A sticky-sweet roasted chicken that will change your life

God this is good; so good that it has jumped my list of things I want to blog about and moved into pole position and I have to share it NOW. This is one of those recipes that belongs in a super-repertoire, a repertoire that you will come back to over and over again, recipes that slide easily into your life, on repeat, and that you can just about remember, give or take a millilitre or two. I made it on Saturday for two very foodie friends and we devoured, erm, 1.9kg of the stuff between us (and could probably have eaten a tad more…) and, then, all spent far too much time sniffing the delicious leftover marinade the next morning. Apologies for the lack of photos; there was no time for such niceties.

It is from the always excellent Bill’s Everyday Asian, a book that I urge you to buy if you like this sort of food but don’t want to faff too much with complicated ingredients, techniques or equipment. This chicken barely needs shopping for, requires very little work and yet tastes like you have spent ages trawling the streets of Chinatown for the most esoteric and rare ingredients. Try it as soon as you can, serve this steamed rice with it and, if possible, make Fuchsia Dunlop’s choy sum too. I’ll be blogging about that one later in the week, probably when I make this again…

Sticky soy sauce roasted chicken (adapted from Bill’s Everyday Asian)

For 3-4 people you will need:

Cupboard (or things you may already have)
soft brown sugar, 3 tablespoons
garlic cloves, 4

Shopping list
small red onion
oyster sauce, 100ml
soy sauce, 4 tablespoons (I used light)
chicken, 1.5-1.9kg (the recipe makes plenty of marinade so a few 100g difference in size won’t matter)

How to
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan-assisted/gas 6.
2. Rinse the chicken, dry it with kitchen paper then stab it all over, front, back and legs, with a fork. Place in a roasting tin, breast-side up.
3. Peel and top and tail the garlic cloves and red onion, roughly chop them then put them in a blender/food processor.
4. Add the sugar, soy and oyster sauces to the garlic and onion and blend/process until you have a relatively smooth sauce.
5. Rub about half to two-thirds of the sauce all over the chicken, inside and out, then put the chicken in the oven and roast for 20 minutes.
6. After 20 minutes, baste the chicken with some more sauce then return it to the oven for another 20 minutes. Repeat this step until the chicken is cooked through (i.e. when you stick a knife through the breast or the thick part of the leg, the juices are clear with not a trace of pink). Depending on the size of your chicken expect the whole cooking process to take 90 minutes to 2 hours.
7. Leave the chicken to rest for 10 minutes then chop it, as if you were jointing it, into 4-6 pieces (so cut across the breastbone, horizontally and vertically, and remove the legs). Serve with steamed rice and choy sum. Then thank me, or rather thank Bill.

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2 Responses to A sticky-sweet roasted chicken that will change your life

  1. Claire Connolly says:

    Made this last night – have to agree on super-repertoire aspects of this. So easy and adaptable. But – I accidentally read breast-side down for breast-side up in the recipe (a needless addition to Bill’s book which I see you sensibly removed) and roasted it mostly breast-side down. Very moist and all that but lacking a certain crispy-ness. Also ended up with a lot of burned bits of marinade at the end of the pan – I mean really burned, not attractively gooey. Also didn’t bother jointing but sliced up as normal chicken. Will do it properly next time!

    • Louise says:

      Yes, we had lots of sticky bits, some burned and some not. Not sure there is much you can do about that, unless you lined the roasting tin with foil (it would, at least, be either to clean) since you have to baste it a couple of times. I’m so glad you liked it; I haven’t made it again yet but I keep thinking about doing so, most days!

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