Macanese African Chicken

MACANESE AFRICAN CHICKEN SERVES 4

This “African” chicken is not African, but rather a Macanese classic blended with Chinese and Spanish spices. Thanks to Macau’s status as a former Portuguese colony, its cuisine is made up of an amalgamation of ingredients that the Portuguese sailors brought with them when they established their first settlement in the 1500s, and now the cuisine incorporates influences from Europe, Africa, India, Malaysia, Latin America, and, of course, China. The island—along with Hong Kong—was ceded to China in 1999, and today Macau is the world’s most profitable gambling destination, welcoming the Chinese (and their propensity for gambling) by the boatload. With gambling and casino culture comes a lively appetite for entertainment and dining, so many of the world’s most famous chefs have recently made their way there.

INGREDIENTS:

FOR THE CHICKEN:

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons minced shallots

1 teaspoon hot paprika

1 tablespoon kosher salt

2 bay leaves, crumbled

1 large chicken (approximately 4 pounds), quartered

2 tablespoons olive oil

 

FOR THE SAUCE:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup chopped shallots

8 garlic cloves, chopped

1 teaspoon hot paprika

1 16-ounce can coconut milk

½ cup chicken broth

¼ cup smooth peanut butter

Perfect Steamed Rice, for serving

PREPARE THE CHICKEN: In a large bowl, mix together the garlic, shallots, paprika, kosher salt, and bay leaves. Add the chicken and rub the marinade all over it. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or as long as overnight.

MAKE THE SAUCE: Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic, and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the paprika, coconut milk, chicken broth, and peanut butter and simmer over low heat until blended, about 10 minutes. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a large heavy skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Remove the chicken from the marinade and sauté until it is browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a baking dish and spoon the sauce evenly over it. Bake for about 30 minutes, until bubbly. Serve with steamed rice alongside.

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