Honey Chicken, Simplified
Honey chicken is basically chicken prepared with honey. It is chicken sweetened with honey. It is also one of those delicacies that were simply destined to exist. For thousands of years, honey was a much valued delicacy in just about every civilization. The Greeks, the Romans and, before them, the Egyptian civilizations all regarded honey as a delicacy fit for kings and gods. Some Pharaohs were buried with jars of honey, apparently so that their royal highnesses would not lack that very kingly addition to their menu in the next life.
In the other corner, chicken has long established itself as a universal fast food. It was only a matter of time before someone figured to mix the two. Actually, nobody seems to know when or who first made honey chicken. It simply sort of came to be.
The Many Types of Honey Chicken
Despite the name, honey chicken is rarely honey sweet. As a rule, the honey is usually mixed with other strong sauce ingredients such as soy sauce, olive oil or garlic powder, which moderates the sweetness of honey. Apparently, the human palette loves the taste of chicken and loves the taste of honey even more but has issues with a piece of chicken pretending to be honey.
The result is that honey chicken comes in varying degrees of sweetness. Less honey and more of the other sauce ingredients makes it less sweet. More honey makes it sweeter.
Also, this being about food, there are no fixed ingredients of honey chicken beyond the chicken and the honey. The typical western honey chicken for instance, will have a combination of olive oil, garlic powder, vinegar and maybe soy sauce. A Chinese honey chicken, in comparison, will typically add more ingredients such as egg, cornstarch and Sesame seeds.
The common denominator is that all types of honey chicken has some honey in it – plus any range of other sauces.
Making a simple honey chicken
Whichever type of honey chicken you would like to make, it is a fairly simple dish to prepare. The process is as follows:
• The honey and the chicken: The chicken and the honey are, naturally, the main ingredients. The amount of chicken depends on the expected number of diners and the amount of chicken decides the amount of honey to go with it. A typical ratio is three-quarters of a cup of honey for a normal size chicken.
• Sauces to dilute the honey: Honey will need something to lessen its sweetness. An easy and quite effective combination is a quarter of a cup of soy sauce, another quarter cup of olive oil, a tablespoon of garlic powder and another spoonful of black pepper.
• Mixing the honey and the chicken: The chicken may be pan fried or roasted. In either case, the chicken is placed in the pan or baking dish and let to cook. As it gets cooked, the mixture of honey and spices is poured directly on the chicken in small doses at least twice. The chicken takes in the sauces and the honey as it cooks until ready.
You will know it’s ready when you plod the chicken and find it firm, pretty much as you would if there was no honey involved. What you do with it after that is entirely up to you. You could eat it as a snack or make it part a full meal with other dishes.