Honey, Garlic and Soya Sauce Chicken

My (Spanish) grandmother makes the best croquettes in the world. The jury is myself and a handful of other family members. I’m certain that we are totally right.

I asked my grandmother for her croquette recipe. Her answer was: I don’t know, I can’t tell you, I never measure anything, I just make them.

Right… I know that doesn’t sound great, but it rings a bell from what is written in my about (aka Hello!) page. This also doesn’t sound great, but the truth is that I cook like that. I know what I want to make, or I make something up as I go along, and I just add ingredients, look and smell as I cook, until I achieve what I want. This obviously means that when the time comes to writing the recipe here, I have a bit of a hard time quantifying precisely what I had done. I know, I know, I have a food blog so this really is not good news. But then life is not perfect.

Not measuring when I cook must be in my genes.

Then one of my (Spanish) aunties tells me that she never follows recipes. She looks at them for inspiration, but then goes off and does her version. This is also what I do, I don’t follow a recipes. I look at them for inspiration and then do my thing.

Not following recipes properly must be in my genes.

How do you cook? Do you follow recipes with precision? Or are you kind of more laid back like me?

Oven baked chicken with honey and soya sauce

Honey soya oven baked chicken

Honey, Garlic and Soya Sauce Chicken

I was inspired by this tofu recipe from Iamafoodblog. I had got back from a long trip to Madrid and was craving Asian food. I had seen the tofu recipe, but I wanted to eat some chicken instead. No offence to tofu, I do like you, even though my local butcher doesn’t. But lets leave that story for another day.

And thus her tofu recipe inspired me to make a chicken recipe instead.

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts, 2 cloves garlic, 3 tablespoons soya sauce, 2 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, 3 scallions, 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil, salt (optional), freshly ground black pepper, roasted sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 180ºC.

Cut the chicken into pieces. I bought mine from the butchers and I got him to not cut them into thin horizontal slices for me, so that the pieces would be thick and juicier. Sprinkle the cornstarch onto a plate. Lightly coat the chicken in the cornstarch. Put in the oven for 30 minutes. Turn them around at half time.

Mix the garlic (crushed), soya sauce, honey, sesame oil and black pepper together in a bowl. Taste to see if you would need to add a pinch of salt. Heat a frying pan or wok and add the mixture. Mix until it bubbles and thickens but be careful that the honey doesn’t caramelise too much until burnt. Add the chicken. Toss around and cook for about 30 seconds.

Serve on some white rice. Add chopped scallions and sprinkle some roasted sesame seeds.

Thank you for reading!

58 Comments

  1. theculinarydepartment 2015-03-01 at 23:51

    Looks and sounds delicious! I’ll try this recipe soon 🙂 I definitely recognize not measuring anything, I just throw in as much as I think is necessary and taste a bit in between!

    Reply
    1. Sofia 2015-03-02 at 21:25

      Looks like not measuring is the best 😉

      Reply
  2. Sunny 2015-03-02 at 00:33

    Hey Sofia, hmm it really depends. If I’m cooking a new dish, I like to more or less follow a recipe, but I also improvise because a lot of the times I don’t have every ingredient listed in the recipe. This one looks SO yum! I’ll have to give it a go ASAP. One question tho: do I need cornstarch? What happens if I don’t have any? Do you think anything could replace that?

    Reply
    1. Sofia 2015-03-02 at 13:34

      You could replace it with flour I would say. Usually cornstarch is added to thicken sauces – but in this case I just “felt like” coating the chicken with it, so normal flour or even tapioca flour would do the trick. Or not adding any flour would be ok too. For thickening purposes cornflour or corn starch is better than flour because it has better thickening powers, i.e. you need a lot less of it to give the same effect..

      Reply
      1. Sunny 2015-03-03 at 21:26

        Hey Sofia, thanks for the explanation! I’ll try with flour then 🙂

        Reply
  3. Bunny Eats Design 2015-03-02 at 01:33

    I don’t cook with precisions. All my recipe measurements are approximate but I do like to jot down roughly what I’ve used so that I can tweak in future. I find this type of cooking very relaxing. Which is why baking is always a struggle for me. I find baking and it’s precision to be too much like work.

    Reply
    1. Sofia 2015-03-02 at 21:28

      I agree, even most of what I bake are inventions of mine, but I do do it while thinking, hmmm maybe I should find a recipe for this and follow it precisely… It looks like us good cookers and eaters dont like precision in general! xx

      Reply
  4. Dalo 2013 2015-03-02 at 01:57

    That dish looks so good. I’ve been in my “last week in Seattle” mode so I want to make sure I eat all the perishable food prior to leaving for HK…which leads to some really unsatisfying meals 🙂

    I admire people who have a general idea of what they want to cook (ideas from a recipe), but they rely on themselves and the ingredients around them to ‘play around’ with the dish until it is perfect…or close to 🙂

    Reply
    1. Sofia 2015-03-02 at 13:31

      Enjoy your last week there! Wait, does this mean that all your meals in HK are satisfying 😉

      Reply
      1. Dalo 2013 2015-03-02 at 17:30

        The less cooking I do, the better 🙂

        Reply
        1. Sofia 2015-03-02 at 21:28

          So who does it?

          Reply
          1. Dalo 2013 2015-03-02 at 21:32

            Ha, ha…the little dumpling restaurant is one 🙂

            Reply
            1. Sofia 2015-03-02 at 21:34

              You mean in HK? Not in Seattle.

              Reply
              1. Dalo 2013 2015-03-02 at 22:17

                In Seattle, I do my own cooking…it actually is not too bad. Simple and healthy 🙂 HK too I generally cook simple, although great restaurants there, but in China always eat out at restaurants, cheap and delicious!

                Reply
                1. Sofia 2015-03-02 at 22:21

                  You’ll have to show me what you make!

                2. Dalo 2013 2015-03-02 at 22:52

                  Will do ~ when will you arrive in HK?!? 🙂

                3. Sofia 2015-03-02 at 22:55

                  I’ll let you know!

  5. Mabel Kwong 2015-03-02 at 03:03

    That looks like very delicious soy sauce chicken, Sofia. Looks like something you find in Malaysia. My mum is one who doesn’t like to follow recipes. She’ll glance at a recipe and then make the dish however she likes – usually it turns out to be really good the first time she makes it. Then if she tries to make the dish for the second or third time, it tastes different… 🙂

    Reply
    1. Sofia 2015-03-02 at 21:29

      So is the 2nd and 3rd time better? 🙂

      Reply
      1. Mabel Kwong 2015-03-04 at 12:36

        No. No. I always preferred the dish when my mum cooked it for the first time. She usually ends up putting more sauce on it when she cooks it again, which I am not a huge fan of 😀

        Reply
  6. Lily @ChloeAsh 2015-03-02 at 04:02

    My mom doesn’t follow recipes when cooking either! So it’s more of a little bit of this and that, until you get the taste you like. HAHA! For me though, I follow the recipe when it comes to baking only and then tweak it a little to suit my taste.

    Reply
    1. Sofia 2015-03-02 at 21:30

      From what I’ve seen throughout the years in your blog, when you have put up some food photos, your mum and you must be such awesome cooks!!! xx

      Reply
      1. Lily @ChloeAsh 2015-03-03 at 03:21

        Aaw thank you! That’ll be my mom not me. I’m still learning 🙂

        Reply
  7. Darya 2015-03-02 at 07:36

    Looks delicious! Concerning following (or not) recipes, it depends! If baking I tend to follow recipes closely, except if I feel really confident with a substitution I know will work. With other kinds of recipes I am a bit more free, but though I enjoy tweaking recipes, I also enjoy trying to reproduce precisely what has inspired me. So really… it depends!

    Reply
    1. Sofia 2015-03-02 at 21:32

      Maybe also sometimes, if you are making a foreign recipe (which you do a lot), it also depends on what ingrededient you can find (or not) so you sometimes have to substitute it! Bisous

      Reply
  8. Spanish Kitchenette (@spanishkitchene) 2015-03-02 at 08:03

    Cooking “a ojo” is not my style unless I know exactly what to do or I have done that recipe so many times. I have to tell that my mother does the same as your grandmother does. She always says: “ai hija, no sé, échale a ojo” hahaha! It is quite frustrating if you are trying to learn how to cook or try any new recipe 🙂

    Reply
    1. Sofia 2015-03-02 at 21:33

      Haha I love it, yeah I do it al ojo! But I’m sure you can do lots like that now 🙂

      Reply
  9. pianolearner 2015-03-02 at 11:14

    This post is perfectly timed. i am in the middle of a post about a meal I made which was inspired by a cookbook but was a case of bunging everything in quantities that seemed about right.

    Reply
    1. Sofia 2015-03-02 at 21:34

      Please remind me to read it! (am going to have dinner now 😉 )

      Reply
  10. Helen @ Scrummy Lane 2015-03-02 at 11:16

    Oh, Sofia, this is hilarious! My goodness, we were definitely on the same wavelength yesterday!!
    The blog is looking great by the way … I like the new design!

    Reply
    1. Sofia 2015-03-02 at 13:28

      Thanks Helen 🙂 Yeah, I looked in bloglovin just after I posted last night, and I saw your photo and thought it was fantastic, great minds think alike haha

      Reply
  11. chef mimi 2015-03-02 at 16:32

    This looks great – simple and tasty! I don’t think I could follow a recipe unless someone had a gun on me!!! And no, I don’t measure either.

    Reply
    1. Sofia 2015-03-02 at 21:35

      You are like me then 🙂

      Reply
  12. Jess @ What Jessica Baked Next 2015-03-02 at 17:57

    This chicken looks amazing! Love the flavours – the honey and garlic is just such a perfect (and delicious) pairing! 😀 Missed reading your blog – really like the new design, Sofia!

    Reply
    1. Sofia 2015-03-02 at 21:36

      It is a great mix of flavours. Aw thanks, I have to say I’m so short of time but I love catching up on your delicious cakes via instagram 😉

      Reply
  13. maamej 2015-03-03 at 08:59

    Looks delicious, especially with sesame seeds. I improvise if I’m familiar with a particular technique & understand how different proportions of ingredients will work, but I follow a recipe if I want to try something completely new. When I cook African food I almost always have to modify it to suit my own preference. I think the ability to improvise and get good results only comes with experience. My son had some disasters when he tried to follow the Jamie Oliver splash of this & dollop of that technique without really understanding what he was doing.

    Reply
    1. Sofia 2015-03-03 at 16:19

      Hehehe maybe you’re right, you have to know what you’re doing to do the Jamie Oliver technique!
      In what way do you modify African food to your preference?

      Reply
      1. maamej 2015-03-03 at 22:38

        The African food I cook is from Ghana, & I learned from my son’s dad. Mostly I make things less fishy. They like to mix fish and meat, and add strong flavors like dried, smoked fish and prawn stock cubes, which I’m not so keen on. Also I use leaner cuts of meat, no offal, not as much salt. I only cook a few of the easier dishes, some are quite complicated, & beyond my skill, although delicious .

        Reply
      2. maamej 2015-03-03 at 22:41

        Oh and my son’s mistake was putting in about 5 times as many herbs as needed in a Jamie inspired pasta sauce. Blech. I hold JO responsible for his loss of interest in cooking 😉

        Reply
  14. ericrynne 2015-03-04 at 21:09

    Wow, some of my Local Honey would be great with this. This is definitely an award winning dish. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  15. Liz 2015-03-05 at 05:54

    This looks divine! Exactly how I want my protein to taste 🙂 Am excited to make your recipe. Though I’d definitely more in the “throw it together and punt” camp than I am the “follow recipe exactly” one. Will try with yours, though, as it looks perfect and not to be improved on.

    Reply
    1. Sofia 2015-03-06 at 13:41

      How scientific of you, yep, we like protein to taste like this 🙂 Improvise on this recipe then! xx

      Reply
  16. Kiss & Make-up 2015-03-06 at 13:08

    Ya know, I think that if I replace the chicken with tofu and really marinate it in that mixture I might be on to something :-O

    Reply
    1. Sofia 2015-03-06 at 13:40

      You can definitely replace it with tofu and marinate it… I’ve already done it and it’s also great!

      Reply
  17. Pingback: Meat Free any Day | pianolearner

  18. Karen 2015-03-13 at 21:27

    I’m like you and don’t measure unless I’m creating a recipe to share on my blog. I use recipes as inspiration and I’ll be using your recipe tonight but on chicken meatballs…it sounds great.

    Reply
    1. Sofia 2015-03-13 at 21:28

      What an honour, and on chicken meatball sounds really delicious!

      Reply
      1. Karen 2015-03-13 at 23:21

        We enjoyed the recipe…I like it a little spicy so I added a little chili sauce. Thank you for your inspiration. 😀

        Reply
        1. Sofia 2015-03-14 at 16:38

          Thanks so much for telling me about it Karen, you’ve really put a smile on my face 🙂

          Reply
  19. Pemberley Cup & Cakes by Rosa 2015-03-13 at 21:43

    You know measuring is my thing! 😉 But whenever I ask my mum for this or that recipe she answers me back just as your grandmother does. It drives me crazy… 😛 I usually follow the recipe the first time and then I adapt it to my style and my liking.
    This chicken is seriously something to consider. I love it <3

    Reply
    1. Sofia 2015-03-13 at 21:44

      Ah yes but your cakes are serious stuff, very high level. Measuring needed there! <3

      Reply
    1. Sofia 2015-03-15 at 00:14

      Haha I’m sure you two would get along grandly!

      Reply
  20. Patty Nguyen 2015-03-30 at 21:01

    Of course you’re right about your grandmother’s croquettes! And all great cooks just cook until it tastes right. No measurements necessary!

    Reply
    1. Sofia 2015-03-30 at 23:09

      Of course! 🙂

      Reply

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *