“Every comfort food dish in every country ultimately comes down to carbs’ n’ sauce,” says Lucy Tweed, author of cookbook Every Night Of The Week. And this Shandong Chicken recipe has this in spades.
But beyond the carbs n’ sauce you’ll also need protein. Luckily, it doesn’t matter what size chicken you choose so go with what you have, but Lucy tends to veer towards 1.2 kg that she prepares herself. And if you’re up for it, you’ll be doing that too.
“I like to think that appreciating the food we eat extends beyond simply knowing an ingredient to the handling of it (although I grew up on a working farm so I have had the benefit of experience from a young age). But if it’s not for you, just ask your butcher to do this for you,” says Lucy.
Make The Most Of Your Meal Prep
Whether you decide to handle the chicken yourself or you get your butcher to do it for you, we’re going to help you make the most of your meal prep.
Play one of these podcasts while your chicken cooks in the oven — and learn some mindful strategies while finishing off your meal. Master chef or mindful chef?
The Happiness Lab with Dr. Laurie Santos
The Happiness Lab with Dr. Laurie Santos offers science-based strategies for enhancing happiness and wellbeing. Their “Burnout and How to Avoid It” episode is 39 minutes long; just in time to hear your oven timer go off!
Unlocking Us with Brené Brown
This podcast is for anyone who wants to become more self-aware and silence their negative self-talk. Check out the 35-minute episode “Brené with Karen Walrond on Accessing Joy and Finding Connection in the Midst of Struggle.”
On Purpose with Jay Shetty Podcast
This podcast features interviews with some of the most insightful people in the world. “Gwyneth Paltrow Interviews Jay Shetty ON: Daily Actions to Build Life-Changing Habits & Training Your Mind to Break Old Patterns” is a must-hear!
Shandong Chicken Recipe
- 1 Saucepan
- 1 Deep Baking Dish
- 1 Frying Pan
- 1 Whole Chicken, spine removed and pressed flat* you can ask your butcher to do this for you
- 125 ml Soy sauce
- 3 Tbsp Honey
- 5 cm Knob of ginger, peeled and left whole
- 3 Whole Spring onions, white parts roughly chopped, green tops reserved for garnish
- 1 Whole Onion, quartered
- 3 Tbsp Chinese black vinegar
- 1 Tbsp Chilli bean paste
- 1 Tbsp Chicken stock powder
- 2 Tbsp Olive oil
- 2 Bunches Water spinach, cut into 10cm pieces
- 6 Whole Garlic cloves, sliced
- 500 gram Fresh rice noodles (or use dry noodles cooked according to the packet instructions)
- 1 Tbsp Sesame oil
- Preheat the oven to 200°C.
- Finely slice the green spring onion tops lengthways or on a very sharp angle and put in a glass of iced water so they curl up. Completely unnecessary when it comes to flavour but such a fun accessory.
- Warm all the sauce ingredients in a saucepan with 125ml water.
- Put the chicken in a deep baking dish lined with baking paper and pour the sauce over the top.
- Place in the oven for 45 minutes (and put on a podcast). Lucy puts a piece of foil over hers at about 25 minutes because the skin can really take that self tan look too far! Not tight, just literally rest the foil on the top. Untucked.
- While that’s happening, get the noodles ready. In a large frying pan over medium heat, add the oil and cook the spinach and garlic slivers until the garlic just starts to brown. You can use ordinary spinach as a substitute but it isn’t as silky in texture.
- Add the rice noodles and 3 tablespoons water to loosen them. Toss this well and dress with the sesame oil.
- Cut the chicken into pieces to serve. (The hardest bit is the thigh bone but you can leave this part whole if you like. Everything else you can snip at the joint.)
- Slice the now candied ginger to serve on top, along with the curly green tops of the spring onions.
Kelleigh is the Managing Editor of Women’s Health. When she’s not convincing her colleagues to try the latest TikTok trends, you can find her planning a holiday that never leaves the group chat, binge-reading or eating her way through Cape Town.