Friday, June 02, 2006

Friday Food #19: Asian Grilled Chicken

I should probably preface this recipe by noting that, at the end, I will just tell you to grill the chicken and leave it at that. I don't grill, myself: I'm just too much of a girl. Or something. I have actually grilled things, on rare occasion, but it's never a good thing to let me too near the fire. Maybe it dates back to the time, years ago, when I leaned over a candle and set my hair on fire. (Mom put it out by just slapping at it with her hands, but it smelled funny for quite a while.) But really I think it's just that I don't grill much, so I don't know when things are done. Plus it's awfully hot out there over the grill, and I hate the heat. But I love grilled food, and thankfully Mark is willing to stand over the hot grill (or, because he knows what he's doing, to set the food on the grill, close the top, and walk away for a while), and then we all get to eat delicious grilled food.

So. Confession over.

Here is the marinade we like the best:

Mix together in a large ceramic or glass bowl:
1/4 cup light soy sauce
1/4 cup dry sherry
2 tbl. sugar
1 tbl. each chopped garlic and chopped ginger

Add the chicken and marinate for a while--at least 15 minutes, or all day. (Refrigerate it, obviously, if you're going to marinate it all day.) Then grill the chicken. Or, of course, delegate this step.

In fact you can also broil the chicken in the broiler. But the timing on that depends on what cut of chicken you have so I'll leave you to figure that one out as well.

This amount of marinade is enough for quite a lot of chicken: the other night, I think we had about 14 boneless, skinless chicken thighs. You could halve the recipe and there would be enough for the amount of chicken you want for four people, I'm pretty sure. (Or use the whole amount and boil the leftover marinade to make a dipping sauce...) But the chicken thighs were on sale the other day, and they make good leftovers--packed in a lunch with rice and edamame, or chopped and tossed into pasta with peanut sauce--so we made them all. And you do already know that chicken thighs are more flavorful than breasts, right? But you could use this with boneless breasts, or in fact with bone-in chicken parts of any sort.

This recipe derives from Sheila Lukin's All Around the World cookbook. She calls it "yakitori," which means "grilled bird," though real yakitori is speared on bamboo skewers (which Lukins also recommends) and doesn't have garlic or ginger in the sauce. While I love real yakitori, I find skewering tiny bites of chicken far too labor-intensive for family dinners, and the grillmaster finds the skewers hard to turn--so use whole pieces of chicken and everyone will be happy.

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