New Recipes

Spicy Honey Chicken

Spicy Honey Chicken
Spicy Honey Chicken pictures (2 of 4)

Malaysian cuisine consists of three main flavors: Malay, Chinese, and Indian. I have said it many times, but I love Malay cooking and only wished that I could eat more Malay dishes. Today, I have invited my friend Zurin from Cherry on a Cake to guest post  and she shares my favorite Malay recipe with us: Spicy Honey Chicken. Cherry on a Cake is a delicious food blog with many baking and savory recipes. The recipes are authentic and the food photography is pure eye-candy. Check out Cherry on a Cake and I am sure you will like it.

Like those before me I was ecstatic to be invited to guest post on Bee’s blog Rasa Malaysia. It is the food blog that every food blogger aspires to guest post on. Bee asked me if I would be interested. Was she kidding?! If there is a hole in my roof I think I just made it…

Hers is one of the first blogs I scrolled through in my early days of blogging and still follow silently because my jaw hangs each time I stop by. Everything seems professional, the recipes precise, the photography perfect and most of all her repertoire of dishes are endless. It was and still is sheer inspiration. And here I am now making my little mark and taking up a teeny space on the famous food blog of Rasa Malaysia. Imagine that!

Spicy Honey Chicken is quite akin to the Malay Ayam Masak Merah (red cooked chicken). In both, tomato ketchup is one of the main ingredients used. It is the Malay version of a Chinese sweet and sour chicken.

Ayam Masak Merah and Spicy Honey Chicken are relatively “modern” dishes. These two dishes go back only as far as the Western tomato ketchup became a popular condiment in our households and when, after much dipping, we decided to incorporate it into our cooking as an ingredient. Hence, the Ayam Masak Merah was born followed closely by Spicy Honey Chicken when honey too began to be used in our cooking.

So these were not dishes I grew up eating when I was a child. It was only in later years that it amassed popularity and became a dish that was discovered to pair well with a Rice Biryani or Nasi Minyak and was thus served at special occasions, particularly weddings.

Where most Malay dishes including Ayam Masak Merah (Red Cooked Chicken) use large amounts of onions or shallots to give sweetness and to bulk up the sauce Honey Spiced Chicken does not. This dish has very little sauce or gravy unlike a curry or sambal dish…which is quite uncharacteristic because sauce or gravy in our world serves only one purpose. To drown our rice in.

Lets face it. Rice. Is. Bland.

But I suppose we have compromised our love of sauce and sambal and have come to accept that little sauce is acceptable in some cases. And Spicy Honey Chicken is one of them.

To this recipe, however, I have departed a little by adding an extra ingredient—some lime juice—to balance out the sweetness from the honey.

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37 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. Martin Hicks via Facebook

    I rally want to tank you for posting these recipes. Really giving our bland dinner menu a kick.

  2. Im primarily a sweet treat kinda girl but i adoreeee your site for simple and incredibly flavoursome dishes such as this – it really does look gorgeous and totally achievable for a novice like myself :) it may be breakfast time but this sure is looking very tempting right now!

  3. Dorach

    Thanks for the recipe. I can imagine this must be delicious! Hubby loves masak merah. Will try this recipe soon :-)

  4. Peter Pantry Raider

    For your info:

    Penang assam laksa in CNN’s top 10 yummiest food

    Penang assam laksa in CNN’s top 10 yummiest food
    By Debra Chong
    KUALA LUMPUR, July 25 — Spicy, sour, fruity and fragrant, Penang assam laksa was voted seventh out of 50 most delicious food in the world in a global poll that leaned heavily towards Asian flavours.
    Malaysia’s sole entry beat out Indonesia’s beef rending (No 11) and Singapore’s twin national dishes, chicken rice (45) and chilli crab (35), but fell behind Thailand’s massaman curry, which took top spot.
    The recent CNN Go feature did not say how it came up with the list, apart from saying its writers had “scoured the planet” for what they thought were the top 50 “foods worth travelling the world to gorge on”.
    “Poached, flaked mackerel, tamarind, chili, mint, lemongrass, onion, pineapple . . . one of Malaysia’s most popular dishes is an addictive spicy-sour fish broth with noodles (especially great when fused with ginger), that’ll have your nose running before the spoon even hits your lips” was how the online lifestyle feature described Penang assam laksa.
    But Malaysia’s northern neighbour appeared highly popular with the CNN Go writers, as it saw four different dishes finding its way into the list. Apart from the massaman bestseller, Thailand also scored top marks for tom yum goong (No 8), nam tok moo, a meaty dish of grilled pork and toasted rice (No 19), and its signature green papaya salad, som tam (No 46).
    Other Southeast Asian offerings include Vietnam’s pho (No 28) and goi cuon, a rice-paper roll of shrimp, herbs, rice vermicelli and other ingredients, much like Malaysia’s poh-pia.
    The top 50 also feature a number of “national foods” such as sushi from Japan and Britain’s fish and chips.

  5. I love Zurin’s blog, and am so excited to see her here too! Have been trying to cook more Malay dishes, so this is perfect timing really.

  6. stevenelson1973

    After looking at this recipe I hope your next cookbook is all about Maylay cooking :) I have looking for a good Maylay cookbook

  7. HooiFong Chee

    Love this recipe, my husband and friend loves it.. just wondering if tomato ketchup same as tomato sauce?

  8. Joni Lee

    can’t wait to try this tonight! what does chili paste refer to? Is it the type used for curry, or sambal? Thanks for sharing!

  9. Lydia

    Hi there!

    Love your blog :) Just wondering if the T means tablespoon? And when you said pound or grate the garlic & ginger, can I just minced them? Thanks!

  10. SchoolStudent

    I made this dish for a school project i did on Malaysia. i am taking it in tomorrow, in diced cubes for my class to try. i turned the internet upside down to try and find a recipe, so i asked mum and she came to this instantly. thanks for your help!

  11. eliza

    I made this today oh yummm definitely a keeper coz my hubby who’s not fond of chicken liked it and agreed for me to keep the recipe so yeah :-)) My dish looked exactly like in the picture (or even better) forgot the lime juice but it was optional.

  12. Jas See

    Hi, what kind of chilli paste are u referring? I’m even thinking if I can omit e chilli paste for my kids.

  13. samantha cameroon

    Hai Amy I did this dish for mum’s birthday but I had one problem,the chicken was hard to munch. I followed the steps but still can’t figure out what went wrong. Please help so that I can do a better job next time. Anyways family loved it though especially the gravey. I even did the banana pancakes with lemon and coconut curd. Turn out amazing! Thanks for all your amazing yet simple recipe. Next stop is Brazilian cheese bun.

  14. Lisa

    I used this recipe and it came out very tasty. My family loved it! But I did have to tweak it a bit to our preference. The first time I closely followed the recipe except I sautéed the onions first with the paste to extract more onion flavor and also because we prefer the taste and texture of cooked-down onions. They also tend to absorb so much of the flavor from the sauce too, making them extra delicious.

    The second time I did not deep fry the chicken for health reasons. Instead I marinated them for 6 hours in the salt, turmeric and curry blend, and then baked them. We didn’t detect much difference between the two methods since the chicken ends up in the sauce again, whereby losing the crunch factor.

    Overall – delicious no matter what!

    • Amy

      Lisa, thanks for your input. I was wondering if it would be possible to bake the chicken instead of frying it and it seems like there’s not much difference! (I hate frying things, so messy.) I’m going to try this without the frying.

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