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Recipe for Penang-style baked chicken


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.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Kung pao chicken
Chicken satay
Grilled tamarind chicken
Filipino chicken adobo
Slow cooker chicken vindaloo

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

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


Love the flavors!

This sounds delicious! I especially like the idea of a dipping sauce for an Asian chicken dish!

Singapore is truly a gem for anyone who is adventuresome and loves good food. This island state is an exciting mix of Asian, Malay, Indian and Western cultures. Having prowled street food markets and enjoyed every dish I tried during my stay, I was hoping that the cookbook I sent would capture the culinary magic I experienced. From the great pictures of the dish you prepared, I think we both did well!

Wow, there is a lot of flavor going on in this recipe - love it! I have a whole chicken in the fridge - think I'm going to chop it up and marinade it with this recipe.

This sounds amazing - as does the whole idea of centuries-old East-West fusion. I just got "Silk Road Cooking" - is this cuisine part of that?

I am printing this recipe right now...

Susan, this is a combination I found absolutely addictive.

Kalyn, this chicken has so much flavor that you don't need any rice, though rice or noodles would be great with it. The dipping sauce has a bit of a bite from the dry mustard.

Cousin, I feel like the lucky one, because I got to eat all of this! Thanks again for the gift of cookbooks; I've found lots of great recipes to try.

Jeanette, you could grill chunks of marinated chicken on skewers, and it would be delicious.

Judy, the Silk Road is more Asian cuisines, I believe, and not as much adapted by the colonial European cuisines. I think it's fascinating to read how food substitutions have endured in the cuisines of Southeast Asia.

This looks incredible! And so easy to prepare, too. Can't wait to try this - thanks, Lydia!

Your mention of Goa brings back fond memories of my travels in India, particularly in Kerala where I toured spice farms along the inter-coastal waterways, and visited a tea plantation up in the hills. The culture and the food are very diverse there, too.

This looks incredible! And so easy to prepare, too. Can't wait to try this - thanks, Lydia!

Lydia - made this tonight for dinner using chicken on the bone (I only had a whole chicken so just cut it up). Kids loved it. I got a small taste - very flavorful!

Steve-Anna, I've always wanted to travel in India, especially in the South, and especially after being in Malacca, which shares a similar Dutch-influenced culture to Goa. I can only imagine what a wonderful time you had there.

Fred, hope you do try it.

Jeanette, I'm so glad you made this recipe tonight. Maybe next time your kids will leave your a bit more of it!

This does sound an addictive combination Lydia.

My mom used to make this all the time! I always thought it was just something she threw together from the condiment shelf. Way to go mom.

I want this.... We don't have dark or light or low sodium soy sauce..... Lucky to find soy sauce. I usually buy it on my shopping trips to Andorra LOL (I do have some)

Bellini, I'm a real salt person, so anything that is more salty than sweet appeals to me. We couldn't stop eating this chicken, and didn't need any rice with it.

EB, it does seem like it uses every condiment in my Asian pantry! Despite the long list of ingredients, though, it's really easy to make.

Katie, happy to send you some at any time!

YUM - I am with Jeanette I think this could make some fun skewers - easy to dip too!
I am sooooo hungry now - wish I wasn't trapped at the office because I would make this for a late lunch right after I stop off at the specialty market for a few of those ingredients! printing recipe now (but sadly not leaving work :-)

this looks delish, tasty and lean! thanks for the recipe!! I always take the lazy shortcut and buy take away while living in singapore, but it's hard to find chicken the same way it's done in HKG!

Excellent flavors! The dipping sauce truly complements the chicken, and the dish is easy to make, appealing on the platter and really tasty. My husband is not crazy about chicken but loved this dish. It's a keeper. Thanks, Lydia.

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