This dish has been a favourite in my family for many years. It is based on a recipe from a Vietnamese cookbook, but it actually reminds me more of Chinese cuisine. It doesn’t have the tangy balance of sweet, sour and salty that you would expect from a lot of Vietnamese food, but rather an intense emhasis on the three ingredients in the name: garlic, honey and chilli. Muffy and I like to use a lot of garlic when we make this, and it’s sort of become the dish we make when one of us feels like we might be coming down with something. It’s very quick and easy to prepare, and delicious all year round.
I like to use some vegetables when I make this, but that is up to you. Carrots work particularly well with the sweetness of the honey, and I also like adding red capsicum. Other good options would include broccoli, snow peas, water chestnuts or even bamboo shoots. Go for vegetables that are firm and crisp and can be cooked quickly; I would avoid watery things like cabbage, tomatoes or celery.
Chilli Garlic & Honey Chicken
- ~700g free range chicken breast or tenderloins
- 2 brown onions, peeled and quartered
- 1-2 cups vegetables, cut to roughly equal sizes
- oil for frying
- 1/3 cup sweet chilli sauce (I recommend Thai Pride)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce (I recommend Kikkoman)
- 2 Tbsp hoi sin sauce
- 4-5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or crushed
- 2-4 small red chillies, deseeded and thinly sliced (chilli paste is also fine)
Trim any fat from the chicken, and cut into fine slices or strips.
Mix together all ingredients for the marinade in a bowl. Add chicken and combine well with the marinade. Set aside for 30 minutes or cover and refrigerate overnight.
When ready to cook, heat a large frypan or wok until very hot. Ensure that it is completely clean and dry before placing over heat – do not add oil! When it is hot enough, add onions and vegetables at once and stir fry gently until beginning to soften, about 1-2 minutes. Set vegetables aside.
Drain chicken, reserving the marinade. Put the frypan or wok back on high heat. When it is very hot, add a little oil and immediately throw in the chicken, stir-frying until almost fully cooked, 2-3 minutes. You may need to add the chicken in batches to ensure a constant sizzle, which makes the meat tender. Set chicken aside.
Return pan to the heat and pour in the marinade. Heat the marinade by itself, stirring often until it becomes thick and bubbly, about 3-5 minutes. If you want a very thick sauce just continue cooking until it reaches the consistency you are after. Add the chicken and vegetables and cook for a further minute until chicken is fully cooked through and vegetables are tender, but still retaining some of their crunch.
Best served immediately with rice, but it can be re-heated in the microwave.
Rice by Absorption Method
Makes about 5 cups of cooked rice.
- 2 cups jasmine rice
- 2 1/2 cups cold water
Rinse the rice under running water in a sieve until the water runs clear. Drain thoroughly and transfer to a medium saucepan with a tight fitting lid. Add cold water and stir gently to combine.
Place over high heat and bring to the boil, stirring once or twice. As soon as the water is boiling, move to a very low heat and put on the lid. Do not stir at all from this point. Leave to cook for 15 minutes without removing the lid.
Check if the rice is done after 15 minutes, it may need a couple of minutes longer. Remove from heat and set aside for at least 5 minutes before serving with the lid still on. Fluff up rice with a fork just before serving.