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Braised Chicken Thigh in Sweet and savory dark sauce

You may have encountered this dish in Nonya or Penang restaurants. This recipe uses only a few ingredients and is great for the dinner table.

The whole L-shape thigh meat is suited for braising. The size and cut of meat ensures that the meat will not dry out in the braising process. For thigh meat, I prefer to use the broiler chicken rather than the “kampung” variety. I should add here that generally, chicken cut into small pieces should be stir-fried or steamed. Those in large “KFC” pieces should be braised. 

Gula Melaka and Fish Sauce is a superb sweet-savory combination for many dishes. Add lime for the sours or acidity. You can also use the combination of kecap manis and soy sauce. 

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients

6 pieces of L-shaped chicken drumstick/thigh meat

3 tbsp of light soy sauce

3 tbsp of gula melaka (palm sugar)

1 tbsp of dark sauce

10 cloves of garlic, lightly bruised

1 cinnamon stick 

2 pieces of star anise

2 cups of water

1 tbsp of oil

1 tbsp of corn starch

Coriander leaves for garnishing and lime for for finishing at the table

Method

  1. In a wok, heat up the oil in gentle flame.
  2. Add the cloves of garlic and stir.
  3. Add the cinnamon sitck and star anise. 
  4. After 1 minute, add the Gula Melaka and let it melt and caramelise. 
  5. Add in the chicken and stir. 
  6. Add the dark soy sauce and light soy sauce. 
  7. After 5 minutes, add the water. The amount of water is guided by the need to cover the chicken so that it can be braised properly.
  8. Let it simmer for 40 minutes. 

Towards the end, taste the sauce to get to the right sweet-savory balance that you prefer. The skin should not be tearing as that will be a sign of overcooking. 

Add the flurry of corn starch to thicken this sauce. The sauce should be thick and sticky.

Squeeze some some lime over the plated chicken and garnish with coriander leaves. This dish go very well with white rice and small plate of Sambal Belachan

It will be delicious and comforting. Enjoy. 

Braising in the wok.

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