fluffylicious.

4. VEG: Heat some vegetable oil in a wok. Stir fry the shallots, garlic, ginger for 2-3 minutes until just tender. Add the pepper and the carrots with 2 - 3 tbsp light soy sauce and fry for a further 2-3 minutes. Add the broccoli florets with a splosh of water and a touch more soy sauce. Toss until the broccoli is wet and put a lid on for 3 minutes. Test vegetable crunchiness (all should have a slight bite but not too al dente) and cook for a couple more minutes if necessary. Turn the heat off and keep the lid on until ready. 

5. SERVE: Serve everyone a bed of rice with chicken thighs, stir fried veg and heaps of delicious marinade sauce to soak into the rice. Wonderful.