Malaysian Chicken Marinade.

I often surprise myself with how I start with one recipe and end up somewhere completely different and this recipe is no exception. I had some chicken legs just hanging out in the back of my fridge that was threatening to leave if I didn’t think of something quick one evening whilst cooking for a friend. I had every intention of doing my usual party trick of roasting it alongside some chorizo and hoping for the best but then I was blindsided when my friend told me that they fancied something spicy and sweet. Chorizo isn’t sweet and there’s nothing I can add to it that will make it so. Therefore, I ended up in Malaysia again.

Malaysian cuisine always allows me room to do what the hell I want in a spicy and sweet capacity and for that I am ever grateful. Therefore I clattered around my kitchen and partook in an old faithful routine of mine which was to throw a bunch of strategic nonsense into a bag, let it marinade while I greet friends/host and do general amounts of mid-week wine drinking before emptying the bag’s contents into a roasting tray. Job done.

The honey here will ‘blacken’ the chicken but don’t be alarmed as these sugars are going to amalgamate with the warmth of the ginger and chili whilst still retaining the acidic bite that is offered by the fish sauce. Sometimes when something looks ‘burnt’; it’s supposed to be. Don’t panic, it’s fine.


Take the chicken leg (or any chicken cut you wish so long as it’s still on the bone because the juices are essential) and peel back the skin but do not remove. You want it still flapping from the body – gross, right? Add them to a ziplock bag before pouring in a tablespoon of honey, a squirt of fish sauce, a grating of fresh ginger and garlic, some chopped chilies, a shot glass of toasted sesame oil and a generous spurt of soy sauce. Zip up the bag and leave to marinade – in a fridge, if it’s overnight on and on your countertop for a maximum of an hour.

When ready, preheat the oven to 200C and once hot, empty the chicken cuts onto a roasting tray and roast for 40-45 minutes until the chicken is cooked through before scattering over some sesame seeds. I serve this alongside some rice with a tiny amount of curry powder spiking the boiling water and anointed with a squeeze of lime. I also recommending served with some plain rocket and coriander leaves – but this is your choice, of course.


Suffice to say my friend was satisfied with the spicy and sweet offering and even asked for bread to mop up some of the sticky juices left in the roasting pan. This recipe is more of a lean to my hap handed culinary aberration as opposed to a deep rooted knowledge of Malaysian cooking – but whatever it was, it was delicious and I thoroughly recommend.



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