Candace

JAELITZA’S SESAME CHICKEN

Back in the late ‘70s, ¡ was a staff cook at Esalen at the same time that Jaclitza was. Jaelitza had traveled the world in her youth. lived in Africa, and settled inCalifornia where she became a sehool teacher She decided to change her life -- she left her job and found her way to Esalen in the late 70’s. She was on the Esalen cooking staff for many years. Jaclitza was the Zen Buddhist mother superior of the Esalen kitchen. She did her job with skill, grace and unnerving calrn in the eye of the storm of chaos that was, at times, the Esalen kitchen.  She exemplified to the work scholars love and caring for the tasks they performed. She pointed them to the moment-to-moment awareness of washing potatoes. Shopping broccoli, or marinating chicken. And she had a Slavic heart that filled the kitchen with her overpowering loving presence.

Serves 4

¼ cup vegetable oil

¼ cup tamari soy sauce

2 tablespoons white wine

2 tablespoons honey

1 clove garlic

¾ teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon red chili flakes

3 tablespoons sesame seeds

1 whole chicken, cut in 8 pieces

1 medium yellow onion, cut in ½ inch dice

Mix the oil, soy sauce, wine, and honey in a small bowl until well blended. Mince the garlic arid add it to the marinade along with the ginger, chili flakes, and sesame seeds.

Place a ladleful of the marinade in a baking dish. Don’t use a large baking dish; the chicken should fit in snugly. Lay the chicken pieces in the dish skin-side up. and then ladle the rest of the marinade over the chicken. Marinate at least ½ hour before cooking. It helps to prick the chicken pieces with a meat fork so that the marinade can be absorbed into the meat.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for about 1 hour total, covering it only for the first 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove cover, baste, and bake 20 minutes more. Then baste again and sprinkle with chopped onion. Return to oven for final 20 minutes of baking. The chicken will develop its own juice that will blend nicely with the marinade. The meat will turn a beautiful barbecued brown. It is done when the interior temperature of the meat reaches 165 degrees F on a meat thermometer.

 

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