Chinese Chili Chicken

If you don't know, there's a really great hot spicy South Indian chicken dish called "Chicken 65", that uses a long host of ingredients to flavour chicken wings or drumsticks. This has nothing to do with that. It just kind reminds me of that dish.

Tonight I had a half dozen chicken thighs I needed to cook. I had a hankering to try to use them for the Iranian shish kebab recipe here. Then I decided it's too much trouble to debone chicken thighs (two major bones per piece, you need to get rid of). With a million ways to make chicken, deciding how to do it is the hard part. Noticing I had some Chinese chili paste in the fridge, I took a turn down quite a different alley, and wound up here... With a spicy (but not very spicy) number, that I call "Chinese Chili Chicken". Featuring tonight's guest... Chinese chili paste. It can also come as "chili garlic paste", and you can also use the "sweet chili garlic paste" version here. You can find the product in most Asian markets. Or even local grocery stores, in the international foods section. It is a paste made of red chilies, where you can see their white seeds embedded. It's pretty hot by itself, but a marinade/basting sauce will be created with it, diluted with liquids and balanced by a honey sweetness. So it's not as hot as it looks.


6 chicken thighs (or less)


2 heaping T Chinese chili sauce (with or without garlic, regular or sweet)
4 T soy sauce
1 T minced garlic/ginger (optional)
2 T honey
2 T lemon juice
a few green onion, chopped (optional)


Prepare the chicken thighs by removing the skin, fat and sinew, rinsing, shaking off water and setting aside. In a large (preferably wide) bowl, combine the marinade ingredients and mix well. You want a syrupy consistency. Not thin, but not thick as molasses either. About that of cough syrup. So if necessary, add a bit of water to achieve this. Dip the chicken pieces in the marinade, turning each over so that both sides have received the marinade, then leave them in the marinade bowl. Cover and refrigerate for a little while. Which can be as short or as long as you wish (the longer the better), to allow the flavors to develop a little. When done, place the chicken pieces on a wire rack, top side up, with a jelly roll pan underneath to catch the drippings. Pour some of the marinade over each piece.

Adjust your oven rack so that it is about 7 - 8" from the broiler element. Turn the broiler on and when heated, broil the pieces for about 25-30 minutes (watching carefully after 20). Turn over a few times during the cooking process, after each side starts to dry out. Baste the underside with the additional liquid during cooking, after it has dried out, to keep things moist. When the liquids have just evaporated, and the chicken pieces are blackened around the edges, the dish is done. To properly check for doneness, insert a thermometer into the thickest part and verify 170F. Serve two pieces per person, with salad and plain rice (or noodles), or your favorites sides.


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