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How to Cook Chicken

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At h2g2, we treat the humble chicken - that worldwide staple meat - with the loving respect that it deserves. We've given you advice on how to prepare a chicken and the community has helped to create the definitive list on the perfect scrambled eggs.

It was, therefore, only natural that we should ask you all to help us cook a chicken. The result was truly spectacular. There may be more than one way to skin a cat but you've all proved that there are hundreds of ways to cook chicken.

Tom Kah Gai - the Only Chicken Soup

This is a great little recipe for that panacea of all ills - chicken soup. This soup, however has a touch of the orient and makes a fantastic starter or a great winter warmer main course.


  • 1 litre coconut milk (or 500ml coconut milk and 500ml of coconut cream)
  • 6 dried kaffir lime leaves (or 4 fresh kaffir lime leaves or 6 fresh normal lime leaves)
  • 3 pieces of galangal (or about 1 inch of normal ginger)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (or 2-3 teaspoons of palm sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons roasted chilli paste (or 1 teaspoon sliced fresh chilli)
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sliced lemon grass (2cm pieces)
  • 200g chicken breast - bite-sized pieces
  • 100g champignons (small mushrooms)
  • fresh coriander and/or Thai basil to garnish


  1. In a saucepan (or wok for authenticity), bring the coconut milk to the boil, add lime leaves, galangal (or ginger), lemon juice, fish sauce, sugar, chilli and lemon grass. Let it simmer for five minutes.

  2. Toss in the chicken pieces and mushrooms and let the lot simmer for another five minutes or until the chicken is cooked. Add extra fish sauce, chilli, lemon juice or sugar to taste.

  3. Tip into bowls and garnish with coriander and/or basil.

Asian-esque Chicken with Cashews


Fancy a taste of the Orient but not sure which spices/vegetables to use? This recipe will get you off to a great start.

  • A couple of chicken breasts - skinned, boned and chopped into chunks.
  • A bag of cashew nuts
  • Ginger root
  • A bunch of green onions (spring onions)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • A stick of celery
  • Can of straw mushrooms
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Water chestnuts
  • Soy sauce
  • Corn starch


  1. Get a wok. Heat it up. Dribble in a bit of oil. Throw in a generous handful of raw cashew nuts. Stir fry until a little toasty. Take out nuts and put them aside.

  2. Throw chicken into wok and stir fry.

  3. Add ginger, onions and garlic and fry for a couple of minutes.

  4. Add celery, mushrooms, bamboo and chestnuts.

  5. Season with soy sauce and condiments adding water if necessary.

  6. Dissolve a scant teaspoon of corn starch in about a cup of water. Add to stir fry, and cook a bit.

  7. Add water if you think it is getting a bit too gummy.

  8. Add fried cashews.

  9. Serve and eat with rice or noodles.

A Simple Roast Chicken

The bastion of the Sunday roast, this recipe is guaranteed to produce the perfect chuck for the family meal of the week. We even have the recipe for perfect Yorkshire pudding...


  • One washed chicken
  • Oil that has been used for a roast before
  • Chicken seasoning


  1. Heat oil in a tray in the oven until really hot and just under bubbling.

  2. Put the washed chicken in the tray and cover with chicken seasoning.

  3. Wait for about 15 - 20 minutes and then baste the chicken with the surrounding oil.

  4. After an hour add any potatoes in the oil and baste the chicken and potatoes.

  5. Continue basting every 15 minutes until the chicken is cooked - usually two hours.

Moist Chicken and Crispy Skin

Chicken may be the favourite of the family table, but it does require some skill to keep the chicken moist and the skin crispy while cooking. Here are some top tips:

  • Take off the skin before cooking then slice a lemon or orange and place the slices all over the chicken. Wrap the whole lot up in baking parchment, and cook as you would roast chicken. The result is tender chicken with a faint citrus tinge. Delicious.

  • Alternatively, don't cut the skin right off - force the fruit between the skin and the meat and use the skin instead of baking parchment.

  • Place some butter under the skin of the chicken and put it in the oven. The butter to cooks the meat below and makes the skin nice and crispy.

  • Try peanut butter instead of ordinary butter. Mmmmm.

  • Putting bacon strips on the outside should keep the chicken moist and the skin crispy. Plus you have a few rashers of crisp bacon at the end of it. The bacon trick can also be used to good effect on barbecues when cooking chicken breasts.

  • If you roast the chicken upside down (ie on its chest rather than the back).

  • Stuff some chunks of onion, half a (squeezed) lemon and a bay leaf inside the bird. Cream some butter with plenty of black pepper, a clove or two of crushed garlic and the juice from the lemon. Ease the skin off the bird's breast and spread the butter mixture all over between the skin and the meat. Roast as usual. Hey presto - juicy chicken with a tasty, crunchy skin!

Chicken Diable (for Crispy Skin)

This is a nifty recipe with a butter that will not only melt in your mouth but will produce fantastically crispy skin. The recipe comes in two parts - the first for the butter and the second for the chicken.

Ingredients for Beurre Diable (Devil's Butter)

  • 1/2 red capsicum, seeded and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun spice mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon French whole-grain mustard
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8oz/230g salted butter, softened

Method for Beurre Diable

  1. Combine all the ingredients except the butter in a food processor and pulse a couple of times to mix thoroughly. Add the butter in chunks and blend well.

Ingredients for Chicken Diable

  • 1 portion of Beurre Diable
  • Serving pieces of chicken with skin
  • 1 Cajun spice mix, thyme, cayenne, salt and black pepper to taste

Method for Chicken Diable

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F/2307deg;C.

  2. Sprinkle the herbs and spices over the chicken pieces. Smear on a tablespoon or more of diable butter and put in the oven to roast for about 15 minutes each side or until the skin is nice and crispy.

  • Leftover Beurre Diable can be kept in the fridge, and is excellent with oysters, scallops, prawns and grilled fish.

  • Teriyaki Chicken

    This is a fantastic recipe for a great dish. It also gives you a recipe for your own teriyaki sauce - much better than the stuff you buy in the shops.


    • 7 teaspoons of dark soy sauce
    • 14 teaspoons of sake (Japanese rice wine)
    • A heaped teaspoon of sugar
    • Chicken breast, stripped


    1. Take the dark soy sauce (or a mixture of light and dark if you have both), the sake and sugar and mix together and thow in the chicken, (as much as you want, there'll be plenty of sauce).

    2. Leave to marinade for at least one hour.

    3. Stir fry the marinated chicken in a tablespoon of oil, pouring over the sauce

    4. Keep frying until the sauce reduces.

    5. If you keep frying a bit after it looks like there's no oil left it goes a wonderful golden colour. (If you're feeling particularly health conscious you could grill it instead.)

    6. Serve on rice and noodles.

    This also tastes great chilled or in sandwiches.

    Chicken Succotash

    A great recipe with ingredients that you would never think of mixing together - this is a real treat for all tastes.


    • 1lb/500g diced chicken
    • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    • 1/2 can condensed pumpkin soup
    • 1 can red kidney beans
    • 1 cup frozen corn
    • 1/2 cup chicken stock
    • 1/4 cup cider/white wine eg Muller Thurgau
    • 1 teaspoon rosemary
    • 1 teaspoon thyme
    • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • Freshly cooked seashell pasta
    • Salt and pepper to taste


    1. Brown the chicken in a large sauce pan on medium-high heat.

    2. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, except for the pasta and salt and pepper, and simmer on low heat for 25-30 minutes.

    3. Add the cooked pasta and seasoning, and let simmer for a further three minutes.

    Devilled Chicken

    This is a great alternative to many chicken dishes such as sweet and sour. The 'devilishness' of the dish can be modified using more or less curry powder according to taste.


    • 4 chicken breasts (boned and skinned)
    • 1/2 jar of mango chutney
    • 1 teaspoonful of curry powder


    1. Take a spoonful of curry powder and mix it with hot water to form a curry paste. Mix the mango chutney and the curry paste.

    2. Wash and dry the boned and skinned chicken breasts (it's best to dry them because the chicken cooks better this way). Place in a large oven-proof dish and liberally spread with the curry-chutney mix.

    3. Cover the dish with tin foil to seal it and place the whole lot in the oven on gas mark 7 for one hour.

    4. The chicken can then be laid on a bed of rice and any extra sauce left over in the dish can be used to pour over the chicken to moisten it a little.

    5. If more sauce is needed it is better to water down some mango chutney for pouring rather than leaving the chicken wet in the dish after they have been washed because this tends to make the meat more chewy.

    Chicken with Celery

    Simple, successful and the fact that everything is baked in one tray saves on the washing up.


    • One chicken
    • One bunch of celery
    • Some carrots
    • One large onion, chopped


    1. Bake chicken with the celery, carrot and onion.

    Garlic with Chicken

    Not for the faint-hearted or anyone with a hot date in the ensuing three days - this recipe produces a novel idea on how to create a delicious accompaniment for chicken or alternative to butter.


    • 1 very large chicken
    • 8 bulbs of garlic
    • 1 lemon
    • Salt, pepper and rosemary


    1. Stuff the chicken with the bulbs of garlic.

    2. Put the bird in a pot (preferably terracotta), pour the juice of one lemon over it.

    3. Add salt, white pepper, rosemary and the skin of the lemon.

    4. Close the pot, put it in the oven and let it fry at 200-250°C for approximately 90 minutes.

    5. Serve with bread - and spread on the cooked garlic as a kind of 'butter'.

    6. Alternatively, for a more subtle flavour, slice deep cuts into the chicken (whole or in pieces) and stuff small amounts of crushed garlic and herbs into the cuts. A little salt sprinkled over the top helps the skin become crispy and tasty.

    7. You could also, surround the chicken with more garlic. Add bouquet garni and seal a casserole lid on with a flour/water paste. This keeps all the juices and flavours inside.

    Garlic Rosemary Chicken for Arthritis Sufferers

    This is a simple recipe, great flavours and is recommended for arthritis sufferers as it avoids substances that can affect the condition positively.


    • 2 large chicken breasts
    • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 2oz butter
    • Soya flour to coat
    • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
    • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • Parsley and lemon wedges to garnish


    1. With a very sharp knife, cut the chicken breasts into thin slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and coat lightly with soya flour.

    2. Melt 1oz of the butter in a large frying pan. Sauté the chicken and garlic until tender, sprinkle with rosemary and remove the chicken to a warned serving dish with a slotted spoon.

    3. Stir the cream, cayenne pepper and remaining butter into the pan, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.

    4. When the sauce is hot, return the chicken to the pan for a minute or two, then transfer to the serving dish.

    5. Garnish with parsley and lemon.

    Shake and Bake

    This is a great invention for students, those in a hurry or those uninitiated in the ways of the oven. The bag is full of spices and such, and creates great chicken skin.


    • 1 chicken
    • 1 'Shake and Bake' bag


    1. Put chicken in bag.

    2. Shake.

    3. Bake.

    4. Eat.

    You can also add vegetables to the bag to make an even bigger and tastier meal.

    Chicken Adobo

    This is a great recipe for those who manage to plan in advance. If you don't have a slow cooker, the dish can be cooked on the hob on a very low heat.


    • One medium-sized chicken cut into around 12 pieces
    • 1/4 cup vinegar
    • 1/4 cup soy sauce
    • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
    • 3 Bay leaves and 12 pepper corns
    • 1 onion
    • Pinch of salt and pepper
    • A squeeze of lemon


    1. Stir all ingredients in a bowl, coating the chicken with the sauce for 15 minutes.

    2. Heat two spoons of vegetable oil in a frying pan and put the pieces of chicken slowly into the pan.

    3. Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes each side, or until the chicken is browned.

    4. Put the remaining sauce into the pan and cook on medium heat for a further 30-40 minutes.

    5. Serve with boiled rice.

    Pollo Loco - or Sinaloan Chicken

    Pollo Loco, a fast food chain in Mexico, sells chicken prepared in the following style for busy folks. Chicken is always ready on demand. Pollo Loco translated to English means 'crazy chicken'.

    The style of preparation is also known as Sinaloan style chicken, as it is prepared in the Mexican state of Sinaloa - presumably by crazy cooks.

    This is an ideal dish for a charcoal grill barbecue.


    • 1 whole chicken
    • A large cup of fresh orange juice (probably about 4 valencia oranges)
    • Generous pinches of thyme, marjoram and oregano
    • 1 small chopped onion
    • Teaspoon of salt
    • 8 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped


    1. Take the chicken. Cut on either side of the backbone and remove it. Open chicken flat, and press on the breastbone to flatten the chicken (with a bone-snapping crunch).

    2. Make a marinade out of the other ingredients by whisking them in a blender.

    3. Pour marinade over chicken placed in a bowl. Rub marinade over chicken, cover and leave overnight in the refrigerator.

    4. Grill chicken on an open charcoal grill for about 3/4 hour, turning often and basting with the leftover marinade.

    Mauve Chicken

    This is an ancient recipe, handed down through the Mauve family for generations, their family legacy to the world - you should feel honoured, very honoured.


    • Fresh pasta
    • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
    • Chicken breasts
    • Cayenne pepper
    • Soy sauce
    • Tomato purée or pasta sauce
    • Fresh basil, chopped


    1. First you need to put the pasta on to boil. Take fresh Italian pasta, and place it in a saucepan of boiling water, along with one crushed garlic segment. Allow to boil while preparing the chicken.

    2. Next take the chicken breast, and some cayenne pepper. Rub some cayenne into each breast and then place them under the grill. When they are almost cooked, remove them from the grill.

    3. Drain the pasta and get out a wok.

    4. Heat the wok, then place a small amount of olive oil in the wok, and put it back on a low heat.

    5. When the oil is hot, drop in the pasta. Keep it turning, as you add quite a bit of soy sauce, enough to really make it taste.

    6. Now take the chicken and cut it into bite-sized chunks, and add them to the frying pasta. remember to keep stirring.

    7. Now add some tomato purée/pasta sauce, the amount depending on how saucy you want it. Stir more, while adding fresh chopped basil.

    Cheesey Chicken

    This is a great little combo-recipe that combines new food with staple ingredients. The cheese can be changed but this recipe prefers a Continental twist.


    • Chicken breast fillets
    • Bacon rashers
    • Camembert or Brie cheese
    • Cranberry sauce
    • Citrus fruit
    • Pepper


    1. Grill the chicken breasts till they're just cooked. Cut them up into strips. The tiniest bit of pink is all right at this point. Wrap the dressed bacon around the chicken (toothpicks are good here).

    2. Put the packets into a skillet and heat them up till the bacon starts to brown.

    3. Slice the cheese up and put them onto the cooking packets.

    4. When the cheese is all bubbly, throw in some ground peppercorns.

    5. Lastly goop a liberal spotch of cranberry sauce into the mix.

    6. Serve hot with white wine, preferably an Australian Chenin Blanc.

    7. A variant has some white wine cooked up with the chicken/bacon packets. For sheer 'impress-the-socks-off significant/potential significant other' value, pour some Grand Marnier into the final mix and torch it.

    Balti Chicken with Mushroom

    This recipe is a favourite of residents in the UK. Born in Birmingham, the balti is a great dish with a lot of spice.


    • Vegetable oil
    • Fresh coriander
    • Chicken breast cut into 1inch cubes
    • Mushrooms
    • Green chillies
    • Paprika
    • Tomato purée
    • 2 cans lager


    1. First you need to make the marinade. To do this put half a cup of vegetable oil in a blender with a load of green chillies (topped and pipped) and blend until the chillies are mush. Now add 2 tablespoons of paprika and blend again until you have a runny red oil.

    2. Put the chicken bits in a bowl and mix in the oil all round it and put in the fridge to marinate for as long as you can manage without being overcome with hunger.

    3. Open the first can of lager and drink.

    4. Now make the balti sauce by finely chopping a slack handful of fresh coriander leaf and putting it in a mixer with another teaspoon of paprika and a small tin of tomato purée. Mix thoroughly.

    5. Open second can of lager and drink.

    6. Now put a frying pan on and get it good and hot. Sling the marinated chicken in to seal the flavour and then turn the heat down and add the sauce. Then add sliced chilli and mushroom and simmer for 15 minutes making sure it doesn't burn your mum's best frying pan while you make enough rice to feed an army.

    7. Serve with a lot of chilled beers. For best effect do not tell your friends that the chicken was marinated and laugh heartily when they taste the sauce, declaring it not very hot at all - then wait for them to bite into a piece of chicken.

    Fried Chicken

    A favourite meal with every family having their own secret recipe. Here we give you a simple method that you can adapt to suit your own tastes.


    • Chicken breast meat (cut into large strips), tenderloins or thighs
    • 1 egg combined with milk and cream
    • 1/2 cup or more of plain white flour
    • Paprika, black pepper, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, sage, marjoram
    • Vegetable oil for frying


    1. In a large bowl, place the chicken in the egg and milk mixture. Let sit for 15 minutes.

    2. On a large plate, combine the flour with the herbs and spices.

    3. In a deep fryer/heavy frying pan/large wok, heat the oil on medium high heat. A pinch of flour should sizzle when thrown in.

    4. Dredge the chicken pieces through the seasoned flour coating thoroughly.

    5. Fry the chicken in the oil for five to seven minutes on medium heat or until deep golden-brown. Drain on paper towels.

    6. Serve with a good salsa.

    Random Spiced Chicken

    A twist on an old favourite - this recipe adds a little spice to a traditional recipe with great results.


    • Several long thin strips of boneless, skinless chicken breast
    • Soy sauce
    • Tabasco sauce
    • Powdered curry
    • Worcestershire Sauce
    • Cooking spray (the stuff that stops food sticking to the pan).


    1. Take the aforementioned sauces and combine them in a bowl. It's up to you which you put in first, in what order, and how much of each sauce you use, but use all of the sauces. It's generally good to stick with only a very little tabasco.

    2. Stick the chicken breasts into the sauce and let them sit there and soak for a bit.

    3. Then, stick them into the pan and cook.

    4. Add the sauce to the skillet and simmer for a little while.

    This is good when served with a cold beer and a side dish of veggies or noodles.

    Coq au Vin

    A staple of the French country table, Coq au Vin has achieved international renown. This recipe combines the traditional with the new by using New World wines.


    • 1kg (2lbs) chicken pieces
    • 1-2 garlic cloves, chopped or pressed
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • Chopped parsley
    • 1 medium carrot, sliced
    • 75g (1 cup) fresh mushrooms, sliced
    • 500ml (2 cups) dry red wine (California Zinfandel, Australian Shiraz, for example)
    • 30ml (2 tablespoons) cooking oil
    • flour
    • Salt and pepper (to taste)


    1. Start by heating the oil in a frying pan. Brown the chopped onion and garlic for a few minutes.

    2. Take the chicken pieces and brown them with the onion and garlic mixture. Brown the pieces evenly, turning often. This should take about five minutes.

    3. Sprinkle a little flour over the chicken. Add salt and pepper if desired.

    4. Add the wine and remaining ingredients. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for one hour.

    5. This dish is best served with rice. Check the amount of wine in the pan every so often. Add a little more if needed.

    The Vegetarian Alternative

    The Vegetarian way to cook Coq au vin.

    Take one live chicken, some rice, vegetables and bottle of Burgundy (or similar wine). Boil the rice, stir fry the vegetables in oil. Take all the ingredients outside and watch the chicken run free whilst you enjoy the stir fry with rice and wine.

    Chicken and Peanut Butter

    Peanut butter is used in cooking at least in Africa and Indonesia, so wherever you've spent your exotic holiday you can cook this for your friends when you are back and claim it was a 'local speciality'.


    • 1/2 kilo of chicken, in pieces - thighs will do
    • 1 large onion
    • Tomatoes
    • Cumin
    • Curry powder
    • Chilli (in any form)
    • Garlic
    • Soy sauce
    • A hefty dollop of peanut butter
    • Turmeric, coriander powder, fresh coriander for garnish and fresh ginger - but these are not as essential, so if you do not have them at home, there's no need to run fetch them.


    1. Chop the onions, fry with chicken, add spices - careful with the chilli, but this recipe needs a lot of cumin - fry a little longer.

    2. Before you succumb to chilli fumes, add tomatoes, chopped or mashed, or straight from the can.

    3. Simmer, add water if necessary, until chicken is cooked, add soy sauce, more spices if needed and the peanut butter (about as much as a tablespoon can safely lift from the jar) and mix in.

    4. The sauce thickens, add water if needed, bring to boil, serve with rice.

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