Monday 3 December 2012


When my children ask me what I'm going to make for dinner, I usually give a generic answer, as in chicken or beef or pork. I am not always prepared with a meal plan, especially in the morning (which is when the question usually pops up). 
Chicken is the usual sacrifice in my kitchen. It is the easiest to cook and no one says no to chicken. The key to making a great tasting chicken dish is to get a good quality chicken. It is very difficult to make a tasty dish out of a tasteless chicken. I feel as if I've cooked chicken a million times and they still expect something new and exciting. 

With all my been-there-done-that chicken ideas, I sometimes hit a blank wall. When that happens, I do the most logical thing: grind salt and pepper on it. Then I usually get ideas. What is done to it next will make all the difference. 

I decided on cooking it chicken diavolo style: seared, baked then drizzled with garlic and chilli butter. Diavolo means devil in Italian and diablo means the same in Tagalog. Devilled dishes have a characteristic fiery kick.

The seared, browned and blistered chicken would taste good already. But since I was already at it, I pushed the boat further by making a butter sauce.

It is not any old nor simple garlic chilli butter that went on this chicken. In Asian tradition, sauces has to be well flavoured, exciting and mouthwatering. Fish sauce, lime juice, chillies, garlic, spring onions, honey and chopped coriander leaves joined the butter to make a sauce for the chicken. There are a lot of wicked ways to describe this dish but I won't proceed. The best words for this dish is the oxymoron devilishly good.

 Ingredients for the chicken:

1 whole medium chicken, split in the middle
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsps. olive oil + 1 tbsp. butter


Season the chicken halves with the salt.

Pre-heat the oven to 350° F/ 180° C.

Heat up a frying pan (preferably cast iron) and when very hot add the oil and butter. Put the chicken halves in and press down with a metal spatula. Pan fry the chicken until browned, about 3 minutes on each side. This stage is the key to this dish. The chicken should be well seared, browned and blistered before it goes in the oven.

Transfer the chicken pieces to a roasting pan with a rack, adding half an inch of water to the pan so the drippings don't burn. Bake for 50 minutes to one hour, just until done.

Drizzle with the spiced butter.

Ingredients for the spiced butter:

1/2 c. butter
1 tbsp. chopped red chilli
1 1/2 tbsp. garlic
juice and rind of 1 lime
2 tbsps. of spring onions, cut into rings
2 tsps. fish sauce
1 tsp. light soy sauce
2 tbsps. honey
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 tbsps. chopped coriander leaves


Heat up the butter in a sauce pan. Take off the heat and add the chilli, garlic, lime zest and juice, spring onions, fish sauce, soy sauce, honey and black pepper all at once and stir.

You can chop the chicken into serving pieces if you prefer. Drizzle with the spiced butter. Sprinkle with coriander leaves.

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  1. I have not stopped drooling over this chicken since I saw it on my Facebook feed. It's been far too long since I've prepared roast chicken. This will be the recipe to use when I do...and soon.

    1. Hi Jean. I hope you do try this one. It is really so simple but doesn't disappoint.

  2. Yeap, me too, every time I stop over to your new post, every dish is mouth watering and looking very delicious! Well, Christmas is drawing near, if I could not get a turkey, chicken is the best to go for it. A simple ingredients in the roast chicken would still taste so delicious.

    1. Thanks for your visits and kind comments, Mel. I think Asians will prefer this over turkey because this goes well with rice.

  3. Hi Adora,
    I am exactly the same way and it is usually an hour or two before dinner when I finally decide what to prepare. Chicken is always great to fall back on. Your recipe sounds scrumptious and easy to prepare. In other word this is perfect for those days when I'm feeling uninspired. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Nancy. Even as bloggers, we still have days when we don't know what to cook. This is the dish when there's nothing else.

  4. HI Adora! I know Diablo - The computer game I grew up playing... :)

    Seriously, your roast chicken looks awesome. I like the garlic and chili butter finishing.... Just lovely.


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