Sticky Tamarind Chicken with Crisp Lettuce

I have a complicated relationship with chicken breast. It’s generally dry and flavorless when you compare it to its dark meat counterpart. My dad, who was not the greatest cook when I was growing up, always made his signature BBQ chicken, which was broiled chicken slathered in bottled BBQ sauce cooked beyond the limits of what a chicken should be cooked. My dad’s cooking abilities as well as my tolerance for chicken breast grew overtime. That being said, I won’t lie. I will generally reach for chicken thighs over breasts 9 out of 10 times. This happened to be my 1 of 10. The recipe is adapted from Melissa Clark‘s latest cookbook DINNER: Changing the Game.

  • 3 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 2.5 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp tamarind paste
  • 1/2 tsp red chile flakes
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 pounds bone-in skin on chicken breasts
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced
  • Handful of cilantro
  • Crisp lettuce leaves (I used Bibb and radicchio)
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together fish sauce, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, tamarind, chile flakes, lime zest and garlic.
  3. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Add chicken to the bowl and turn to coat pieces in the sauce. I marinated the chicken for 8 hours. Arrange the chicken on a sheet pan and poured sauce on top.
  4. Roast the chicken, turning occasionally and cook for 40-50 minutes or until chicken reaches 165°F.
  5. Top the chicken with black pepper, jalapeno slices, and cilantro. Serve over lettuce leaves.

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