honey-ginger chicken thighs


These chicken thighs are sweet and savory at the same time. It has the earthy notes of ginger with the tang of garlic, caressed with honey. The accompaniments are pan-roasted baby bok choy sprinkled with balsamic vinaigrette, purple rice salad, and a light fruit salad of pineapple, pomelo (a cousin of the grapefruit, very mild-tasting, not sour), cucumber, and pomegranate sprinkled on top, all drizzled with mayongchid syrup I had made when mayongchid was in season. But a lightly sweet fruit salad dressing will do too. 

Honey-Ginger Chicken Thighs
Marinating time: at least 12 hours
Cooking time: 40 minutes

1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
4 tablespoons garlic (8-10 large cloves), minced
4 tablespoons ginger, peeled and grated
2 teaspoons nam pla (Thai fish sauce)
Salt and Pepper to taste
4-6 chicken thighs with the bone in, trimmed of excess fat

In a small saucepan, heat the honey, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and nam pla until just simmering. Remove from heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.

In a large casserole dish, put the chicken thighs in a single layer, skin side down. Pour the sauce over the chicken, move the chicken around to get the sauce underneath it, and cover the dish. Refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat the oven to 350˚F/175˚C. Transfer the chicken thighs, skin side down, to a 10 or 12 inch oven-ready pan with a lid. Cover the pan with the lid. If the pan doesn’t have a lid, cover the pan with aluminum foil. Place the covered pan in the hot oven and bake 20 minutes.

Remove the lid and increase the oven temperature to 375˚F/190˚C. Turn the chicken so that the skin side is up. Bake an additional 20 minutes, turning the pan around half way through the baking time, until the chicken is golden brown and reaches an internal temperature of 165˚F on an instant read thermometer. Remove the pan from the oven. The pan drippings will be very sweet and strong and not really suitable for a gravy.

If you wish, make a pan sauce. In a 10 inch skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Off the heat and stir in 2-3 tablespoons flour to make a thick slurry. Add 1 cup water and heat until thickened. Add a quarter cup of the drippings from the chicken pan. Taste and adjust seasoning. Aim for it to taste sweet and savory. For some zest,  chop up a small chili pepper and add it to the sauce.

oven-roasted tandoori chicken drumsticks with cilantro-red onion relish

DSC_0368Date night! Home-cooked dinner with Danny Collins, a feel-good movie.

Yesterday Andy rebelled against yet another vegetarian meal, when I made the zucchini-ricotta fritters. So to make it up to him,  I made chicken for tonight’s dinner. I found this recipe on the Food and Wine website and halved it, because it served four. We ate these chicken drumsticks with sesame rice salad. The drumsticks were indeed a treat because I left the skin on. They came out tender and juicy, spicy without the heat. Plus the skin was crispy and slightly charred around the edges, just the way I like it.

Tandoori Chicken Drumsticks with Cilantro-Red Onion Relish (adapted from Food and Wine)
Prep time: 30 minutes
Grilling time: 40 minutes
Servings: 2

1/2 tablespoon sweet paprika
1/2 tablespoon garam masala
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon ground coriander (I didn’t have this so I increased the cumin slightly)
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric (original)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated fine (original)
4 cloves garlic, minced (original)
1/4 cup Greek-style yogurt (original)
Juice of 1/2 a medium lime
1/4 cup plus 4 tablespoons rice bran oil, divided (original; Substitute: canola oil)
Salt and pepper
6 chicken drumsticks with the skin on

1/3 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped (3/4 cup in the original)
1/2 medium red onion, minced (Substitute: 1 medium shallot)
3 tablespoons white vinegar

Pre-heat the oven to 450˚F/230˚C. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray for easy clean up.

Pat dry the chicken drumsticks with paper towels and set them aside. Some recipes state that this makes the chicken skin crisp up.

In a 10 inch skillet combine the ground spices, and heat them, until they release their fragrance, about 1-2 minutes. Scrape the spices in a medium bowl to cool slightly. Add the ginger, garlic, yogurt, lime juice, and 2 tablespoons oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Make 2-3 slashes in the thickest part of the chicken. Put the chicken in a large bowl with 2 more tablespoons of oil, and toss to coat thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper. Scrape the yogurt spice mixture onto the chicken and toss to coat thoroughly.

Roast 40 minutes or until the drumsticks reach an internal temperature of 160˚F. Turn the chicken once after 20 minutes. Check after 35 minutes. If the chicken doesn’t show signs of charring, put them under the broiler for about 5 minutes. I skipped this step because the drumsticks showed signs of charring after 40 minutes.

Make the relish. In a small bowl combine the chopped cilantro, red onion, vinegar and 1/4 cup of oil.

I recommend doubling the ginger and garlic and use a whole lime when doubling this recipe for 12 drumsticks. I like ginger and garlic together.

DSC_0370The sesame rice salad pictured here is a variation on a rice salad recipe I found in a South Beach Diet cookbook. I used red and brown rice here, but brown rice is recommended in the original recipe. I used sugar snap peas and green peas, but your favorite combination of two vegetables will do. I added a tablespoon of minced Chinese celery stalks for flavor. The dressing is easy: 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, and 2 teaspoons sesame oil. Whisk with a fork and pour over the rice. Add vegetables and toss.