For this week’s recipe tester, we’re all about Akis’ Sticky Lemon Chicken. If you haven’t come across Akis Petretzikis yet, he has a brilliant YouTube channel which has been given alot of publicity by Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube network. His recipes are pretty simple, and not always authentic, but generally they look pretty tasty, and he’s a joy to watch. Akis is Greek, which is brilliant for spreading the word about Greek food, and also means he has a rather entertaining accent (particularly when he’s talking about mash (-ed potato). Anyways, we love his channel and jumped on there for some supper inspiration the other day. I read a few of the recipe titles out to Charles and it was this Sticky Lemon Chicken which he chose.
Whilst this was technically approached in the same way as my stab at Nigel Slater’s Lemon Curd, I actually made quite a few changes to the basic recipe, as the amount of soy sauce Akis used looked to be both far too salty and ridiculously unhealthy, and cutting that down meant we needed to add more honey to balance out the flavours. Also, we used skinless and boneless chicken thighs instead of breast due to the amount of time the sauce would need to simmer to reduce (and we didn’t want the meat to dry out or become tough), and I also wanted to add some vegetables to make it feel a bit more like a Chinese takeaway. That said, I would have added a chopped pepper had the idea occurred to me sooner! The lemon slices look pretty in the finished dish, but they were far too bitter for me to actually eat! Charles munched his way through all but the very ends seemingly happily – it’s up to you if you fancy trying them!
- 5-6 chicken thighs
- 1 tbsp groundnut oil
- 4 cloves garlic
- Thumb sized piece ginger
- 1 onion
- 1 carrot
- 2 lemons
- 80ml or so dark soy sauce
- 2 tbsp runny honey
- Basmati or wholegrain rice to serve
- Trim the chicken thighs and cut them into reasonably large chunks - large enough that you have to half them to eat them elegantly! Set this aside and wash your chopping board well or grab a new one.
- Grate the garlic and ginger, slice the onion, peel and cut the carrot into quarter discs.
- Slice the lemons into rounds and get the groundnut oil heating up in a large frying pan or wok.
- When the oil is nice and hot, lay the lemon slices flat in the pan and brown them on both sides.
- The juice should start to seep out and the edges of the lemon slices should caramelise. Remove these from the pan and set aside.
- Turn the heat down a little and then add in the onion and carrot and fry these off until they are well on their way to becoming cooked.
- Add the garlic and ginger, being careful not to let either of those burn. Cook out for another 5 to 10 minutes.
- Next, you can fry off the chicken. Try to get some decent colour on it by turning the heat back up. You may wish to add a touch more oil if things are starting to stick.
- Now get your rice cooking, as it will likely need around 15 minutes to be ready to serve up alongside the main event.
- Once the chicken is nicely sealed and coloured, add the vegetables and lemons back into the pan.
- Pour in the soy sauce and honey, and mix everything together. The lemons will continue to flavour and add juice to the sauce, so keep tasting it as it reduces down to make sure you're happy with the flavour balance. You may need to add more soy sauce or honey depending on your taste and how sour the lemons are.
- Cook for a further 10 minutes until the sauce has reduced to a sticky sort of syrup and the chicken is cooked through. Taste again before serving and gobble it up, feeling virtuous for resisting that takeaway!
Excitingly, this was made entirely in our new kitchen, and we’re pretty pleased with the natural lighting and backdrop around the hob area. The splashback was temporary at the time and is now almost finished. Unfortunately, the finished dish is pretty dark and unappetising looking but it really was delicious!