You can find versions of this dish all over Trinidad and Tobago, a taste of that nation’s diversity of culture and commitment to the delicious. The skin is fried into a lacquered mahogany. The meat beneath it tastes of five-spice, ginger and soy and is generally accompanied by the hum of oyster sauce mixed with the zing of the pickled Scotch bonnet pepper sauce that is seemingly omnipresent on the island’s tables. Do not stint on the lime used in the marinade. It offers a tartness that helps cut the saltiness of the soy.
- 8 to 10 chicken thighs, legs, and wings (about 3 pounds total)
- 2 tablespoons Chinese five-spice powder
- 3 or 4 limes
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- One 2-inch knob fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- ¹/₂ cup neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- ¹/₂ cup oyster sauce
- 1 to 3 tablespoons Scotch bonnet pepper sauce, such as Matouk’s
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ¹/₄ cup chopped green scallions
- In a large nonreactive bowl, toss the chicken with the five-spice powder, then with the juice of 2 of the limes, the soy sauce, and ginger. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to a full day.
- Combine the oils in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. There should be at least 1/4 inch of oil in the pan. When the oil is hot, remove the chicken from the marinade, allowing the excess marinade to drip back into the bowl, and fry, in batches if necessary to not crowd the pan, turning the pieces frequently, until well browned and cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the dipping sauce. Combine the oyster sauce, 1 tablespoon of the hot pepper sauce, and the juice of the third lime and stir to combine. Adjust the seasonings with more hot sauce, lime juice, and black pepper to taste.
- Garnish with the scallions and serve with white or fried rice, with a drizzle of the sauce over each piece of chicken and the remaining sauce on the side.
Reprinted from See You on Sunday. Copyright © 2019 by Sam Sifton. Photographs © 2019 by David Malosh. Published by Random House, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.