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Spicing up your chicken
July 6, 2014, 11:09 am

Hot or mild, Thai or Malaysian, all it takes is a little spice to ramp up your chicken. If you are tired of bland chicken tights, and bored of plain drumsticks, add some spices to the mix. Here is how to make some spicy chicken.

Cooling the burn: Chilli is an addiction is one way to spice up your meals, but you don’t want to incinerate your taste buds, chilli flakes are a safer option.  With fresh chilli, the heat varies markedly from variety to variety and even from chilli to chilli. If you're a novice, using flakes or powder can help you get consistent results.

One way to get a pungent taste into your chicken is to mix chilli powder into a paste with a little water first before frying in oil. You just slowly cook the chicken out as the oil turns a nice red colour – you get all the chilli flavour from the oil. For diehard chilli fans, 2 tablespoons of dried chilli powder per chicken will give you the best result.

Beginner’s spice: The best spices to use with chicken are ginger, cumin, coriander, turmeric and chilli. If you're not accustomed to cooking with spices, it's hard to go wrong with using one part cumin to two parts coriander.

Another versatile spice for use with chicken is a salt and pepper mix. Blend together sea salt with lemony hot Sichuan pepper, some cassia (like cinnamon), star anise, clove and chilli. This can be used as a finishing salt with any kind of chicken. Your best bet for a tasty bird is to dust over chicken that has first been cooked Chinese-style in a master stock and then deep fried.

On nights when the threat of a dull chicken dish is looming, turn to an easy spice mix. Dry roast 2 tablespoons of coriander seeds, 1 tablespoon cumin seeds and crush them using a mortar and pestle. Add a teaspoon of dried chilli flakes and lots of fresh, chopped herbs. This is great on anything from rice to fish, chicken and it's guaranteed to redeem the situation.

If you are in a rush, try a paste mix of dry chilli, star anise and Sichuan pepper mixed with a little rice bran oil. If you don't like too much heat, add some large chunks of onions to the chicken fillets and use red vinegar at the end and dark soy. If necessary, also add a teaspoon of sugar."

A different taste:  For something different, steam or poach a whole chicken. When cooked, remove from heat, dunk it in ice water so the skin retracts and is taut over the flesh. Then rub with soy and sesame oil, and serve with a condiment of salt, minced fresh ginger and spring onions sautéed lightly in lots of peanut oil with steamed jasmine rice. This chicken recipe will not only be a delicious dish for dinner, but will become a menu favourite for gatherings.


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