Grilled Thai Chicken, Sweet Chili Sauce, and Chocolate Orange Bars

After calling and asking and pestering every Chinese person in my vicinity, I finally managed to track down someone to buy a propane tank from for the grill. Unfortunately, it happened to a legitimate company in Shunyi (Villa Lifestyles) that caters to expats, so a 5kg tank cost RMB270. Ouch. On the plus side, they delivered it, and Shunyi is super far away. I can call them for refills for RMB100, but I have the feeling I can find someone closer and cheaper, now that I have an actual tank.

We found wood chips at April gourmet, so hopefully I’ll be smoking the bacon. Unfortunately, the wuye or apartment maintenance manager, came around while Sawyer was grilling last night and he may have been complaining that grills aren’t allowed. He might also have been saying that we’re not allowed to leave it outside. Or he might have demanded that we grill inside instead of outside. My Chinese is really bad right now I should work on that. But we were scolded in very highly Beijing accented Mandarin, so it remains to be seen if we can actually use the grill again, now that we’ve gone and found and bought the propane.

But it was at least a partial success. I had chicken thighs on hand, and decided to go for a Thai-inspired flavor on the marinade, if only in part to use up some of that “fish” sauce I made.

Southern Thai style marinade
1 tsp black pepper corns
3 cloves garlic
1 thumb ginger
1 Tbs turmeric
1 Tbs fish sauce
1 Tbs oyster sauce
4 Tbs brown sugar

I mashed the pepper, garlic and ginger into a paste in a mortar and pestle, then mixed with the sugar, turmeric, fish and oyster sauce. Then I slathered the legs and let them continue to defrost in the fridge for 4 hours.

Chicken legs in turmeric-garlic marinade

We also tossed on some cut up sweet potato and onions tossed in olive oil in a foil packet for veggies, and served with sticky rice and sweet chili sauce. The vegetables came out great. The chicken thighs…well, I probably should have skinned them, or maybe set the heat lower? Because they flared up and burned. The skins were completely charred. Still tasty, however, and the chili sauce really saved them. And as far as the sticky rice goes? Well, it’s probably the last time I’ll try to make it. Every time since the first, I have been unable to make a good batch. I blame the fact that I never made rice without a rice cooker until a year ago, still always use a rice cooker, and using a pot to cook rice still scares me. So cooking sticky rice in a strainer basket above a pot of boiling water? Seems like it should be simple, but I destroy it every time. Undercooked, over cooked, half undercooked half mushy because it was too close to the water…I give up.

Anyways, the chili dipping sauce was really the best part of dinner, in my opinion. I stumbled across several recipes while looking for marinade ideas, and decided I needed a jar in the frige always.

Sweet Chili Sauce
4 cloves garlic
1 thumb ginger
5 dried red chilies
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup water
2 Tbs cooking wine
3 Tbs fish sauce
2 Tbs corn starch dissolved in 3-4 Tbs cool water.

Dried chilies, garlic and ginger all mashed up

I mashed the ginger, garlic and chilies into a paste with mortar and pestle, then added it to everything but the corn starch in a small pot. I brought this to a boil, then reduced the temp to low, added the corn starch, mixed well and let it simmer and thicken. After five or so minutes, let it cool; serve or keep in a jar in the fridge.

Sweet Chili Sauce. (Darker than usual because my "fish" sauce is soy sauce based)

Because I’ve got a partial sweet tooth and a hollow leg, I also threw together a batch of Orange Chocolate Bars. Someone posted them on one of the forums in Epicurious (yes, I admit, I read cooking forums). I was so intrigued by the idea that I went out and bought chocolate chips and made them immediately.

First, the crust.

1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup powdered sugar
Grated orange zest.
MIx baking powder with flour, blend in butter, then add powdered sugar and zest. Press into the bottom of a pan to make even crust. Bake for 7 minutes at 350F.

Remove crust from oven, pour 1 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips and let them melt. As they melt, use a rubber spatula to spread it evenly.

For the topping:
3 eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbs Orange juice (I added some lemon as well, because the orange I had wasn’t very sweet)
Grated Orange zest
3 Tbs flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

Mix this thoroughly, then carefully pour over the chocolate. Pop it back into the oven at 350F for 20 minutes. It will hopefully brown lightly.
Let it cool, and cut into even squares. I think they’re best after cooling in the fridge for at least an hour, then the chocolate layer cools and isn’t as squishy and messy. But absolutely addictive, and not incredibly sweet.

Like more delicious orange milanos. Seriously tasty.


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