“We believed in our grandmother’s cooking more fervently than we believed in God.”
~ Jonathan Safran Foer
When we were small children, we referred to excursions to my maternal grandparents’ home for dinner as ‘visiting the Palace’.
My grandmother, Marga, would set an elegant table, with a lace tablecloth, a decorative floral arrangement, soft linen napkins, her antique dinner service and the best glasses and china.
Clean hands, neat clothes, good manners, using the correct cutlery in the proper order and ‘sitting up straightly’ were mandatory requirements. But we never cared. Our grandfather, Cedric (or Ceddie to us) would always make us laugh, especially when Marga was out in the kitchen. The he would be the one in trouble, while we all sat quiet and innocent-eyed.
Growing up in big-country-town Brisbane in the 1970s, my grandmother’s food was a revelation. She was always experimenting with new flavours from around the globe. It was incredibly exciting.
Her honey-soy marinade made chicken taste out-of-this-world, and we were totally addicted to it. It became a firm family favourite, and a dish that we all added to our own repertoires as we grew up and began cooking for ourselves.
This marinade also works very well for tofu and other kinds of meats.
I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
1/2 cup soy sauce (make sure to choose gluten-free or substitute with Tamari if gluten is an issue for you), 1/4 cup of honey, 1/4 cup of sherry (you can use white wine or rice wine too), 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, 1 teaspoon of Chinese five spice powder, 3 garlic cloves – crushed, 2 inch piece of root ginger – peeled and finely grated, 1 kilogram of chicken pieces – your choice. (You could use drumsticks, wings, thighs, mixed pieces, skin on or off.)
Hint – If you like things spicy, feel free to add a little chili to the marinade too.
In a bowl mix together the marinade ingredients.
Layer the chicken pieces into a shallow non-metallic bowl, and pour the marinade over. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours.
The longer you can leave the chicken in the marinade, the better the flavour will be. Overnight is fabulous. Remember to turn the chicken at least once so that the meat marinates evenly. The meat will darken as it takes up the marinade. This is completely normal.
To cook the meat, remove from marinade. If cooking in the oven, bake at 160 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven (350 degrees fahrenheit) for 30 to 35 minutes.
If cooking on the barbeque, cook over medium heat, basting with extra marinade and turning frequently. This will result in a stickier chicken than cooking in the oven, but is also more work. 🙂
Serve with lots of fresh vegetables. Also goes well with rice.