I call this hot and sour chicken, not because it is following a hot and sour recipe from a particular place, but because I am using hot and sour flavours, and some of my favourites too. It is my hot and sour chicken, from my kitchen.
Chilli, garlic, tamarind, some savoury light fish sauce and lime make this chicken sing. A sprinkle of coriander lifts it right up before you serve it. Some fried or roasted peanuts for the texture, because you can, and because they are awesome. A little shredded spring onion (or scallions as I once knew them) freshen everything again. That says summer to me. The flavours sprinkle and mingle and dance as you eat them.
Use good chicken, as good as you can. A whole chicken, jointed yourself, or have your butcher do this for you. Or you can use a selection of legs and thighs as I have done. Marinade for an hour or two, no more, acidic marinades can toughen the meat over more time (and most marinades are acidic in part), plus they can make the surface of the meat mushy (by denaturing the proteins, but lets not worry about the detail). I use gorgeous fresh tamarind in the marinade, if you can’t source fresh tamarind, tamarind extract will do just fine.
That is all the prep done. Now we can relax. Then before cooking, we add a little cornflour to dry it out, and help the skin crisp a little better. Then roast, grill or chuck it on the BBQ. I roasted mine before freshening it with coriander, spring onion, peanuts and zingy but not so hot fruity chillies as I served it.
Pretty straight forward, isn’t it? Gorgeous with a crisp wine (gewurztraminer, riesling, maybe even a crisp Provence rosé) or a cold beer.
- 1kg jointed chicken or chicken legs and thighs, skin on
- 3 tbsp cornflour
- a handful of fresh coriander leaves
- 3 tbsp peanuts - fried in their skins, or roasted but not heavily seasoned
- 4 spring onions, finely chopped
- 1 mild red chilli, finely sliced
- 5 pieces of fresh tamarind or 1 tbsp tamarind extract + 100ml water, recently boiled
- 1 fresh lime, zest and juice
- chilli, as hot as you can handle (I used 1 fruity mild one and one hot finger chilli)
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- sea salt
- light oil for the roasting tray