Blackened chicken with caramel and clementine dressing

Serves 4 Starters and mains

Blackened chicken



  • 6 large chicken thighs (approx. 1kg), bones removed and skin on (see Cook’s note)
  • 1 1/2tsp ground turmeric
  • 1tsp chilli flakes
  • 1tbsp fish sauce
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 1tsp salt
  • 12 spring onions, trimmed, washed well and dried
  • 5g fresh coriander, roughly chopped, to serve

For the dressing

  • 85g caster sugar
  • 30g fresh ginger, peeled and julienned
  • 3tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 3tbsp lime juice (from 2-3 limes)
  • plus 1 lime, halved, to serve
  • 2tbsp fish sauce
  • 2–3 clementines (approx.200g), peeled


Put the chicken thighs, turmeric, chilli flakes, fish sauce, oil and salt in a large bowl and mix well to combine. Leave to marinate for an hour, or cover and put in the fridge for longer (up to overnight). Remove from the fridge around 45 minutes before cooking.

Heat a large cast-iron sauté pan on a medium-high heat and ventilate the kitchen well. Once the pan is hot, add half the thighs, skin-side down and weigh down with a large pan of around the same size, so they are well pressed into the pan. Cook for 6–8 minutes or until the skin is charred and blackened. Remove the top pan and set the chicken aside, then repeat with the remaining thighs. The second batch may blacken faster, so check at the 5-minute mark. Remove all the chicken, setting it aside, and let the pan cool for 5-10 minutes.

If needed, drain off all but 1 1/2tbsp of the fat collected in the pan and return to a
medium-high heat. Add the spring onions, using tongs to coat them in the fat, then put
the thighs back in the pan skinside up, nestling them into the spring onions, along with any
juices and 90ml water. Cook for 8 minutes or until the chicken is tender and cooked through. Transfer to a board and leave to rest for 5 minutes before slicing each thigh into 2cm-wide strips.

While the chicken is cooking, make the dressing. Heat a medium pan over a mediumhigh
heat. Once hot, turn the heat down to medium and sprinkle the sugar in to coat the base – it should immediately start to melt and colour around the sides. Swirl the pan, without
stirring, for around 1 1/2–2 minutes so all the sugar melts and turns deeply golden.

Add the ginger and chillies, and stir continuously for 45 seconds just to take off the spicy
edge. Quickly add the vinegar, lime juice and fish sauce, stirring to combine. Cook for 30 seconds, then remove from the heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Use a small serrated knife to slice the clementines into 1cm thick rounds, then pull at them
gently to halve (don’t worry if they break apart further) and stir these into the cooled sauce.

Transfer the onions to a large platter and top with the chicken, using a spatula to keep the
slices together, and any pan juices. Pour the dressing over, then sprinkle with coriander and
squeeze the lime over to serve.

Use kitchen scissors to help you remove the thigh bones while keeping the skins intact.

Recipes and photographs taken from Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Extra Good Things by Noor Murad and Yotam Ottolenghi, photography by Elena Heatherwick (Ebury Press, £ 25)
Blackened chicken
Recipes and photographs taken from Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Extra Good Things by Noor Murad and Yotam Ottolenghi, photography by Elena Heatherwick (Ebury Press, £ 25)


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