You guysss. Today is a Totally Absolutely Completely Spicy Garlic Chicken and Broccoli Monday.
These tender, juicy, flavor-pumpin’ chicken pieces are first baked to a golden crispy perfection, then dipped in sauce, then re-baked to get that sauce all soaked into the chicken so it’s that perfect balance of semi-crispy and saucy-sticky, and served over hot steaming basmati rice that will make you feel like you might be in the restaurant of your dreams. Surprise! It’s your kitchen. And before the fork action starts, let’s throw some supergreen tender crisp broccoli florets up in there and drizzle it all with a little more of that tangy hoisin and honey garlic sauce, mmkay? Sauce makes the food world go ROUND.
Is it just me, or should it always be time to eat? I am pretty sure we arranged and re-arranged our whole Texas trip this last weekend around where we (read: I) would locate, obsess, and devour our next meal. And then hi hello hayyy snack bar over there, and then the clock strikes vanilla latte o’clock, and *gasp* would you look at that, kids? Time to eat again.
I take eating really seriously 1) in life, and 2) to the extreme when traveling. It will for real put me in a medium-ish bad mood if and when a travel meal is not intentionally pre-chosen for all its good ratings on my nerdiest/favoritist website ever, Trip Advisor. Don’t look now but I might have just become a Senior Reviewer. BOOSH.
So before every meal, and especially on vacation, there is re-re-re-research. As in I search and a re-search and I re-re-search until I find the place deserving of one of my Eating Out On Vacation Meals. We’re talking 45 minutes of hard core, sorry-can’t-talk-right-now-I’m-working-on-something Trip Advisor picture stalking and restaurant website studying. After Saturday’s night’s epic hunt for the perfect place in Houston, I became a living, breathing version of Trip Advisor with a database of BBQ and seafood restaurant menus embedded into my food-loving head. Like, mem-or-ized. And that’s the kind of crazy you’re endorsing when you read this blog.
When we arrived in Houston, it was late and we got a leetle mixed up and tried to check in at the wrong hotel thanks to the person who arranged our accommodations whose name rhymes with Tindsay. By the time we made it the actual correct hotel *eye roll* all the restaurants within ten miles were closed. Pouty face. No room in the inn. Do not pass go. Kick self in face.
So the real truth of my life ensued: with all the restaurants closed, I had to spend one of my Eating Out On Vacation meals on (you know it’s coming) McDonald’s. Owie ow, it hurts. Not even because I don’t like McDonald’s – you and I both know there is a very real time and place for the arches, usually involving Desperation with a capital D and fistfuls of golden, salty, crispy French fries – but how horrible is it to go all the way to Texas only to find yourself eating things fr— I can’t even talk about it anymore.
Here, look at some chicken with me.
This Sticky Garlic Chicken and Broccoli. ❤ It’s so satisfying – especially with a side of beautifully aromatic basmati rice. And hello to the pile of bright green broccoli. I’m telling you – this combo is going to fill you up all day and night (which, for me, is some kind of miracle) and now let me tell you the magic trick –> 30 minutes.
I made this for the first time in the 25 minutes between a quick jog around the lake, a shower and get ready, and a head out the door for a church event. Maybe I stuffed my face with my sticky garlic chicken and broccoli dinner in the car that night. Don’t know don’t care.
What I do care is about that it was ready in time for me to whip into existence and then the leftovers were there waiting for me the next day for lunch and I swear to you they tasted like something from a movie. Er, like a food movie. Uhh, what? I don’t.. just, like… here.
Eat the sticky garlic chicken and feeeeeel gooooood.
- 1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders
- 1 cup buttermilk (just use milk with a spoonful of vinegar if you don't have buttermilk)
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 3-4 cups broccoli florets
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 1-inch piece fresh ginger
- ¾ cup light soy sauce
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup hoisin sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sambal oelek
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and place a metal cooling rack on top if you have one (it can work without, too). Soak the chicken in the buttermilk. Mix the panko, cornmeal, olive oil, and salt and pepper in a bowl. Remove the chicken one piece at a time, let the buttermilk drip off, and gently press into the panko cornmeal mixture until coated with crumbs. Place the chicken on the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. At 10 minutes, flip each piece and bake for another 10 minutes (so total bake time for the chicken is about 20 minutes).
- Meanwhile, as your chicken bakes, pulse all the sauce ingredients in a food processor. This is optional, but to help the sauce develop its flavor and thicken a bit, you can put it in a skillet over medium low heat and let it simmer for a while. Prepare your broccoli by boiling for 1 minute and plunging into ice water (it stays so bright green and crispy!) or stir frying until tender crisp.
- When the chicken is done, dip each piece in the sauce and return to the baking sheet. Bake another 5 minutes, re-dip for one last sauce love, and let rest for a minute or two. Serve over rice, with the broccoli and extra sauce.
One more thing – we just got back from an awesome weekend at Blog Elevated where Bjork and I taught seminars on monetizing a food blog, improving your food photography, and self-publishing ebooks. Holy wow that was fun! Thanks so much to everyone there for hosting us and it was so nice to meet all y’all Texas (and beyond) food bloggers. What a privilege. XO!
PS. I call that the Touching Heads Selfie. You can use that idea if you want, for sure. Feel free.