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Grilled Chinese Chicken

Chinese BBQ flavours always bring back memories of pre-marinated meats sold at supermarkets which we used to buy and stick on the BBQ. Chinese flavours are made up of gentle spices, a rich aroma of aniseed and the savoury salty flavours from the soy-based marinade. There was always sweetness with the saltyness (our parents never liked this sweet and salty business). Strangely I always wondered why it always had a vibrant red colour, thinking it was obviously some sort of secret ingredient all the way from the far east that gave colour and flavour.

Turns out it is just red food colouring! Still as far as we are concerned this is an essential ingredient in this marinade. As they say you eat with your eyes and the red colour adds a vibrance and exoticness to the dish, and probably a hint of beetroot flavour depending on the brand of food colouring you use.

This recipe is for a very simple marinade which was quickly mixed together and we used chicken thighs which were marinated over night. The flavours are sweet, salty and slightly spicy but utterly delicious once cooked. We grilled (broiled) the chicken on a high heat then glazed it with more of the marinade until it goes sticky and delicious. We served it on a sizzling platter for added appeal (and to keep the chicken warm also).

This kind of marinade works best on the BBQ and I used to love chinese ribs which were marinated in this flavour. We simply served this with stir fried noodles but the action was in the chicken!!

Grilled Chinese Chicken
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Delicious, vibrant marinade for chicken, meat or pork that is a treat for the eyes and taste buds
Recipe type: Main Course
Serves: 2
For the Marinade
  • 1 tsp garlic puree
  • 1 tsp ginger puree
  • 1 tsp chinese 5 spice mix
  • ½ cup light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp Mirin (sweet cooking wine)
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • ¼ tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp red food colouring (optional)
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  1. Simply mix all the marinade ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Save approximately 1 cup for basting
  3. Taste the marinade to see if it has too much salt or sugar (the mixture should taste savoury with a slight sweetness)
  4. Marinade the chicken for a few hours or ideally over night
  5. Preheat the oven to 220 Degrees C
  6. Cook the chicken in a baking tray for the first 15-20 minutes turning over occasionally.
  7. For the last 10 minutes of the cooking grill on a high heat and baste the chicken until a thick glaze forms on top.
  8. Allow to rest for 5, serve & enjoy
To get an even better glaze, pre cook the marinade in a pan until it chickens up, then allow to cool before marinading the chicken.

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1 Comment

  1. These look amazing! I am salivating already. Will definitely try these out

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