Freckles in April: Recipe: Plate Lunch BBQ Chicken

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Recipe: Plate Lunch BBQ Chicken

We've been a little Hawaii homesick lately. We haven't been back since Christmas 2009 and since Aaron's family moved here at the end of last year we don't have a good reason to plan a trip anytime soon. We used to make it at least once a year but now...who knows?

(what? You have no pity for us??)

One of the things we really look forward to when we go is the food. Mostly, the plate lunches. Hawaii is saturated with these hole-in-the-wall places that serve delicious local type food. There's always a scoop of sticky rice, some macaroni salad (we pass on that and just get double rice) and then your choice of entree. We always end up with gyoza and maybe some chicken katsu. Sometimes we'll get saimin if it's an option. But mostly we just get the BBQ chicken.

A few years ago I found this recipe for a marinade that comes darn close to our beloved plate lunch BBQ chicken. It is in no way whole-foods friendly which made it a special treat yesterday. It was sunny and breezy and we ate outside while basking in the sunshine and pretending we were on Oahu.

Plate Lunch BBQ Chicken

1 cup white sugar
1 cup soy sauce (we are soy sauce snobs and like Aloha Shoyu. You can usually find it at Asian markets)
1 cup water
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp ground ginger

4 tsp hot chile paste (optional)

In a medium saucepan over high heat, whisk together the sugar, soy sauce, water, onion powder, ground ginger, and garlic. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and whisk in chile paste, if using. Reserve some marinade for brushing (1/2 cup usually does it for me). I like to use chicken tenders or cut thick chicken breasts in half so the marinade can really get in there. Place chicken in remaining marinade. Cover and refrigerate at least four hours before grilling. Enjoy with sticky rice and pretend you're on the north shore.


  1. I'm pretty sure if I didn't love you so much, your talk of both Hawaii and a warm breezy day in January would make me hate you.

    But I don't.

  2. Question, how do you feel about the recipe versions with pineapple juice? They seem to always have twice as much of it than soy sauce, unless you don't like the sweetness or maybe your soy sauce has it? I've done it with OJ before too.

  3. great post, I really like it. Thanks for posting. :)


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