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Mike Wolfberg's Recipe for Chinese Barbecued Chicken

This is adapted from a recipe from Martha Goh.

12-18 chicken thighs
I prefer to use thighs and especially those with the bone and skin. You could use other parts if you prefer. Skinless pieces will be less tasty.

Stab the chicken pieces with a sharp-tined fork with about 15-20 punctures per side, especially through the skin.

1 c. dark soy sauce
I use Pearl River brand Mushroom Soy Sauce, available in Chinese markets.

1 c. sugar
I use Domino granulated sugar.

about 4 oz. fresh ginger root
peeled and chopped medium fine, yielding about 1/2 c.

several garlic cloves
peeled and chopped medium fine to yield about 1/2 c.

For the most flavor, start this cooking in the morning and then have the cooked chicken marinate all day before finishing the dish.

  1. Start by putting the soy sauce and sugar into a large pot which can be covered. Swish a little water in the measuring cup used for the soy sauce to get that last little bit into the pot. Then as you prepare the ginger and garlic, throw it into the pot, so you don't lose flavors to the air. Put on a low flame and stir for a minute or two to get the sugar dissolved.

  2. Add all the chicken pieces, trying to get them covered by the liquid. You may not be able to do this, so stirring every 5 minutes can help with this. Increase the heat and cook until the mixture almost starts to boil. Then lower the heat so it simmers. Cook covered for 20-30 minutes. Stir occasionally to get all pieces covered by the sauce.

  3. Remove from the flame and let this sit as long as you can. If you are waiting all to day to finish the dish, you should probably refrigerate it after it cools a bit. You could finish the dish and serve right away, but the longer you wait, the more flavorful it gets. I have not tried having this marinate overnight.

  4. When you are ready to finish the dish, either grill or broil the chicken pieces just short of burning them. Turn them once, so they cook on both sides. This will probably take about 10 minutes, according to the heat of your grill or broiler. Don't overcook, since they could get dry.

  5. You could then save some of the marinade and serve that as a sauce for those who want that. However, I find this is not usually needed. When doing this, I tend to skim the fat off the top of the liquid using one of those special cups with a spout made for skimming fat from sauces and gravies.

You can strain and keep the liquid in the fridge. If you have a lot of fat at the surface, it tends to protect it from spoiling for an indefinite amount of time. Use that sauce for dishes such as stir-fried broccoli. To keep this sauce without that fat cover, bring it to a boil every week or two and it lasts indefinitely.

back to the top of this page This page, maintained by Mike Wolfberg, was last updated on September 12, 2010.