Monday, October 31, 2011

Black Chicken with Red Grape Sauce

         If you study the general dining statistics at our home, you will find out that we have Asian dishes two or three times a week – not only because sometimes I feel like deviating from traditional continental flavours but because I really enjoy Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese and Thai cuisines. And, strange as it may sound, I feel quite comfortable working with Asian ingredients. Sometimes I don’t even need a recipe for making, let’s say, a stir fry – I simply take a range of bottles with sauces and condiments out of the fridge and start to mix them to develop a flavour. And it’s not so difficult for me to get the right balance of the dish relying only on my instincts, not on cookbooks. Yet, I have a couple of tested recipes that I stick to. One of them is chicken in soy and honey marinade served with red grape sauce. To say true, it’s a bit more complicated than an average Asian dish. But it’s worth all the efforts (all those not-so-massive efforts to make the sauce). So, whenever I discover that the grapes in the fridge are a bit overripe, it comes the time of black chicken. One more point to “the Asian dishes” section for our home dining statistics!

Recipe adapted from Sanjeev Kapoor’s book


4 medium chicken breasts
4 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp olive oil
black pepper to taste

1 tbsp butter
2 ½ cm ginger, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
100 ml white wine
15 grapes (red globe variety), cut into fourths
1 ½ tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
salt and black pepper to taste


  1. Cut chicken breasts into long and narrow strips and marinade them in a mixture of soy sauce, honey and crushed black pepper. Leave in the fridge for at least half an hour or overnight.
  2. For the sauce, cut grapes into fourths and put in blender. Process for a few seconds (they should be mashed but still a bit chunky). Heat butter and sauté ginger and onion till golden brown; add white wine and cook till the mixture reduces a little; add the mashed grapes and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the soy sauce and honey and remove from heat. Strain the sauce and return to the pan.
  3. Heat olive oil in another pan and sauté chicken pieces, removed from the marinade. As they get caramelized, add the marinade, bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and cook, covered, for 10 – 15 minutes or until the chicken is tender. Divide among the serving plates.
  4. Reheat the sauce and adjust the seasoning. Pour some of it over the chicken pieces and serve the rest on the side.


            Serve the chicken with noodles or some rice. Mushrooms (I prefer oyster) would make a nice accomplishment to the dish. Sauté them in the same pan where the chicken was cooked.

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