Salty soy sauce, sweet brown sugar and spicy garlic chili paste combine to make one of the easiest Asian inspired marinades you can imagine. This is such a simple recipe, I've made it several times over the past year. My middle son cheers every single time I make this chicken.
A while back, I accidentally picked up a jar of garlic chili paste while grocery shopping. I was looking for my favorite chili paste, Sambal Oelek and this one looked similar enough that in a moment of distraction I picked up the wrong one. I enjoyed the slightly different flavor of this one. The garlic gives the dish a different layer of heat without actually being spicy. (If you can't locate garlic chili paste, just add minced garlic to plain chili paste. It works great both ways.)
You can adjust the chili paste as desired, to determine how spicy the finished chicken will be. For my kids, I used 4 tablespoons and it was perfect. The sugar balances it out and there was hardly any heat, with plenty of flavor. My middle son enjoyed this so much; he ate four drumsticks the first time I made this!
COOK'S NOTE: Drumsticks are our favorite for this recipe, although it works great with other cuts of chicken as well. I have also used boneless skinless chicken thighs or chicken breasts with success. Simply adjust the cooking time as necessary. Thighs and breasts will take about half as long to cook as bone-in pieces, maybe slightly longer than that, depending on thickness.
Yield: 6-8 servings
Click here for printable recipe
4 lbs chicken, this is about 16 drumsticks
1 1/2 cups soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
4-6 tablespoons garlic chili paste or a chili paste like Sambal Oelek plus 2 cloves minced garlic
Combine the soy sauce, sugar and chili paste in a large measuring cup or bowl and whisk to combine. Pour HALF the marinade in a separate container and refrigerate until needed, this will be the glaze on the chicken. Place the chicken in a gallon size ziploc bag or airtight container. Cover with the remaining marinade and seal. Place in the refrigerator, turning bag ever hour or two until ready to cook. Marinate for 4 - 6 hours.
30 - 60 minutes before you are ready to cook, remove the chicken from the refrigerator and place it on the counter to come closer to room temperature.
OVEN BROILING DIRECTIONS: Preheat the oven to broil. Place the chicken pieces on a foil lined baking sheet, discard all the marinade that has touched the chicken. Broil the chicken for 10 minutes. Place the clean reserved marinade in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil for at least 1 minute. Reduce to a low simmer while the chicken cooks.
Remove the chicken from the oven, turn pieces over and lightly baste with the marinade. Return the chicken to the oven and cook another 5 - 8 minutes until the juices run clear when pierced with a knife. Serve the chicken with rice, with the slightly reduced marinade sauce either drizzled over the chicken or on the side. Enjoy!
STOVE-TOP DIRECTIONS: Warm a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Place the chicken pieces in the skillet skin side down, discard all the marinade that has touched the chicken. Cover the chicken with a lid and allow it to cook without touching it for about 10 minutes. Place the clean reserved marinade in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil for at least 1 minute and then reduce to a low simmer while the chicken cooks.
Turn the chicken over. The skin should be super crispy and deeply browned. If it is not, increase the heat and let it cook a couple more minutes before turning it. Turn the chicken and let the other side brown for another 5-10 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces. Serve the chicken with rice, with the slightly reduced marinade sauce either drizzled over the chicken or on the side. Enjoy!
(originally published 9/27/2012 - recipe and photographs updated 3/4/2014)
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