Cousin Martin recently traveled to Borneo by way of Singapore, and wonderful cousin that he is, returned laden with wooden spoons and a handful of cookbooks for moi. A little book titled Eurasian Favourites features the centuries-old East-West cuisine that dates from the Portuguese colonization of Goa. As more European colonists married local women, the cuisine began to adapt through the substitution of local ingredients: coconut milk for cream, Chinese sausage for chorizo. The influence worked both ways, with Worcestershire sauce, vinegar and English mustard finding their way into traditional Asian recipes like this Penang-style baked chicken. The recipe calls for many condiments from East and West, and the result is a chicken dish that can crown a salad, snuggle in a pita, or perk up a bowl of noodles. For me, it was love at first salty-spicy-vinegary-sweet bite.
Penang-style baked chicken
From the pantry, you'll need: chicken breasts, ground coriander, chili paste with garlic, ginger (or ginger paste), reduced sodium soy sauce, dark soy sauce, black vinegar, agave nectar, sugar, limes, kosher salt, Worcestershire sauce, Colman's Mustard, red pepper flakes.
Adapted from Eurasian Favourites, this recipe serves 6-8, depending on what else you serve with it.
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
For the marinade:
1 Tbsp ground coriander
2 scallions, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp grated ginger (or ginger paste)
1 Tbsp chili paste with garlic
2 Tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp dark soy sauce
2 Tbsp black vinegar
2 Tbsp agave nectar
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 tsp kosher salt
For the dipping sauce:
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp dark soy sauce
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp lime juice
1 tsp Colman's Mustard (or other hot English mustard powder)
Small pinch of mild red pepper flakes
Trim the chicken breasts, and with a sharp knife, score each one 3 or 4 times across the top. Place in a ziploc bag, and set aside.
In a small bowl, mix all of the marinade ingredients. Pour the marinade into the bag with the chicken. Close the bag (remove as much air as possible), and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 425°F, and allow the chicken to come to room temperature while the oven is preheating. Arrange the chicken pieces with the top (scored side) down on a rimmed baking sheet; I line mine with a Silpat (silicone liner) to make cleanup easier.
Bake for 12 minutes, then turn the chicken and bake for 12-15 minutes more (depending on the thickness of the chicken).
While the chicken is in the oven, whisk together all of the dipping sauce ingredients and pour into a serving bowl.
Remove the chicken from the oven, and let cool for 10 minutes. Slice into thick slices, and arrange on a serving platter with the dipping sauce. Serve warm, at room temperature or cold.
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Asian chicken and soba noodle salad, from Food Blogga
General Tso's chicken, from Appetite for China
Chinese chicken lettuce wraps, from Andrea Meyers
3 cups chicken, from House of Annie
Chicken with mango BBQ sauce, from Apple a Day
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