In my travels I have cooked in and visited over 30 countries, I’ve been across 5 continents, I’ve seen it all, tasted it all. However one food is almost universal.
In the west though we get so bored of chicken because often it is prepared without any imagination. However I have had enough experience, experimented with enough flavors to know that there is so much we can do with the lowly old chicken.
I first realized how with just a tweak you can transform an entire dish on a visit to a hotel in Hong Kong. There I discovered slow cooked soy chicken. It’s simple; take chicken thighs, pour soy sauce and sesame oil over and place them in an oven at 350 deg for 30 minutes before turning down the oven to 90 deg and cooking the thighs for 4 hours more. It was amazing and so different!
So to inspire you here are some of my recipes from around the world so you will no longer have the kids saying, “Oh no, chicken again.”
From South East Asia
Lemon Grass Chicken Soup
Prep time 35 minutes
1 large onion finely chopped
10-12 lemon grass stalks
4 pints vegetable stock/ 8 cups
1 clove crushed garlic
¾ 1bl chicken breasts no skin and cut into strips
2 tbps olive oil
Start by peeling the lemon grass stalks until you get the tender white parts that are easy to cut without fraying. Now finely chop them and set to one side. Heat the oil in a large stock pot, add the finely chopped onions and cook for 2-3 minutes. Now add the lemongrass and crushed garlic. Stir for a minute and add the stock, then the chicken strips. Leave on a low heat to let the soup simmer for 20-25 minutes.
When the soup is ready, serve with some chopped chives.
Prep and cook time 1 hour and 20 minutes
1 large chicken (corn fed is best)
3 sprigs fresh thyme
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
4-6 cloves garlic
1 stock cube
1 teaspoon saffron
1 teaspoon paprika
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
Start by cutting the onion into 4 and cut the garlic into halves, cut the stock cube into 4 and one of the lemons into 4. Now place them all into the chicken cavity.
Take the thyme and rosemary and wedge it in the chicken under the skin above the breast.
Sprinkle the saffron on the chicken. With the 2nd lemon, take off the ends and slice into 1 inch slices. Place them on top of the chicken and in between the legs. This gets moisture on the chicken and dissolves the saffron. Place in an oven for 1 hour at 425 deg. It’s that simple.
Prep and cook time 40-50 minutes
4 Chicken breasts
12-16 black olives (Greek olives are best)
3 tbps sundried tomato paste (just wiz sun dried tomatoes and olive oil to make this)
I Tin of chopped tomatoes pureed
¼ Pint vegetable stock
2 Cloves of garlic crushed
2 tbps olive oil
Handful fresh basil leaves
Heat the olive oil in a large pan and sear the chicken for a few minutes on each side. Now add the tomatoes and sundried tomatoes along with the stock, olive and garlic, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 30-40 minutes if there is a bone on the breast or 20-25 minutes if not.
Let the sauce thicken and serve with some fresh basil.
Thai Chicken Curry
There is nothing better than an authentic Thai red curry and it’s simple as the curry pastes can be bought in any Asian section at your local Supermarket. When I am in Bangkok I go to Siam Paragon shopping mall because downstairs is one of the best food halls I have ever seen. I bring back so much food from there it verges on embarrassing. Oh yes I must remember to declare this at US Customs!!!!!
This version is lower in fat as I replace ½ the coconut milk with stock.
4 chicken breasts with skin on or off (off of course no skin, is less fat)
1 large onion finely chopped
100ml vegetable stock (from a cube is fine)
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 inch piece fresh ginger grated
2 tbps Thai red curry paste
2 chilis or as many as you wish
50ml light coconut milk
Handful fresh coriander
In a large pan heat a little olive oil and sweat the onions on a medium heat for 3-5 minutes, add the garlic and then sear the chicken for 2 minutes on each side. Next add the ginger, curry paste and stock. Cook for a minute then add the coconut milk. Simmer on a low heat covered for about 12-15 minutes.
Take off the cover and add the chilis and cook for an additional 5 minutes, take off the heat and add the coriander. Serve with rice.
Next up, stay tuned for my Chicken recipe from Bali!
Daniel Green, the Model Cook is a Celebrity Chef known for his healthy approach to food and living well. With TV, books, magazines and live appearances, Daniel spends his time helping fans to cook better, feel better and live better. He’s also an avid traveler and a self-confessed Foodie.