Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sriracha Chicken with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce

Who doesn't love hot wings? We definitely do, and that is where this recipe has its roots. It started as a hot wing recipe and morphed over the years to its ultimate incarnation, "Sriracha Chicken." We eventually got away from making hot wings because of their fat content (and also we got lazy about having to eat around bones). I streamlined the recipe; Sriracha is already full of complex flavors: spicy, sweet, tangy and garlicy, so you don't need to add much else to it to make tasty chicken. When coming up with a dipping sauce for this dish, your classic ranch or bleu cheese dressing just didn't seem right. So I made an easy cilantro-yogurt sauce based on my cilantro sauce. The cilantro goes perfectly with the exotic Asian flavors of Sriracha, and it is fresh and creamy to cool down the slow burn of Sriracha. It's another one of my super-simple, healthy, low-carb recipes. We have it at least once a week, and I always make Buffalo Cauliflower as the side dish.

Tip: When you pull your chicken out of the oven, it may look a bit pale and unappealing. Tossing the cooked chicken in a little extra Sriracha at the end is the key to getting a thick, rich, glossy coating on it.

*This chicken has a medium to hot spice level. If you can't tolerate that level of heat, reduce the amount of Sriracha in both the marinade and the amount you toss it in in the end.

Sriracha Chicken
2.5-3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken, cut into 1-inch wide strips--You could use any type; wings, breasts, thighs. legs. Thighs are my favorite because they are so moist and unctuous
1/3 cup Sriracha
2 T soy sauce
2 T sweetener such as sugar, Splenda, or honey
another 3 T Sriracha, reserved
optional marinade add-ins:
1/2 t sesame oil
1 t minced garlic
1/2 t fresh ginger paste

Marinate all ingredients in a plastic bag (except reserved Sriracha and sesame oil if using) for a few hours, up to a day. In a pinch, you can get away with not marinating beforehand. Just mix the marinade ingredients with the chicken and bake. It will not be quite as flavorful and juicy, but it will still be delicious.

Bake at 450 on a large baking sheet or roasting pan for 15 minutes for breasts, 20 for thighs or wings, 25 for legs. If you like your chicken to have a nice char on it, you can put the pan on the top rack and turn the broiler on for a couple of minutes at the end (optional). Once cooked, place in large mixing bowl and add reserved Sriracha. Toss until coated--this is the fun part!

This would also be fantastic grilled!

Serve with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce and Buffalo Roasted Cauliflower.

Cilantro Yogurt Sauce
1 bunch cilantro, stems included (Cilantro stems are tender and flavorful, so use them! Waste not want not!)
1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt (more if you like it really thick and creamy)
1 T lime juice
salt to taste

Put in food processor or blender and whiz up until smooth.

Buffalo Roasted Cauliflower

How do you make a balanced meal out of hot wings (or our favorite, Sriracha Chicken)? Add a side of buffalo roasted cauliflower! These roasted nuggets of cauliflower infused with spicy buffalo wing flavor are also a great party food to have on hand for vegans and vegetarians. My Cilantro Yogurt Sauce is the perfect dip for this. (Here is a vegan version of the sauce without yogurt).

Buffalo Roasted Cauliflower
20 oz frozen cauliflower
1 T melted butter or oil
1 T Franks Red Hot
Pinch of garlic powder
2 T Franks Red Hot, reserved

In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except reserved Franks red hot, and toss together to combine. Pour onto a large greased baking sheet and roast at 450 for approximately 25 minutes, stirring a couple of times, until they are golden brown. Once cooked, return to mixing bowl and add reserved hot sauce. Toss until coated. Adjust spice level if necessary. Serve with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce.