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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Chile Honey Chicken

I have such a plethora of recipes to tell you about in my drafts box that it is getting a bit ridiculous (30 and counting), just waiting for me to find the time to sit down and type. That said, this fast, simple chicken dish I threw together on a whim the other night was such a success that it is usurping the other recipes in the hopper because I just can't wait to tell you about it.

I'm not kidding, this one really hit it out of the park.  In fact, it was so good that when I made it the first time, I didn't even get any pictures and had no problem making it again the very next day so that I could share it with you.

The process for making this couldn't be easier, and honestly, even though it uses a few items from the Asian section you may not have in your pantry all the time, but once you make this you'll have no problem keeping them on hand - especially since they aren't expensive or too hard to find.

The first 'special' ingredient is sweet chile sauce.  I use this brand, because I like it and have had good success with it and have found it in most of the major stores, but you can make your own fairly easily.  It is, as the name suggests, a little sweet and a little spicy.  I love to keep it on hand for tossing in with veggies and chicken when we want a quick stir fry for dinner.

The second is Ponzu sauce. It is a citrus flavored sauce that is great in marinades on chicken, pork, beef, seafood, whatever. It really adds a nice, fast, bright burst of flavor.

The chicken pieces are first marinated in a mixture of the sweet chile sauce and ponzu, just for about 30 minutes. Then tossed in a little cornstarch to create a crust when they are then fried in a little bit of hot oil. The cornstarch helps to thicken the finished sauce a bit too.

Now, making the chicken this way is a little messy.  I'm not gonna lie.  But it is just SO good, that the little extra mess is worth it to me. However, if it's not to you, just skip the cornstarch step all together and follow the second set of directions in the recipe for just stir frying the chicken pieces and move on. You won't have that extra little crusty, crunchy layer on the chicken, but it will still be incredibly good.

Once the chicken is fried, it gets sauced.  This is where this dish gets so delicious that you'll be craving it again while you are still eating it.

Making the sauce couldn't be easier.  It is just a combination of some more sweet chile sauce with some honey and a little seasoning.  Pour it into the pan after the chicken has cooked to deglaze your pan (after you've poured out the oil if any was left of course) and let it reduce a little.  Slide the chicken pieces back in and coat them in the sauce.  Toss in a handful of sugar snap peas and let it all simmer together for a couple of minutes while the sauce thickens and reduces down to a glaze and that's it.  Just serve it all over since nice hot rice or noodles and dinner is done.

The finished dish isn't really too spicy at all, just more of a sweetness with a little bit of heat.  In fact, A. hates spice and he chowed down on this meal like I was going to snatch it away from him.  That is quite the feat for him these days, so I know we'll be making this often.  If you however like things a little spicier, just add a few chile pepper flakes to your sauce and you can up your heat quotient to your liking.

Speaking of the rice though, I like to make my rice on the stovetop... because I don't have room for a rice cooker, nor do I have a decent one.  Someday that will change, but in the mean time, I am loving this recipe. It really is the best rice I've ever made, and I love that it makes plenty (because the best fried rice the next day is made with cold, leftover rice - seriously).

Chile Honey Chicken
Original Recipe from PheMOMenon

Printable Recipe

Makes 4 Servings
For the chicken:
2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breast or tenderloins
1/3 cup ponzu sauce
1/4 cup sweet chile sauce
2/3 cup cornstarch
2-4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup fresh sugar snap peas
For the sauce:
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup sweet chile sauce
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 clove garlic, minced very fine
Pinch red pepper flake, to taste
Trim and cut the chicken into bite-size pieces and place them in a large ziptop bag with the ponzu and sweet chile sauces. Mash the chicken in the bag a bit to get it all covered in the marinade. Set the bag aside in the refrigerator for 30 minutes (I usually start the rice or noodles now so it will be ready when the chicken is done).
While the chicken is marinating, make the sauce by whisking the honey, chile sauce, butter, water, garlic and pepper flake together in a small bowl. Set aside until ready to use.
Use a colander over the sink and pour the chicken out in the colander, discarding any marinade left over. Toss the chicken pieces lightly in a large bowl with the cornstarch, preferably working a few pieces at a time.
Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large frying pan or wok over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, fry a few pieces of chicken at a time until golden on all sides, about 2 minutes total. Work in batches so you don’t crowd the pan. Remove cooked pieces and set them aside while cooking the remaining chicken. About half way through the batches you can add more oil to heat if needed.*
Once all the chicken is cooked, pour any remaining excess oil out of the pan, but don’t worry about any other little bits, they will be absorbed in the sauce. Turn the heat down to medium and add the sauce to the pan. Use a wooden spoon to stir the sauce and let it boil in the hot pan for 1 minute before adding the chicken pieces into the pan.  Stir the chicken in the sauce to coat. Toss in the peas and stir to coat. Allow the mixture to simmer and cook in the sauce until everything is hot, glazed and the sauce is almost completely absorbed - about 3 to 5 minutes.
Serve hot over rice or noodles and enjoy!
*NOTE: Alternatively, you can skip the cornstarch frying process and follow the directions below for a simple stir fry.
Stir Fry Chile Honey Chicken Directions:
Marinade the chicken pieces as described above, then drain the marinade.  Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large frying pan or wok over medium-high heat and add the chicken, still in batches and cook on all sides till just golden. Proceed as usual with the rest of the recipe.
Recipe Source: © PheMOMenon, All Rights Reserved


Emily said...

Looks so totally delicious!

anu said...

Chilli Chicken with delicous and mouth watering.

Laura Muir said...

This looks awesome! I am going to have to get me some sweet chili sauce and get cooking. This is right up my alley. mmmm.

Krista Dearden said...

Yum! My hubby will love this!

Tyra said...

I'm featuring this over at Ucreate Foods tomorrow - irresistible.

Kimiko said...

I made this last night with brown rice, and snow peas instead of the sugar snap peas, and it was delicious! It gets the thumbs-up from my boyfriend, so I'll be saving this one and making again. Thanks!

Melissa @ A Dozen Years Later said...

Thank you. After seeing this on Ucreate I made it tonight. It was a big hit and I will definitely make it again. I look forward to making some more of your recipes. I also featured this recipe on my FB recipe page - Groti - Great Recipes on the Internet.

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