This is my take on my Gran’s Hong Kong Chicken and as we all know, nothing beats your own Granny’s cooking – even if the name is misleading.
This is literally finger-licking good, because you WILL end up using your hands to get into the savoury stickiness surrounding the chicken – it’s sticky and gloopy and salty and sweet and tangy… kind of like Marmite and jam fell in love and had a beautiful, if freakish, baby. It’s like Black Gold and if I could figure out a way to mass-produce and bottle it, I’m fairly certain I would be a gazillionaire (only fairly because I would probably gobble up all the stock before it reached a shop shelf).
(Talking of Marmite and Jam – apparently, there’s a huge Marmite vs. Jam thing going on. Like Team Angelina vs. Team Jennifer. Or Team Edward vs. Team Jacob. Maybe this recipe will bridge the gap? Anway, there are lots of amazing artists out there using Marmite and Jam in their masterpieces, so just imagine what they could do with this Hong Kong sauce!).
As for the name: this dish has nothing to do with Hong Kong despite the soy sauce Asian factor. According to the PE Herald, it originated in Port Elizabeth – which is so richly bizarre because half my family lives in PE, and I was there just last week! I will have to go back and research this some more, methinks.
Here’s an excerpt from the news article by Gillian McAinsh:
For enough Hong Kong Chicken to give four people deliciously sticky fingers:
One chicken’s worth of chicken parts with skin and bones (you could use about 500g skinless, boneless breasts instead but it will of course be less rich)
~200ml Soy Sauce – not the fancy flavoured kinds, or speciality ones all the way from Asia. I’m talking the cheap local ones that don’t come with fancy descriptive terms on the front.
A handful or so of brown sugar
2 teaspoons chopped fresh garlic
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. In a roasting tin, mix the sauce, sugar and garlic. There should be quite a lot of undissolved sugar in the bottom still (look at the spoon in the photo). It should look like a lovely salty night sky with little twinkling garlic constellations… launch the chicken portions into this starry starry night, turning to coat them all over.
Then, pop the lot into the hot oven with the chicken ugly-side (non-skin-side) up – this is so that when you turn it right way up before serving it will look better. Bake for an hour, turning the chicken once about halfway through. Toss the chicken a bit to coat in the by-now thick syrupy sticky sauce. Serve with something which will help get all the sauce off the plate – it is not to be wasted! If there’s any left call me and I’ll help you out. Lick your plate clean if necessary. Nobody will look down on you for doing this, because they will all be doing it too. Finger-licking lip-smackingly good!
PS: I’ve even tried the sauce on toast, to check if it was any good as a Marmite/jam substitute – I’m happy to report that it’s even better.
PPS: This chicken makes a-MA-zing leftovers for lunch over Fong Kong couscous (recipe coming soon!) with crispy steamed veggies.