I get inspired by the strangest things, sometimes. This time it comes in a bottled condiment, called Yuzeful, which I found at the condiments table (every restaurant should have a condiments table) at Chanoma Cafe in the city. It tasted like a funky delicious Japanese Tabasco.
And in my kitchen, that means a new recipe!
This tangy condiment had a hint of spice, and reminded me of Peri Peri sauce, which is hot and sour all at once, and named for the African Peri Peri (Piri Piri) chillies that make up this ballsy chilli sauce. Yuzu – a Japanese citrus fruit for the gods, tasting like a grapefruit, lemon, and tangerine had an orgy and produced a glorious lovechild – is a much more delicate kind of acid than the hard-hitting vinegar that’s usually used, so I knew that I wanted to tone down the heat a notch, to allow the beautiful citrus notes to shine through.
After a bit of trial and error, I think I’ve settled on a balance of flavours that I really like – savoury, sour, with that aromatic hit of citrus – and I love having this chicken served with a side of mixed cabbage salad that is inspired by a light cabbage salad that I had at Ribs and Burgers.
Perfect for that summer barbecue!
Yuzu Peri Peri Chicken with Summer Cabbage Salad
4 Chicken Marylands
[For the brine, optional]
1 tbsp peppercorns
[For the peri peri sauce]
300g green chillies, seeded (I used large ones but you can add some green bird’s eye chilli for more heat if you’d like.)
150ml Yuzu juice (you can buy these at a Japanese or gourmet grocer)
1 french shallot (50g)
[For the salad]
1/2 small head red cabbage
1/4 head white cabbage
1/2 bunch parsley
1/2 bunch mint
1 cup raw walnuts
1/3 cup lemon juice (or to taste)
1/4 cup olive oil (or to taste)
Salt and Pepper
If you are brining the chicken (which I highly recommend, see note below), start the night before. Mix the ingredients for the brine, then place the chicken and brine in a non-reactive container. I used a heavy duty freezer ziptop bag – make sure it’s large enough to hold the chicken AND the brine – and place the bag in a deep tray to catch any spills. Refrigerate overnight.
The next morning, discard of the brine and place the chicken in a roasting tray (if using the oven). Heat your oven to 180C, fan-forced.
In a blender, place all the ingredients for the peri peri sauce and blend till smooth. This sauce is more runny than a traditional peri peri sauce, but I think it suits our purposes fine!
Pour some of the sauce over the chicken (you’ll have some left over) and, using gloves if you’re sensitive to chilli, rub the sauce all over the chicken. Place skin side up in the roasting tray, and lightly sprinkle over some salt and pepper. Add a drizzle of olive oil, and roast till golden brown and cooked through, about 30 min.
If you’re using the barbecue, season and oil, and then grill to your heart’s content!
For the slaw, simply shred the cabbage and herbs, roughly chop the walnuts, and mix all the ingredients together!
If you’re roasting the chicken, I would suggest pouring all the delicious liquids at the bottom of the roasting tray back over the tops of the chicken just before serving. Juicy!
I believe in brining chicken, especially when the marinade has acid in it. The salt from the liquid will keep the meat juicy and moist, but because the chilli has yuzu juice in it, the acid will react with the meat and cause it to go all weird and funky.