My eating habits scare me sometimes. Sometimes. I was too full for lunch at 12 because I ate breakfast at 10. Then at around 2pm, I thought I was glued to the bed watching NCIS reruns, but no, I craved for honey chicken. I just had to press the pause button.
Truth be told I just went with my gut on this one. There was no recipe, just inspiration from a few odds and ends, particularly the vivid taste of Lotus restaurant’s iconic honey chicken masterpiece, and the sauce I made a while back for the fried pork cutlets. And the end result was devoured in record time, even by my grandmother who, today, also told me that she tried my macaroni and cheese and thought it was “walang kwenta” (worthless). But hey, don’t take her word for it!!! The rest of my family defended me of course, so it’s probably just grandma’s isolated and skewed opinion (but don’t worry I still love her to bits).
Honey chicken (serves 4)
- 1.5 kg chicken legs and thighs
- 6 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- Half a head of garlic, minced
- 1 240ml can pineapple juice
- 5 teaspoons cornstarch, dissolved in 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 3 tablespoons white cane vinegar (apple cider vinegar works too)
- A dash of cinnamon
- 2 pieces star anise
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- ½ cup honey (or more, to taste)
- Heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat. Sear the chicken on both sides, until it begins to brown, around 5 – 10 minutes on each side. You might need to do this in batches.
- Make the sauce: Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a large sauce pan (large enough to hold the chicken pieces as well) over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and allow to fry until fragrant but not burnt. Add the pineapple juice and the cornstarch mixture. Mix well.
- Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and stir everything together over medium heat until the sauce thickens. Adjust the seasoning to your preference.
- Lower the heat and add in the chicken and cook, covered, for 30 – 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked tender.
- In the last 5 minutes of cooking, increase the heat to high and cook until the sauce has reduced, thickened and is slightly sticky. Frequently stir everything together to stop it from burning. When done remove from heat and serve warm. Enjoy!