When the millennium arrived we were island hopping in the Philippines. One common thread throughout was the Filipino love of a good barbecue. From the street-side vendors with small grills, to massive pavilions seating hundreds, we found superb grilled food everywhere.
Chicken heads, known colloquially as “helmets” and the three-toed chicken legs, nicknamed “Adidas” – not because they can run fast, but because of their resemblance to the logo – are all on offer. After diners select their cut, it is grilled in front of them and the still-sizzling skewer is dipped into a sweet and sour sauce. The result? Succulent chicken, with crispy skin and tasty meat – just the way it should be.
Filipino crispy chicken with bok choy
- olive oil
- 4 chicken drumsticks
- 4 chicken breasts
- 10ml (2 tsp) sea salt
- 5ml (1 tsp) pepper
- 5ml (1 tsp) lime zest
- 1ml (¼ tsp) hot paprika
- 2,5ml (½ tsp) dried thyme leaves
- 30ml (2 tbsp) sugar
- 125ml (½ cup) water
- 10ml (2 tsp) cornflour
- 30ml (2 tbsp) soy sauce
- 15ml (1 tbsp) rice vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, diced
- 2,5ml (½ tsp) dried chilli flakes
- 2,5ml (½ tsp) salt
- zest of 1 lemon
- 4 large whole bok choy
- peanut oil
- 3 garlic cloves, diced
- 45ml (3 tbsp) teriyaki sauce
- 1 large chunk tofu, drained and cubed
- sesame oil
- chilli powder
- egg noodles, cooked
Preheat the oven to 220° C.
Rub the olive oil all over the chicken pieces.
Mix the salt, pepper, lime zest, paprika and thyme together and rub evenly over the chicken.
Place in one layer in a large baking tray, skin-side up, and bake for 25 minutes.
While the chicken is cooking, prepare the dipping sauce. Bring the sugar and water to the boil in a small saucepan, stirring until the sugar is melted. Add a teaspoon or two of cold water to the cornflour. Mix it into a paste and then slowly stir it back into the sugar water. Add the soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, chilli, salt and lemon zest. Bring to the boil, stirring until it thickens.
Turn the chicken over and bake for a further 15 minutes. Then turn back to skin-side up and grill until the skin is crisp and browned, for about 3 – 4 minutes.
Just before the chicken is ready to serve, cut the bottom off the bok choy and break into separate leaves. Wash well and spin dry. Heat the oil in the wok and add the garlic. Stir-fry for 15 seconds, then add the bok choy. Stir-fry until just wilted, about 1 – 2 minutes. Add the teriyaki sauce and tofu and stir-fry until heated through. Remove from the heat and sprinkle with sesame oil and chilli powder to taste. Spoon over some egg noodles.
Serve the chicken with the bok choy, noodles and bowls of dipping sauce on the side.