6 Jan 2015

char siu chicken

Baked chicken wings are delicious and there are hardly occasions where there would be leftovers. Savoury sweet and sticky, what's not to like? Back in the day my parents would occasionally use Lee Kum Kee's char siu sauce, but we haven't been buying for a while because we make our own. I can't remember the exact taste of the LKK sauce, but I wrote it tasted very similar to it in my notes.

I had an epiphany last night and thought it would be brilliant to use the sauce for chicken thigh fillet. There's no bone meaning I didn't have to get my hands dirty and I'd be able to eat sooner, since cooking time is greatly reduced. Taste wise, both are the same but the pan fried version is more saucier compared to the wings which are drier. I've left notes below, so you can decide which version you like best.

P.S. I bet you thought this was teriyaki chicken. 

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char siu chicken     serves 4

2-3 pieces of chicken thigh fillet
sea salt, as required
white pepper, as required
cooking oil, as required

char siu sauce
125g tomato sauce
60g hoisin sauce
40g clear honey
30g light soy sauce
20g mirin
10g brown sugar
1 tsp dark soy sauce (optional)
1/4 tsp five spice powder
1 clove garlic, finely grated*
a dash of sesame oil
maltose**, melted, as required (optional)

Trim excess fat off chicken thigh fillets, cut into two if necessary and make slits in the thicker part of the meat. Season with salt and white pepper. Cover and leave in the fridge until needed, but take out meat 10-20 minutes before cooking***.

For the sauce: Combine all ingredients except for the maltose in a small pot. Bring to the bowl whilst stirring. Set aside.

When chicken is golden brown on both sides, reduce heat to low. Add 60ml sauce (about 3 Tb / 1/4 cup) and top with a small teaspoon of melted maltose. Gently shake the pan and flip to cover chicken in sauce. Set aside.

Wash the pan before cooking the remaining batch.

To make baked char siu chicken wings: double the sauce and use 2 kg wings for 4 - 5 serves. Marinate wings overnight. Bake at 180 degrees celcius for 30-40 minutes and increase heat to 200 degrees celcius for 15-20 minutes or until done. During baking, turn wings over at least once. When finished, brush some melted maltose on each wing .

*I used an oroshigane (Japanese grater) from Daiso to grate the garlic, but if you don't have one, the small holes on the box grater/microplane are ok too.  

**Maltose can be found in most Asian grocery stalls. It's a very sticky sugar syrup (like glucose) that looks like honey but is faintly sweet. I use it certain dishes to give it a shiny/glossy look. Don't bother trying to measure it, because it'll stick everywhere. Instead, pour a glug of it on a microwaveable bowl or small pan and clean the edge of the container with a wet spoon. Gently heat maltose until it melts. Maltose hardens upon cooling, so you may need to reheat it again.

***I like to steam fry; heat a pan with cooking oil, add chicken and a splash of water. Cover and cook on medium heat until the underside is golden. Uncover, flip and cook until underside is golden. Wash pan before cooking another batch.