Wednesday, 6 November 2013


I love a Chinese and always have done. I grew up in a place called Sevenoaks in Kent and the best restaurant in town was the Sun Do so every single birthday or special occasion my family and I would always go for a fact whenever I go back to Sevenoaks now, the Sun Do is always my first port of call. It hasn't changed in the past 30 years and the food and service remain excellent.

As I do not have a Chinese regularly, (maybe once or twice a year), when I do, I get terribly overexcited and always over order and then feel violently ill and barely sleep as I am so dehydrated from too much soy sauce! So while it is fun at the time, the after effects aren't great - although I never learn my lesson!! I can't resist the prawn toast, spring rolls, salt and pepper squid, spare ribs, chicken chow mein, sweet and sour pork, aromatic duck.....and so on....

One way to get a Chinese fix that is actually healthy is to cook it yourself and Fay Ripley has a wonderful recipe for Chinese chicken. It is really easy to make as long as you remember to marinade, preferably the night before. I serve it with roasted broccoli but you can also add rice, noodles and even buy a few mini starters from the supermarket if you fancy. However I am being strict as it's only Wednesday and so it's just the broccoli for us!!

Ingredients for 4 people:

4 globes of stem ginger (I had never heard of these before but they are from a jar)
3 tablespoons of runny honey (I just used whatever honey we had in the house, it wasn't runny which makes "mixing" difficult but tastes the same)
3 tablespoons of light soy sauce (I used dark as I didn't have light and once again I don't think it matters)
8 chicken thighs, skinned
3 garlic cloves crushed
2 limes
350g head of broccoli
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp coriander seeds (I sometimes don't bother to add these)!

As I mentioned earlier, it is best to marinade the chicken the day before and refrigerate overnight - this is not essential, an hour or so will do, but the longer the better.

Drain and finely chop the ginger, if you are feeding this to kids, I recommend you try and chop it as small as possible. Put it in a shallow ovenproof ceramic dish with the other ingredients - the honey, soy sauce, garlic, zest of two limes and the juice of one lime. (Thanks you once again Sally for my zester - it's changed my life)!

Put the chicken in and mix all together and refrigerate - for as much as 24 hours.

When you are ready to eat, preheat the oven to 210C fan / 230C / gas mark 8. Spread out the thighs in one layer and cook for 30-40 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. I would suggest checking them at 30 minutes as I have cooked this before for 40 minutes and burnt the hell out of my dish!! This time they did not take longer than 30 mins.

For the broccoli, cut it into florets and lay in a roasting tray. If you are using the coriander seeds, crush them and sprinkle over the florets and pour over the olive oil, then bake in the same oven for 20 minutes. Do not worry if they burn a little, that is the best bit!

And then serve the chicken and broccoli together, delicious!! Perfect with a dash or two of soy sauce.

Another successful meal, devoured by all three of us. I love cooking with chicken thighs, they are always so tender. I also think this would make a nice change for a dinner party if you added some rice as well as it's so easy preparing it the day before. 

According to fitness pal, it's only about 440 calories per that leaves room for some Halloween leftover treats!! Uh oh, my good intentions are already going out the window!

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