A Chili Crisp and Honey Roasted Chicken, Inspired by Ina Garten and a Taiwanese Grandma

published Mar 11, 2023
Kitchn Love Letters
Chili Crisp and Honey Roasted Whole Chicken Recipe

A whole roasted chicken stuffed with aromatics with a chili crisp, scallion, and ginger glaze.

Serves3-4

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Photo of Chili Crisp and Honey Roasted Whole Chicken from My Taiwanese-American Home cookbook, by Frankie Gaw
Credit: Frankie Gaw

In the kitchen of my childhood house in Taipei, there was storage space for rice and cooking wine under the stove — there was no oven. When I was in high school, we got a service that allowed us to watch American television. On Food Network cooking shows, the hosts all had full-size ovens to roast whole chickens at home, something not common in Taiwanese kitchens. Watching the cooking show hosts making food in colorful, spacious kitchens definitely romanticized cooking for me, and the idea of a whole roast chicken was something that was foreign, festive, and reserved for special occasions. 

Flipping through Frankie Gaw’s debut cookbook, First Generation, his Chili Crisp and Honey Roasted Whole Chicken caught my eye. Even though Frankie grew up in the States, his Taiwanese American family never used the oven. Just like how I was unfamiliar with an oven, Frankie didn’t understand its true purpose until watching Ina Garten pull a golden-brown roast chicken out of it. And so this Taiwanese American recipe was born. In Frankie’s words, ”This recipe invokes another fantasy-world where Ina Garten and my grandma get to cook together. A whole roasted chicken stuffed with aromatics absorbs my grandma’s flavors of chili crisp, scallion, and ginger through a rich glaze poured over its crisp skin.” It’s got the festive presentation like the ones you’ll often see Ina pulling out of her oven, and the irresistible flavors of a Taiwanese grandma’s home cooking.  

Recipes in Frankie’s first cookbook represent what the Taiwanese American experience could taste like. It’s a personal exploration of being both a son of immigrants and an American. While being in between is never easy, it is what makes one learn to appreciate the beauty of both worlds. He shows us how the results can be delicious, just like this Chili Crisp and Honey Roasted Whole Chicken. 

Chili Crisp and Honey Roasted Whole Chicken Recipe

A whole roasted chicken stuffed with aromatics with a chili crisp, scallion, and ginger glaze.

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

For the chicken

  • 2 tablespoons

    kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling

  • 1

    (4- to 5-pound) chicken

  • 14

    scallions, with ends trimmed

  • 1 tablespoon

    ground ginger

  • 1 tablespoon

    granulated sugar

  • 4 teaspoons

    rice vinegar or lemon juice

  • 2 cups

    water

  • 1 head

    garlic, halved

  • 1

    thumb-sized slice ginger

  • 2 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

For the sauce

  • 4 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons

    apple cider vinegar

  • 1/4 cup

    plus 1 tablespoon honey

  • 3 tablespoons

    soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon

    chili crisp

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    chopped fresh rosemary (from 1 sprig)

For the topping

  • Chopped scallions

  • Chopped cilantro

Instructions

Brine the chicken

  1. Very generously sprinkle kosher salt (about 1 teaspoon per pound) on the whole chicken from front to back and inside the cavity. Let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

  2. While the chicken rests, place 10 of the scallions, the 2 tablespoons salt, ground ginger, sugar, rice vinegar, and water in a blender and blend until smooth. Once the chicken is ready, place in a gallon-size zip-top bag. Pour the blended scallion brine into the bag and seal. Refrigerate for 24 hours, flipping it around the halfway mark so the chicken brines evenly.

Stuff the chicken

  1. The next day, preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Remove the chicken from the plastic bag and gently wipe off the excess brine. Tuck the garlic, fresh ginger, and remaining 4 scallions into the cavity.

  2. Place the chicken on the prepared baking sheet, breast side up. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Melt the 2 tablespoons butter and brush an even layer all over the chicken. Roast at 425°F for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 400°F and roast for another 35 to 40 minutes, until the internal temperature is 165°F or the juices run clear.

Make the sauce

  1. While the chicken roasts, in a small pot over medium heat, melt the 4 tablespoons butter. Add the vinegar, honey, soy sauce, chili crisp, and rosemary, and stir until incorporated and smooth. Bring to a simmer, then pour into a container and set aside.

Carve and serve the chicken

  1. When the chicken is done, remove it from the oven, cover it with foil, and let rest 15 to 20 minutes. Uncover and carve into breasts (slice breasts into 4 or 5 pieces for easier sharing), thighs, drumsticks, and wings, and place onto a platter. Pour the sauce over the chicken and top with scallions and cilantro to serve.

Recipe Notes

Reprinted with permission from First Generation: Recipes from My Taiwanese-American Home by Frankie Gaw. Text and photography by Franklin Gaw © 2022. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.