Malaysian Spicy Chicken

I prefer chicken thighs to breasts, both the texture and the flavour. Malaysians always use thighs to make their famous satays with peanut sauce, which we ate often at the street stalls when we were posted to Kuala Lumpur in the 1980s.

This quick and easy Malaysian recipe also uses chicken thighs. Serve it with steamed rice and a crunchy cucumber, onion and coriander salad, perhaps with some halved cocktail tomatoes added. Warm roti bread also goes well.

1 kg boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Marinade:
¼ cup tamarind paste
2 Tbs honey
1 Tbs vegetable oil
1 Tbs grated ginger
1 tsp five spice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp curry powder
½ tsp cardamom
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Garnish:
Fresh lime wedges
1 red chilli, sliced on the diagonal
Fresh chopped coriander
½ cup crispy fried shallots (available from Asian shops and some supermarkets)

Combine marinade ingredients, add the chicken pieces, trimmed if necessary and halved or left whole. Mix well then cover and refrigerate overnight, or for at least a couple of hours.

Preheat oven to 180°C. Arrange chicken pieces in one layer in a shallow baking tin and cook for 30-40 minutes, turning once, until browned and cooked through.

Transfer chicken to a serving plate, drizzle over any liquid from the pan and garnish with the limes, chilli, coriander and fried shallots. Serve with rice.

Serves 4-6

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