Today, we are making蜜汁鸡扒饭. Mi Zhi (蜜汁) means honey glaze. Jipa (鸡扒) means chicken steak. We normally use the chicken leg for this dish, and once it is deboned, it becomes a big, thick slab; that’s why we call it chicken steak. Fan (饭) is rice because this dish is often served on top of white rice; that’s how it got the name. You can look at it like our version of teriyaki chicken, the only difference is that we use honey as a sweetener instead of mirin. The recipe is super easy. Let’s get started.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE CHICKEN
- 2 big pieces of de-boned chicken leg (about 500 grams / 1.1lb)
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- Black pepper to taste
- A few shakes of 5 spice powder
- 1.5 tsp of Chinese cooking wine
- 3 cloves of garlic, roughly diced
- 1 inch of ginger, sliced thinly
- 2 scallions, cut into 1-inch-long pieces; lightly crush it before adding it to the chicken.
- 1/4 tsp of baking soda to tenderize the meat
INGREDIENTS FOR THE SAUCE
- 3 tbsp of honey
- 2 tbsp of soy sauce depending on your taste
- 1/4 cup of rice wine (can be replaced by water)
De-bone The Chicken Leg
If you think deboning chicken is too difficult, you can use boneless chicken thigh or chicken cutlet instead. I am using chicken leg quarters.
Take a pair of scissors and cut off the backbone that is attached to the chicken quarters.
Lay the chicken leg skin-side down. Touch it with some pressure to locate the tibia bone inside the drum stick and the femur bone inside the chicken thigh.
Get a sharp knife and slice it open and clean up the tissue to expose these 2 bones.
Then go in with your thumb and forefinger to loosen up all the connections. Break open the middle joint and you should be able to pull the tibia bone out easily.
Continue to cut around the joint with your knife. Keep peeling the meat around the femur bone. Once you get to the end, tuck your finger in and rip the meat off the bone.
Once both chicken legs are de-boned, lay them skin-side down. Roughly cut the chicken by using just the tip of the knife. Don’t cut through the skin though; we just want to cut off some of the tendons so when you pan-fried the chicken, it doesn’t shrink and bulge up too much.
Season the chicken and Make the Sauce
Season the chicken with salt, Black pepper, five-spice powder, rice wine, garlic slices, ginger slices, crushed 2 scallions, and 1/4 tsp of baking soda. Mix well. This needs to marinate for at least 30 minutes, the longer, the better.
While waiting, we can prepare the sauce. In a bowl, combine 3 tbsp of honey, 2 tbsp of soy sauce, 1/4 cup of rice wine. Mix well. You can replace the rice wine with water if you can’t cook with alcohol.
Pan-fry the Chicken
Preheat the cast-iron skillet for a minute. Remove all the aromatics from the chicken.
Switch the heat to medium or medium-low. Add some oil and swirl the oil around.
Place in the chicken skin side down. Cover with a lid to create some steam so you can cook the top part of the chicken. It will take about 5-6 minutes for the skin to become nice and golden.
Flip it to fry the other side for a couple of minutes. Pour in the sauce. The rice wine will evaporate fast as soon as it hits the hot pan so the final dish will not taste like alcohol.
Let the chicken simmer in that sauce for a minute or 2 so it can absorb the flavor. Take the meat out. Let it rest for 5 minutes before cutting.
The honey should naturally thicken into the syrup texture. Pour it into a small bowl.
Slice the chicken and place on top of white rice. Serve with some blanched vegetables on the side. Drizzle honey glaze sauce over. Sprinkle some sesame seeds for the nutty taste. Top a little bit diced scallions as garnish.
The chicken is soft and tender. The sauce is nicely caramelized, tastes sweet and savory, which makes the rice super flavorful too. This can be a perfect lunch to bring to work and it is easily reheatable.