Sticky ginger chicken

Ginger & Turmeric Rhizomes

By Cat, Mar 2017 (photo, right, from Lisa’s Project Vegan blog (2)

I’m always on the lookout for new, quick chicken recipes, and I’m also looking for ways to add fresh spices like ginger and turmeric to my meals; this recipe qualifies on both counts.

I do not recommend using supermarket chicken unless it is free-range/pasture fed, antibiotic free and preferably Organic. I’m lucky where I live that I can buy Hutterite chickens from a local Hutterite colony. They only sell whole chickens, so I cut them up for immediate use or to freeze all/part of the pieces as follows:

  • Legs (drumstick and thighs joined together), wings, and breasts (butterflied); sometimes I cut the two breasts apart. I brine all pieces together, then rinse (by immersing in a bowl of fresh water) and pat dry. If cooking for a family, bag all meaty pieces together (legs, wings and breasts); I’m a single person, so I bag for individual meals as follows:
  • Bag together, one each: leg, wing and half-breast;
  • Alternately bag together one leg and one wing, and do the same for the other set; bag the breasts together or separately.
  • Bag together the neck, back pieces and giblets, to freeze for future bone broth.

Sticky Ginger Chicken

This recipe is adapted from one on Country Table (1) (included in the American Profile supplement in the 3/6/17 Daily Inter Lake newspaper).

I use Tamari rather than soy sauce because I have a food sensitivity to regular soy sauce. For my first test I will use ground ginger, but the second time I will mince a piece of fresh ginger (peel removed).

I avoid processed sugar so prefer to use molasses in this recipe; another option is Organic minimally processed Organic dehydrated sugar cane juice (“Rapadura” in the brand I use). If using white sugar, be sure to use white cane sugar (if it doesn’t say ‘cane’ on the package, it is likely GMO beet sugar).

The original recipe cooks the chicken in ‘vegetable oil’ but when heated, such oils produce damaging free radicals, so I use either coconut oil or duck fat. Home-rendered lard is another option, but commercial lard is hydrogenated to extend shelf life, and I do not recommend that.

It doesn’t indicate how long to cook the chicken, so I consulted Garnish with Lemon blog(3) which indicates, “Cook for 7-8 minutes [skin-side down] before you turn it to ensure a crispy skin that seals in the juices. Flip the chicken and cook for another 20 minutes or until done.” I will test this, using a meat thermometer to determine doneness.

Caution about using rice: even most USA-grown Organic brown rice is laden with arsenic (from being grown in contaminated soil). Check out this website for more information on choosing and using rice: How You Can Avoid Low-Level Arsenic in Rice and Chicken or Consumer Reports on arsenic in rice. I usually use wild rice; quinoa is another option.

Serves 4

Ingredients & Equipment

  • Marinade and coating for chicken:
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (or to taste)
  • ¼ cup Rapadura, brown cane sugar, or molasses
  • 3 Tbsp Organic Tamari sauce
  •  ½ tsp ground ginger
  • black pepper
  • Chicken:
  • 4 chicken legs (drumstick and thigh), or 8 thighs, bone-in, skin-on, and brined
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil (for marinade)
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil or duck fat (for cooking chicken)
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds (optional)
  • Garnish and accompaniment:
  • 2 scallions, sliced (white and green parts)
  • cooked long grain white or brown rice, or wild rice
  • Equipment:
  • small bowl (to mix marinade)
  • shallow dish or bowl for marinating chicken
  • cast iron skillet (such as for frying chicken)
  • whisk
  • saucepan for cooking rice


  1. Prep: Cut up and brine chicken pieces.
  2. Meanwhile, slice scallions and set aside (for garnish).
  3. Marinade: Mince garlic and combine with sugar, Tamari, ginger, pepper (to taste), and olive oil in small bowl.
  4. Place chicken in shallow dish/bowl; pour marinade over and turn to coat. Cover and marinate at least 30 minutes, or up to 24 hours (refrigerated).
  5. Cook chicken: Heat skillet over medium heat; add coconut oil and swirl to coat bottom of pan. Add half the chicken pieces, skin-side down, and cook 7 – 8 minutes until well browned; turn over and reduce heat to low and continue to cook another 20 minutes; check with a meat thermometer and cook longer if needed. Or test doneness by cutting into the meat in a thick area; if the pink is gone, it is done.
  6. Remove to a clean plate; cover with a foil tent to keep warm. Repeat with second batch.
  7. Pour leftover marinade into pan and bring to a boil. Continue boiling and whisking until reduced to a thick glaze. Turn heat off, add chicken back to pan and spoon glaze over top.
  8. Meanwhile, cook the rice (see white, brown, or wild rice for cooking instructions), then keep warm.
  9. Garnish with sliced scallions and sesame seeds.
  10. Serve with cooked rice (see white, brown, or wild rice for cooking instructions)


3/11-12/17: Testing with a half recipe using 4 thighs, brined. Prepared marinade using molasses for sweetener, and Braggs Aminos instead of Tamari; coated thighs and placed in fridge to marinate overnight. I placed thighs in hot oiled skillet with skin-side down over medium heat for 7 min, when it was nicely browned. Turned pieces over, lowered heat to a simmer, and covered skillet. Tested after 10 minutes; only 140°F; not much change after another 10 min so increased heat to medium (pan still covered). After another 15 minutes (total 35 min after turning over) still not up to 165°F. I think my thermometer has issues because meat tests done when cut with knife. There’s a fair amount of fat in the pan around the thighs – partly the coconut oil for the pan, olive oil in marinade, and fats from the thigh. So when I added the remaining marinade, it didn’t thicken to a glaze. I poured it into a bowl to see what would happen, and ate my first serving without it. At least the thighs retained quite a bit of the marinade while cooking. Result: Tasty but overcooked a bit. My thermometer must not be accurate.


  1. recipe by Beth Moncel (
  2. Lisa’s Project Vegan blog:
  3. Garnish with Lemon:

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