I cannot say enough how much I love chicken. It’s relatively cheap and so easy to cook. I think I got a fondness for it from my mum. She always made a great chicken at home, tender, juicy and never ever stringy. So naturally the first thing I wanted to learn was how to replicate my mum’s dish. I had so many problems feeding this to J when we got married! For him it was either pasta or nothing. In my family pasta was something quick – something to prepare when you’re pressed for time, i.e. like homemade fast food (which is nonetheless good for you in moderation). Ironically I consider almost anything that goes in the oven as quick; it does take it’s time to cook, yes, but you don’t need to do anything else with it once it’s in there. Perhaps that’s why I prefer baking to cooking. And no wonder there are many many variations of the following recipe in almost every book I own: it’s quick and so easy that anyone can do it.
It’s also ideal for feeding a big group – all you have to do is to scale it up and prepare some greens and couscous, and you’re ready to go. You could also start cooking the chicken pieces in the oven for 15 minutes in their oven dish, then chuck them individually on the grill for the rest of the cooking time. The amount of marinade I am giving you will be enough for around 6 to 8 chicken pieces. I’m not talking about chicken wings here – legs, thighs or drumsticks are the business here. But be my guest if you like wings, especially for an informal drinks party with friends. I would never tell you what to do! You will need:
- 3 tablespoons (15ml each) dark soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons chilli flakes (or 1 fresh chilli, chopped)
- 2 cubes or crystallized ginger, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon runny honey
- juice and zest of 1 lime
- 1 star anise
- Place your chicken pieces in a dish, preferably using one with a glass lid like those old fashioned Pyrex ones. (If you don’t have one of those, use anyone that you like and use some kitchen foil as a cover.) Gracefully (or not) pour the above ingredients all over the chicken. Mix everything together using the cleanest hands or a spoon, making sure every bit of meat is covered.
- Cover the dish with its lid or cling film and put it in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C/392 F/Gas mark 6 and bake for around 45 minutes. Chicken wings need no more than 20 minutes, so always keep an eye on them.