Everyone loves chicken! That’s because it’s so versatile and takes on whatever flavors it’s cooked with. Chickens, as a source of high-quality protein, can be raised in small spaces and require relatively modest amounts of feed to grow rather quickly. Every culture in the world has a national version of a chicken recipe.
Traveling the world and growing up in the Philippines, where the cuisine is influenced by so many cultures – Spanish, Asian, Indian, Polynesian, and American – I have been exposed to delicious dishes from around the globe. That’s why at FoodTrients we love exploring international flavors. What better way to showcase them than with chicken? Start with free-range organic birds whenever possible. The flavor is better, and you will be assured of chicken raised under the safest and most humane conditions.
LIGHT VS. DARK MEAT
There are proponents of both. Those who prefer chicken breasts cite their low-fat and lower calorie content. Lovers of dark meat insist that it’s juicier and more flavorful. The fat in boneless, skinless chicken (light and dark meat) is mostly the monounsaturated variety, so it’s a healthful fat.
Four ounces of chicken breast provides 35 g of high-quality protein (over half the RDA) as well as phosphorus, B vitamins and 287 mg of potassium for good heart function, more than a banana. Chicken is also a good source of selenium, a powerful antioxidant. Studies have suggested that a diet low in selenium makes people more susceptible to certain types of cancer. A four ounce chicken breast provides 30 mg of this essential mineral, almost half the 70 mg RDA.
Korean cuisine has been growing in popularity among Americans. This recipe is easy to make and so flavorful. Even white meat chicken lovers will go for these boneless thighs.
SPICY KOREAN-STYLE CHICKEN
4 boneless chicken thighs, skin on
4 tsp. olive or sesame oil
2 Tbsp. honey
4 Tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
1 clove garlic, peeled, crushed and chopped
2 Tbsp. Korean gochujang or chili bean paste to taste (found in the Asian section of most any supermarket)
¼ cup water
¼ cup rice wine
Salt and pepper to taste
- Pat the thighs dry with a paper towel.
- Season both sides with salt and pepper.
- In a high-sided skillet, heat the oil medium high until hot, but not smoking.
- Add the chicken, skin side down and cook 8-10 minutes until the skin is browned.
- Flip the chicken and cook another 3-4 minutes until cooked through. Transfer chicken to a plate, leaving the drippings in the pan.
- To make the sauce, add the honey, soy sauce, garlic, water and rice wine and as much of the gochijang or chili paste as you’d like, depending on how spicy you want the dish to be; cook on medium high, 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Reduce heat and add the cooked chicken to the pan; spoon the sauce over the chicken for 2-3 minutes until it is completely cooked.
Garnish with sliced scallions, if desired. Serve with rice or roasted potatoes and red cabbage.
NORTH AFRICAN CHICKEN
Yield: About ½ cup
These spices are associated with Morocco. The flavor is exotic, but easy to prepare.
2 Tbsp. ea:
Ground coriander seed
1 tsp ea:
Ground cayenne pepper
Mix together and store in an airtight glass jar.
For the chicken:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, each cut into bite-sized pieces (about 4 each)
2 Tbsp. avocado oil
1 gallon-sized zip lock bag
- Place the spices and the chicken in the bag and shake well to coat the chicken completely.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet to medium high heat.
- Place the chicken pieces in the oil, move them and cook until just cooked through, about 5 minutes.
- Serve with couscous.
INDIAN CHICKEN WITH TANDOORI SPICE BLEND
Yield: About 2/3 cup
The increase of Indian-American citizens has led to and increased interest in Indian cuisine. The herbs in this traditional Indian spice blend provide lots of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
3 Tbsp. ground ginger
3 Tbsp. ground coriander
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
2 Tbsp. Hungarian or Spanish paprika
1 Tbsp. ground black pepper
2 tsp. sea salt
1 ½ tsp. ea:
Mix spices together.
For the chicken: Sprinkle onto quartered chicken pieces before cooking on the barbeque. Or, brown the chicken pieces in an oiled skillet for 4 minutes on each side; then add the spices to ¾ cup of tomato sauce and simmer for 15 minutes before serving.
CLASSIC ROAST CHICKEN WITH HERBS DE PROVENCE
Yield: about 1/3 cup — Serves 4
Made from herbs that grow readily in the South of France, use this blend to give your roast chicken a summery flavor all year round.
1 Tsp. ea:
Dried lavender (optional)
1 Tbsp. ea:
2 cloves of garlic, peeled, crushed and chopped
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Mix spices together. Store in a glass jar until ready for use.
For the chicken:
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Rinse the chicken inside and out. Trim any excess fat and pat dry. Salt and pepper the inside of the chicken, then sprinkle half the garlic and herbs de Provence in the cavity. Place chicken in an oiled roasting pan.
- Brush the outside of the chicken with olive oil, squeeze on the lemon juice and sprinkle again with salt, pepper and the rest of the herbs de Provence and garlic.
- Roast the chicken for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh.
- Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving and serving.
GRILLED CHICKEN WITH PAPAYA SALSA
Here in the Western Hemisphere we love Latin and Caribbean flavors. Chicken breasts are the perfect vehicle for zesty tropical tastes. The Papaya Salsa is full of immune-boosting vitamin C and beta carotene for eye and skin health.
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
¼ cup fresh lime juice
¼ cup avocado oil (for marinade)
1 tsp. Dijon or spicy brown mustard
2 cloves garlic, peeled, crush and chopped
2 Tbsp. avocado oil (for skillet)
Pineapple Salsa (from the Aging Gracefully cookbook and on the website)
- Marinate the chicken in the lime juice, oil, garlic and mustard in a zip lock bag for 30 minutes.
- Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet.
- Cook the chicken for 5 minutes each side; can also cook on the grill.
- Top with the Papaya Salsa and serve.
PERSIAN CHICKEN WITH CURRIED YOGURT/POMEGRANATE SAUCE
This festive dish contains added nutrients from calcium and protein rich Greek yogurt and antioxidant-loaded pomegranate. For an extra age-defying ingredient, pistachios can be added, too. (The photo above features lamb and chicken, but we’re just focusing on chicken in this blog.)
3 lb. chicken cut up
3 cups water
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. ground pepper
2 stalks of celery
2 medium carrots
4 cups Greek yogurt
1 onion, chopped finely
½ tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. ea.
1 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. butter
¼ cup fresh or frozen pomegranate seeds
¼ cup pistachio nuts, chopped (optional)
- Place the chicken pieces in a Dutch oven with the water and ½ tsp. ea. Salt and pepper along with the celery and carrot.
- On the stovetop, cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Periodically skim off the scum.
- Remove the chicken, let cool, then remove the skin and bones.
- Cut the meat into ½ inch strips.
- Place yogurt into a double boiler with the eggs, chopped onion, remaining salt, allspice and spices.
- Beat thoroughly. Add flour and butter a little at a time, stirring constantly for about 10 minutes over low heat until the sauce thickens. Take care not to overheat the sauce or it will curdle.
- Add the chicken strips to the sauce and cook another 5 minutes.
- Serve over basmati rice and sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds.
Now you can travel the world by preparing these healthful and delicious chicken dishes.
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Prevents and repairs oxidative damage to cells caused by free radicals.
Support the body’s resistance to infection and strengthen immune vigilance and response.
Improves mood, memory, and focus.
Reduces risk factors for common degenerative and age-related diseases.