Monday, January 3, 2011

Sweet and Spicy Chicken

The other night I whipped up some delicious sweet and spicy Asian-inspired chicken for dinner. It was a great way to warm up on a cold, wintry night.

To start, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

While the oven is preheating, mix together a marinade for the chicken in a bowl. I just grabbed a bunch of ingredients from the cabinets and went wild—Chinese five spice, Mongolian fire oil, ginger oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, Japanese chili pepper powder, and red pepper flakes. It’s all right if you don’t have these exact ingredients—the key ones are sesame oil, soy sauce, and some sort of spicy chili powder or pepper flakes. Just throw a bunch of these ingredients together and keep tasting until it gets to a flavor you enjoy. More sweetness will be added later, so this marinade should be on the spicy side.

Liberally coat chicken breasts on the bone with the marinade. Place them skin-side down on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Covering the sheet with tinfoil and some non-stick spray works pretty well in preventing the chicken from sticking to the baking sheet.

Allow the chicken to cook on one side for a half hour. Then flip the chicken over and bake for another half hour.

While the chicken is baking, create a glaze by mixing together honey or maple syrup and finely chopped ginger. About ten minutes before the chicken is done brush the skin with the sweet ginger glaze. It’s best to wait to add this glaze later in the cooking process so that the sugar and ginger don’t burn in the oven.

The resulting chicken should have a nice, crispy skin and tender meat. It goes perfectly with a light cucumber salad composed of sliced cucumbers tossed with rice wine vinegar and a little salt and pepper. Enjoy!

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