Monday, March 19, 2012

Chinese Marinade

I love Chinese food, but Chinese for six is not always in the budget.
Instead of going over budget, I make my own.
This week, I found baby bok choy at Sam's Club.
I could not resist making a plate of Chinese food to go with it.
So this is my version of Chinese food, no wok needed.

The marinade I am going to show you is amazingly versatile.
You could marinate beef, pork, fish, tofu and any cut of chicken in this marinade.

The board of ingredients:
  • Low Sodium Soy ( MSG free if you can find it)
  • Fresh Ginger
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Brown Sugar
  • Lemon Juice
  • Corn Starch
  • Chicken Tenders
  • Rice

Let's start with the garlic and ginger.
Garlic is a pain to peel so I smash it.
 Lay a clove down on the cutting board, lay your knife blade over the garlic and then press carefully.
The clove will smash and you can easily peel away the papery skin.

Then chop the garlic into a fine dice.

Gather the garlic up a bit and add a generous pinch of kosher salt on top.
The salt will act as an abrasive and break down the garlic.

Do you see the garlic in the circle below?
That is the goal here.
We want garlic that has been made into a paste for the marinade.
Put the flat side of your knife over some of the garlic and salt.

Then while you are carefully pressing down on the knife blade, pull the knife towards you.
The blade will press the salt into the garlic bruising and smashing it...turning it into a paste.
You have to run the blade over the garlic a few times before you get the paste.
But patience and a bit of practice will be rewarded.

Use the edge of a spoon to peel the ginger.
Using a vegetable peeler takes off too much of the root.
Use a knife to get any knobs or areas the spoon cannot peel.

Use a micro plane to grate the ginger.
If making a paste with the garlic is challenging, then you can grate in on the micro plane.

Now for the marinade.
Add the lemon juice and brown sugar to a bowl.

Add the soy sauce...


and ginger.
Give it a stir and the marinade is ready to go.

Put your chicken in an oven proof dish.

Pour the marinade over the chicken.
At this point, you could cover it and stick it in the fridge for up to 8 hours.
Since I am using tiny little tenders, I am just going to bake this immediately.

Bake for twenty minutes.

Now let's make the sauce.
Remove the chicken from the baking dish and pour the marinade into a saucepan.

Add a little less than two tablespoons of corn starch to a small bowl.
If you like a really thick sauce use a full two tablespoons.
I personally think about one and a half tablespoons makes the perfect sauce.

Add enough COLD water to dissolve the starch.
Stir until you remove all the lumps.

Bring the marinade to a boil over medium high heat.

Add the corn starch to the boiling marinade and stir.
The marinade should thicken within moments.
Immediately remove it from the heat.
Just a quick note about science.
If you added warm water to the corn starch and then poured it into the boiling water, you would get lumps and your sauce would not thicken properly.

Spoon the sauce over your rice and chicken.
I promise this will satisfy your Chinese food craving.

Chinese Chicken


1/2 Cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce
4 Cloves Fresh Garlic, Minced
3 Teaspoons Fresh Ginger, Grated
6 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
4 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 Pound Chicken Tenders or Protein of Choice*
2 Tablespoons Corn Starch
Cooked White Rice


1.   Preheat oven to 350° F.
2.  Add soy sauce, garlic, ginger, lemon juice, and brown sugar to a bowl and mix well.
3.  Pour over chicken and bake for 20 minutes.
4.  Remove chicken from baking dish and pour marinade into a small sauce pan.
5.  Bring marinade to boil over medium high heat.  Dissolve cornstarch in COLD water.
6.  Pour corn starch in boiling marinade and stir until thickened.  Remove from heat immediately. 
7.  Spoon sauce over chicken and rice.  Enjoy.

* Please adjust cooking time and temperature for other proteins.

For a printer friendly version of this recipe click here. I am linking to Foody Fridays at Rattlebridge Farm.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice post. If you like Chinese food, you might like my take on Sichuan chicken.