There’s something about the warmth of Asian food that, in my opinion, trumps other cuisines. The use of chilli and aromatics like ginger, garlic, onions make the cuisines of this part of the world truly special. This Asian inspired Orange-Chilli Caramel Chicken combines all this and more – the smokiness of the chilli caramel I used to marinate it with combined with fresh orange juice and zest, was simply accentuated by the grilling of it on the griddle and then in the oven to cook well.
The result is a bittersweet, caramelized chicken starter with the zestiness of orange and spicy tones from the green chilli. Definitely a starter worth trying.
This post includes two recipes, one for the chilli caramel – inspired by Gary Mehigan’s recipe that he demonstrated in MasterChef Australia. And the other using the caramel to marinate and grill the chicken.
Place the jaggery and water in a medium heavy saucepan and stir over medium-high heat until it dissolves.
Boil without stirring for about 8 minutes.
As the sugar begins to caramelise and darken remove from the heat.
Add the lime juice and soy (or fish) sauce carefully; it may splatter.
Stir in the chilli, ginger, garlic and lime zest. Set aside to cool and use as required.
Note: Store in an airtight bottle in the fridge. Remove 15 minutes before you need to use it again.
For the chicken
Wash, and remove the chicken skin. Score well till the bone.
Mix together the chilli caramel, green chilli paste, orange juice and zest, oil, salt and pepper with the chicken and set aside for a minimum of 30 minutes or overnight.
When you are ready to cook the chicken - heat the griddle well and place the chicken over it to seal. Then transfer in a baking dish and grill in a preheated oven (at 200 C) for 20 minutes or till done.
Garnish with chopped coriander and slivers of ginger and chilli.