Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Asian-Marinated Chicken with Kumquat Sauce

After days of sugary goodness, The Well-Fed Newlyweds’ first-ever Sweets Week has come to an end. I hope you enjoyed all of the posts and will take the time to make some sweets for your sweet this Valentine’s Day. I promise to keep the dessert recipes coming. I mean, c’mon, there’s always an excuse for some sweet treats. There’s Presidents’ Day, St. Paddy’s Day, snow days…

In the meantime, after all that sweet, I think it’s time for a little heat. But first, a question. Ever had a kumquat? Until recently, I was not even sure what a kumquat was. I was pretty sure it was a fruit, but besides that, I had no clue. Color? Flavor? Size? Kumquats were a mystery to me. If you’ve never had one, a kumquat is a small, oval-shaped citrus fruit. Orange in color, kumquats differ from most other citrus fruits in the fact that you can eat them whole. Unlike their citrus fruit relatives, it is the kumquats’ peels that are sweet while their flesh is tart and tangy.

I came across this recipe for Asian-Marinated Chicken with Kumquat Sauce in an old cooking magazine several months ago. I was intrigued by the idea of using a new (to me) ingredient, and decided to try out the recipe. However, I soon found out that kumquats were not in season, and I would have to wait until winter to give the recipe a try. Not deterred, I stashed away the recipe and waited for kumquat season… not really knowing when that would be. Lucky for me, kumquats began appearing at my local grocery stores about a month ago.

If the idea of trying a new or unusual ingredient appeals to you, I definitely suggest giving this recipe a try. The chicken breasts are marinated in a spicy marinade infused with Asian flavors and then grilled. Topping off the chicken is a sauce made of kumquats and other citrus fruit juices. A word of caution: this dish packs some heat. I actually found it almost too hot to eat. Oddly enough, however, Stan loved it, and he typically has a much lower heat tolerance than I do. Both the chicken marinade and the kumquat sauce contain chili-garlic sauce, a spicy condiment easily found in the Asian foods section of your local supermarket. If you are weary of having your taste buds a little too fired-up, I would reduce the amount of chili-garlic sauce you include in both components of this dish. If, however, you are one for whom there’s no such thing as too spicy, try this recipe as is, and your taste buds will sing.

Asian-Marinated Chicken with Kumquat Sauce
Adapted from Cooking Pleasures, a publication of the Cooking Club of America

2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 T. soy sauce
1 T. chili-garlic
2 tsp. dark sesame oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

4 kumquats, quartered
2 shallots (or 1/2 small onion), sliced
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup, plus 2 tsp. water, divided
3/4 cup orange juice *
2 T. lime juice
2 tsp. chili-garlic sauce
1 1/2 tsp. fish sauce
1 1/2 tsp. rice vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. vegetable oil

* If you are squeezing your own orange juice, choose super sweet varieties like temple or Valencia oranges. You can also use tangerines or tangelos.

In a small bowl, combine all of the marinade ingredients. Place the chicken in a large, resealable plastic bag, and add the marinade. Refrigerate the chicken for 2 to 4 hours, turning the bag occasionally.

In a medium saucepan, combine the kumquats, shallots or onion, sugar, ginger, and 1/4 cup of water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and cook for 10 minutes, or until reduced by half.

Add the orange juice, lime juice, chili-garlic sauce, fish sauce, and vinegar. Stir to combine. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh strainer into a medium bowl. Reserve the kumquat pieces, and discard the rest of the solids.

Return the sauce and kumquat pieces to the saucepan.

In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and the remaining 2 tsp. of water. Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the kumquat sauce. Boil for 1 minute to thicken, and then remove the saucepan from the heat.

Heat a grill pan or a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brush the pan with vegetable oil or grease with cooking spray. Remove the chicken from the marinade, and place it in the pan. Cook about 6 minutes per side, or until the chicken is no longer pink in the middle.

Serve the chicken topped with warm kumquat sauce. 

** This dish goes well with rice, which nicely absorbs the sweet-hot sauce.


  1. Your cut citrus fruit picture is beautiful. You are getting VERY good with your camera and tripod!

  2. Thanks Mom :) I actually took those pictures without the tripod. I've been bad about using it lately cause we always seem to be running late for dinner!

  3. This looks amazing! I'm gonna use this next time I have a date. She'll be swooning. Do women still swoon these days? Is that still a thing? Or am I being terribly politically incorrect?

  4. Eric, if you make this for your date, I'm sure she will swoon! Women definitely still swoon, especially if their dates cook for them. I'd swoon if Stan cooked for me... Oh to dream ;)



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