Weekend Cook: The days of bland meals are gone

Huli means ‘turn’ in Hawaiian.
Huli means ‘turn’ in Hawaiian.

THE Australia I grew up in offered a mostly bland array of meal options. My mum was a terrific cook but having a family of three fussy kids, she rarely cooked anything new and stuck to the success story of meat and three veg, and fish on Fridays.

Now, of course, with the influx of other cultures over the years and the ability to travel more often than we could back then, I have had the opportunity to sample many new flavours and often-exotic dishes.

A trip to Hawaii a few years ago delivered this tasty recipe, known locally as huli-huli chicken; I ate it in several restaurants and enjoyed it so much, I asked one of the chefs for the recipe. He kindly obliged and after I converted the quantities from imperial to metric, I managed to successfully recreate it at home. It's become a favourite. There is quite a bit of sugar in the marinade; I reduced it somewhat without losing much flavour. But as always, the sugar makes the meat more inclined to burn, so you should keep an eye on this dish at all times to prevent too much charring.

Huli-huli-style chicken

INGREDIENTS: 3/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar 3/4 cup bottled tomato puree (passata) 3/4 cup soy sauce 1/4 cup chicken stock juice of half a lemon large knob of fresh ginger, grated finely 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed 1 tsp dried chilli flakes (optional) 2kg skinless chicken pieces (boned thigh and breast fillets work best).

METHOD: Combine all ingredients except the chicken. Reserve a cup of the marinade to baste chicken while cooking. Place chicken pieces in a glass or ceramic dish and pour the marinade over. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours, preferably overnight. Turn the chicken several times to coat.

Preheat barbecue or grill to medium high. Drain the chicken pieces. Lightly oil the grill using tongs and a paper towel.

Place chicken pieces on the barbecue and cook for about eight minutes per side or until chicken is cooked through, basting occasionally with the reserved marinade. Turn the chicken often to prevent the marinade from scorching.

Remove from grill and cover loosely with foil; allow to stand for five minutes. Serve with a tossed salad and steamed rice. Serves 8.

Email Maggie at or check out her blog

Topics:  chicken maggie cooper recipe

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