asian-inspired flavours: spicy marinated chicken in a parcel with chorizo and mushrooms

chicken and chorizo
with asian flavours
When I was a kid I loved food that broke the rules; from Vichyssoise soup (because it was cold), to Spaghetti Bolognese (because I got to swap my cutlery around - holding a fork in my right hand). When we moved to Malaysia when I was seven years old, I was able to add another dish to my growing love of rule breaking meals. To my ordered little mind, cooking chicken in a parcel with sausage seemed beautifully rebellious.What? Chicken and pig together; is it allowed?

I would like to think that my fascination was also a nascent delight in intensely flavoured food, but since I had also enjoyed the pleasures of the A+W, an American drive-in that served fried chicken-in-a-basket with curly fries, I suspect it was purely the novelty. A few years later, when I was introduced to the concept of"surf 'n turf my little mind was well and truly blown!

In Malaysia, my parents regularly treated my brother and I to an evening trip to the
pasar malam (night markets), where hawkers sold food cooked at the roadside. If I wasn't choosing spicy noodles such as mee goreng, I would often choose the chicken parcel dish. Sometimes, something very similar would appear on the menu at Chinese wedding banquets too - a more refined version. Unfortunately, I don't actually know what the dish was called. What I do remember was that chicken was either poached or roasted in a highly spiced sauce with sweet Chinese sausage, Chinese mushrooms and spring onions.

I was feeling nostalgic and fancied recreating something similar. I didn't have any Chinese sausage, some of which are made of pork and are often slightly sweet and smoky tasting. What I did have was some Spanish chorizo, which I knew would work well. I have also just bought an ingredient that is new to me but destined to become an essential addition to my larder - Gochujang, Korean chilli paste. It is a shiny, thick paste with a strong savoury flavour, a bit like Marmite, which packs no small punch. It isn't essential to the dish but it definitely added a gentle kick.

Serves 4

Skill level: Easy

8 x chicken drumsticks (or thighs)
100g chorizo, sliced (about 5mm thick)
100g x chestnut mushrooms, very thinly sliced
4 x spring onions, cut into 2cm lengths (including the green parts)

100g x mangetout or green beans
2 tbsp nam pla (fish sauce)
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp Gochujang, Korean chilli paste or similar chilli sauce
2 tsp mirin
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp sesame oil
½ tsp ground fennel


  1. With a sharp knife, make 2 to 3 slashes in the chicken drumsticks.
  2. Combine all the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl. Add the chicken and mix well to ensure that all of the chicken is coated in marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, but preferably overnight.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 200C / Gas Mark 6.
  4. Either using baking parchment or kitchen foil, cut sheets that are about 20cm x 20cm - which will form your parcels.
    On each sheet, drizzle over a little of the marinade and using a palate knife coat the centre of the sheet.
  5. Divide up the sliced mushrooms, chorizo, mangetout and spring onions between each sheet.
  6. Top each sheet with 2 chicken drumsticks.
  7. Bring the sides of the sheet up towards you, before drizzling over the remainder of the marinade, then tuck in the sides to form the parcel. This way ensures that the marinade does not escape!
  8. Place the parcels on a baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes. The chicken will be cooked through, the vegetables softened and the marinade sizzling.
  9. Serve with plain rice cooked with my favourite green peas.


  • If you prefer, you can quickly stir fry the chicken drumsticks before baking to give the skin more colour.
  • The parcels can be steamed rather than baked. Steam for 20 to 30 minutes.

No comments: