This easy Honey Ginger Indonesian Chicken features tender, juicy breasts and a sweet, sticky, far-east inspired sauce. It’s beyond delicious and comes together in right around 30 minutes!
If you’ve been following The Café for a while, you might recall that every now and then Scott will say that a dish “is like candy”. It doesn’t have to be something sweet but in his language, that phrase would be translated as “irresistibly and incredibly delicious”. This past week I presented him with a bowl of this Honey Ginger Indonesian Chicken served with fragrant jasmine rice, cilantro, crunchy cucumbers and thinly sliced, sweet bell peppers.
When he laid eyes on it, he said “Wow, this looks amazing!” And when he took the first bite, he gave it his ultimate seal of approval and declared “This is like candy!”
A 30-minute meal!
I loved that he loved this dish so much because it’s SO easy to put together. You can have the whole thing made, start to finish in right around 30 minutes. That makes it perfect for a busy weeknight dinner, but it’s also great for entertaining because you can make it in advance and everyone seems to enjoy Asian cuisine.
The recipe starts with a simple rub for the chicken breasts. It’s made from flavorful ingredients that are great to stock in your pantry for easy, delicious meals like this Honey Ginger Indonesian Chicken. Just combine brown sugar, garlic salt, ground coriander and smoked paprika (be sure to check out the Café Tips below if you’re not familiar with ground coriander and/or smoked paprika.
For the chicken, I used the same technique that I employ in my Juicy, Tender Chicken Breasts recipe. It’s a super simple technique that creates delicious, (and as the name states) juicy, tender chicken. The spice-rubbed breasts are sautéd in a bit of oil and butter until golden then removed to a clean plate. They won’t be done inside but that will come later.
Next the delicious sauce ingredients are added to the pan and simmered briefly until thickened and fragrant. The chicken goes back into the bubbling sauce, the pan is covered and the heat is turned off. This will allow the chicken to finish cooking in the hot sauce without overcooking, which happens so often with lean chicken breasts.
That’s pretty much it. I like to serve this Honey Ginger Indonesian Chicken with hot steamed jasmine rice, crisp, chunky cucumbers and thinly sliced mini bell peppers in varying shades. It would also be delicious with roasted or steamed broccoli or broccolini. And if you prefer noodles to rice, just cook up some Udon or ramen noodles to enjoy with it.
Although this recipe is quite different, it was inspired by an Indonesian Ginger Chicken recipe from an Ina Garten cookbook. I haven’t made her recipe for years, but it was hauntingly delicious and I’ve never forgotten the wonderful flavor. It was made with skin-on chicken pieces and baked for an hour in the oven. I decided to come up with a dish with some of the same ingredients but a bit healthier (with lean chicken breasts) and quicker (just 30 minutes).
Put this “candy” on the menu soon! It’s quicker than running out for Asian take-out and, I think everyone will agree, way… better!
Cafe Tips for this Honey Ginger Indonesian Chicken
- This recipe will serve 4, if using smaller chicken breasts, and 6 if using a larger size. I like the presentation better with smaller chicken breasts. It can be difficult to find the smaller breasts, but often producers will portion their chicken with the same number of pieces in each package. I look for the packages with the lowest weights so I end up with smaller portions.
- If your chicken breasts are very large you can slice them in half, horizontally or just cook them a little longer (directions in the recipe).
- The spice rub for the chicken in this recipe calls for ground coriander and smoked paprika, both spices you’ll find in the spice section of any larger grocery store.
- Ground coriander is made by grinding the seeds of the coriander (also called cilantro) plant. Don’t worry though, if you’re not a cilantro fan. The seeds taste nothing like the plant. Coriander seeds have complex, warm, nutty and citrusy taste and add a delicious layer of flavor to so many international dishes. The coriander seed is commonly used in Middle Eastern, African, Indian, Asian and Mexican cuisines.
- Smoked paprika (also known as pimenton) is made from chili peppers that are smoked over oak fires. When you open a jar of smoked paprika, there’s a wonderful outdoorsy aroma that greets you. The only thing you need to be careful of is to make sure the label doesn’t say “hot” smoked paprika (which can be really spicy). I love this Frontier Co-op Smoked Paprika and order mine online. It’s sweet and mild, yet has delicious flavor.
- The smoked paprika isn’t distinctively noticeable in this recipe but it’s part of the wonderful complex flavor of the dish. It also helps the chicken breasts to take on a pretty color without having to cook them too long.
- This recipe also calls for hoisin sauce. Hoisin sauce is a common Asian ingredient that you’ll find at most grocery stores in the Asian section. It will last for months in the refrigerator so you don’t have to worry about it going bad. Hoisin sauce is also sometimes called Chinese Barbecue Sauce. It’s a delicious, thick, fragrant sauce that’s made from mashed fermented soybeans, garlic, vinegar, sesame oil, chiles, and honey or brown sugar. It adds rich complex flavor to this Honey Ginger Indonesian Chicken.
- I like to garnish this dish with Tuxedo Sesame Seeds which is simply a fun name for a mixture of black and white sesame seeds.
Thought for the day:
God elevated him to the place of highest honor
and gave him the name above all other names,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
What we’re listening to for inspiration:
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear your results, adaptations and ideas for variations.
- ½ cup honey
- ½ cup low-sodium soy sauce
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 3 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
- 6 medium cloves garlic finely minced
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts about 1 1/2 pounds 4 medium-size breasts
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- sliced baby cucumbers if desired
- sliced mini bell peppers if desired
Combine the sauce ingredients in a medium size bowl, stir to combine and set aside. Don’t worry if the mixture is a little lumpy at this point.
Combine the rub ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
Place the chicken on a large plate and sprinkle evenly on both sides with the the rub.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and the butter and swirl the pan until it’s coated and the butter mixture is hot and bubbly. Add the chicken, smooth side down. Chicken should sizzle a bit when it hits the oil. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until underside is a nice golden color. Turn and cook for another 1 minute. (The chicken will not be done at this point, but will finish cooking in the sauce.) Remove chicken from the pan to a clean plate.
Add the sauce to the pan and bring to a boil. Cook uncovered for 3-4 minutes until sauce starts to thicken. Add the chicken, cover and turn off the heat. Allow the pan to sit for 10 minutes before uncovering and serving. (If your chicken breasts are really large, either slice them in half horizontally before cooking OR let them cook in the bubbling sauce for 1 minute before covering the pan and turning off the heat.)
Serve with jasmine rice, sliced cucumbers and mini bell peppers. Garnish with sesame seeds if desired.
See Café Tips above in the post for more detailed instructions and tips.