While we were on holiday in France last week, I did my best to cook and eat as much local produce – bought from the local markets – as possible. We feasted on roast Loue chicken, Charolais fillet steaks, Brest sausages and mountains of baguettes piled high with Breton cheeses.
But as the holiday drew to an end I had a hankering for something quintessentially British aka a Chinese (a yearning caused by reading Giles Coren’s account in his book How To Eat Out of his childhood visits to his local Chinese restaurant with his parents north London).
When we arrived home after a 12-hour journey, the first thing I did was pick up the phone to my Giles’ equivalent and ordered a takeaway. And it was rubbish. Truly awful – tough strips of topside beef in a gloopy sauce; leathery chicken chunks swimming in a pool of something orange and radioactive.
But despite this, the hankering was still there, so I turned to Gok Wan’s blog and found this superb recipe from his own dad’s repertoire. It didn’t disappoint (so much so, that my wife and I fancied it again half an hour after we’d cleaned our plates!)
3 tbsp groundnut oil
4 chicken thighs, on the bone, skin removed
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
2cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely sliced
3 spring onions: 2 finely sliced into rounds, 1 sliced into long diagonal pieces
6 tbsp water 1 tbsp honey
4 tbsp light soy sauce
1/2 a fresh red chilli, finely sliced
1. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large wok or frying pan over a high heat. When hot, add the chicken thighs and brown them all over, approx. 4-5 mins. Remove and set aside.
2. Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining oil. Add the garlic, ginger and the 2 finely sliced spring onions. Fry for 2-3 minutes, until just softening.Pour in the water, honey and soy sauce. Increase the heat and bring to the boil.
3. Put the chicken back into the wok/pan and toss to mix with the rest of the ingredients. Put a lid on the wok or cover with foil and cook for 5 minutes.
4. Remove the lid/foil and turn the chicken thighs. They should be nicely caramelised in the reduced liquid. Continue to cook for another 3 mins, until the liquid has reduced to a sticky glaze and the chicken thighs have become dark and glossy.
5. Remove the chicken from the pan and allow to rest for 3 mins. Place the chicken thighs on a serving plate and garnish withthe remaining spring onion and the red chilli. Serve with egg fried rice.