It may be a little stretch of culinary license to say that this dish is Chinese, but a review of the ingredients makes it difficult to argue that the meal has not been heavily influenced by the use of Asian ingredients.
The history and development of this meal is simple and follows a standard theme for many of the meals created in my kitchen. I was hungry, I did not feel like going to the grocery store and I was not in the mood for restaurant food. So I rooted around until I found what I believe to be the right pairing of ingredients to make a marinade. With the exception Shao Hsing Rice Wine, the ingredients have remained the same. The most notable change is that I have switched from powdered ginger to fresh sliced ginger.
There are many things that make this meal enjoyable. First is that the measurements for the marinade do not need to be exact. Second is that when eaten there is a explosion of flavors that are experienced. You first notice the subtle orange flavor that has been imparted both in the chicken and in the slightly sweet glaze. Then you taste the slight heat of the ginger which is rounded off with the heat of the chili paste that has been tempered with the sugars of the orange and the oyster sauce. No one flavor stands out, but all of the flavors come together in a perfect balance. It is neither to sweet, spicy or salty. The third reason that makes this meal enjoyable is that it is a light meal for the chicken is simply grilled.
The most difficult part of creating this post was the determining the amount of ingredients. As with many of the marinades that I make, the rule of thumb is a little of this, some of that, a dash of this and a heavy hand on that. Based upon how the meal tasted, I think that the marinade ingredients are close to the measurements needed.
Preparing the Marinade (Ingredients)
- 6 – 8 Skinless / Boneless Chicken Thighs (Breasts are fine, but Thighs are juicier and have more flavor)
- 6 Crushed Garlic Cloves
- 1 TBS Sambal Oleok (Chili Paste)
- 1/2 Cup Soy Sauce
- 2 TBS Oyster Sauce
- 1 TBS Sesame Oil
- 1 TBS Sliced Ginger
- 2 Oranges Quartered
- 1 TBS Shao Hsing Rice Wine (optional)
- Place a one gallon ziploc bag in a large bowl and add all of the ingredients. When adding the quartered oranges, hand crush / squeeze the juice then drop the quartered oranges into the bag.
- Seal the bag and mix the ingredients well.
- Add the chicken thighs to the marinade and reseal the bag removing most of the air.
- Place bag in the bowl in the refrigerator and allow to marinade for 2 – 8 hours. If possible every few hours reposition the bag in the bowl to ensure that all of the chicken thighs are properly covered with marinade.
Cooking the marinated chicken thighs:
- Pull the marinated chicken thighs out of the refrigerator about an hour before cooking so that the chill is knocked out of them.
- Heat your skillet or grill to Medium – Medium High.
- Remove the chicken thighs from the marinade.
- Cook the chicken for 10 – 15 minutes depending on the thickness of the chicken thighs. Remember to turn them frequently for the sugars in the marinade will burn if applied directly to the heat for too long of a period of time.
Serve with steamed white rice and steamed vegetable for a light meal where the flavors of the chicken thighs are the main focus.