Sticky Chicken with Malaysian Salad

This Sticky Chicken with Malaysian Salad is perfect for a no-fuss weeknight meal.

sticky chicken drumsticks on plate

I know all too well that planning meals ahead of time, doing the grocery shopping in bulk, and even cooking in advance, are the easiest paths to a stress-free suppertime, but being organised often takes time and time is a scarce commodity when there is a toddler and newborn in the equation.

And so I often find myself at the supermarket without a clue as to what to cook for dinner, except that I am relieved to have arrived there with both kids still alive.

But then begins the mad dash to complete the grocery shopping before one or both kids decide that the cramped fruit and veg section is the appropriate forum to suddenly air their wailing complaints.

This often means quickly filling the shopping basket with familiar foods which I know I can randomly throw together to create a meal, and the most common protein I turn to is chicken.

sticky chicken drumsticks with pickled chillies

As much as I love to cook and spend my days pottering about in the kitchen, at this stage in my life, being able to commit more than 5 minutes to any activity uninterrupted is a luxury.

So these days, when it comes to cooking, I am often turning to recipes which require minimal preparation and minimal stoveside activity.

Chicken drumsticks, and also chicken thighs, happen to be something I can prepare quickly before popping them into the oven to bake for a good hour or so with little input from my part during that time.

The recipe below comes from Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook, and I love that it is a recipe which doesn’t require any overnight marinading. Of course, leaving the chicken to marinate overnight will produce a more flavoursome meal, but the pungent ingredients in the marinade means that you can get away with this step for a perfectly tasty result.

Rachel Khoo teams up her chicken with a Malaysian salad of cucumber and pineapple which is both refreshing and sweet.

sticky chicken with malaysian salad

If you are not serving this dish to children (or adults) with sensitive palates, I would add a few more chillies into the marinade for a good, spicy kick. I would also be tempted to add chopped red chillies to the salad but, as not everyone is a fan of spicy food, this is where Rachel Khoo’s Pickled Chillies come in handy.

Being the only person in our family who likes spicy food, I often have to omit the chillies from my cooking and instead make do with chillies as a condiment. But these pickled chillies are so delicious that I almost don’t mind.

sticky chicken drumsticks on wooden board


Sticky Chicken with Malaysian Salad

5 from 2 reviews

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 mins
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6


  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 3 cm (1 inch) piece of ginger, peeled & roughly chopped
  • 100 g (3.5 oz) runny honey
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) light soy sauce
  • 1 red chilli (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 kg (2 lb) chicken drumsticks &/or chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 small red onion
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 large cucumber
  • 1/2 small pineapple
  • sea salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (without fan).
  2. In a food processor, blend together the garlic, ginger, honey, soy sauce, red chilli, sesame oil, and fish sauce.
  3. Using a sharp knife, cut a few incisions into the chicken pieces on the diagonal. Place the chicken pieces on a large roasting tray and pour over the marinade. Use your hands to rub the marinade into the chicken pieces, making sure that each piece is well-coated.
  4. Bake the chicken for 45-60 minutes, or until they are bronzed and golden. During this time, turn the chicken over once or twice so that it can brown on all sides. And while you are in the kitchen, you may as well put on a pot of steamed rice to make the meal more substantial.
  5. Once the chicken is ready, remove the tray from the oven and sprinkle the chicken with the toasted sesame seeds.
  6. To make the Malaysian salad, thinly slice the red onion and place in a salad bowl with the lime juice to steep for 5-10 minutes. Halve and de-seed the cucumber, before chopping the cucumber into large bite-sized chunks. Peel and chop the pineapple into similar-sized pieces as the cucumber. Add the cucumber and pineapple to the steeped onions and toss everything to combine. Season with sea salt just before serving.
  7. To prepare the chicken ahead of time, simply place the slashed chicken pieces into a large zip-lock freezer bag and add the marinade. Close the bag and make sure the chicken pieces are well-coated. For extra reassurance against leaks and stinky spills in the fridge, I would double-bag the chicken before putting it into the fridge, where it can be kept for a couple of days. Before you cook the chicken, bring it to room temperature first by leaving the unopened bag on the kitchen counter for 20-30 minutes.

Kitchen Notes

All recipes on this website state temperatures for a regular oven (i.e. a conventional oven without fan). If you have a convection oven with a fan, please consult the manufacturer’s handbook on how to adjust the temperature and baking time accordingly.

To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.


  • Serving Size: Nutritional info per serving of chicken
  • Calories: 912
  • Sugar: 11.2g
  • Sodium: 771mg
  • Fat: 79.6g
  • Carbohydrates: 14.9g
  • Fiber: 0.2g
  • Protein: 33.9g
  • Cholesterol: 253.8mg

Did you make this recipe?

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16 comments on “Sticky Chicken with Malaysian Salad

  1. mimi 22 June 2015

    Wow! What fabulous looking chicken!!! And I do love fish sauce. Pretty pictures. What exactly is runny honey?

    • Eat, Little Bird 22 June 2015

      Thanks, mimi! There are different types of honey and some are better suited to cooking. Generally, runny honey is better for marinades like this one. You can also buy thick honey – the texture is such that you have to use a spoon to scoop it out. Runny honey, on the other hand, has a pouring consistency. Hope this helps!

  2. I love a great recipe where you don’t need to marinade it over night as most of the time I am never that organised! Thanks for sharing 🙂 I haven’t go my hands on a copy of Rachel Khoo’s new book yet but this looks delicious so might have to give it a go. Maybe with chicken wings in the mix too? My bf LOVES chicken wings so anything to spruce them up is a bonus!
    Also do the pickled chilli’s keep their heat?

    • Eat, Little Bird 23 June 2015

      Ooh yes, chicken wings would be great in this marinade! Basically, any chicken pieces would work, but I find drumsticks and thighs to be quick and easiest to prepare. Plus, my toddler can eat the drumsticks with his hands 🙂

      The pickled chillies lose a bit of their heat over time, maybe after 2 or 3 months, but they are still very good. So if you like your chillies very spicy, I probably wouldn’t pickle too many in advance.

  3. Rushi 26 June 2015

    My mom used to make a variation of this salad, she’d sometimes add some tomatoes.. Your post brought back many memories. I’m more of a chicken breast gal whereas hubby loves the thighs and wings. I like the sound of this recipe because it doesn’t take too much time and I don’t seem to have much time with bubs running about..

    • Eat, Little Bird 2 July 2015

      I like the sound of tomatoes in this salad. I suppose you could add whatever you like. I also prefer the chicken breast most of the time, which works out well because chicken thigh is supposed to be higher in iron, so I tend to feed thigh meat to my son 😉 But I like drumsticks because you can get a good ratio of crispy skin to meat. Plus, my little one can eat with his hands!

  4. Sahm 2 July 2015

    I made this tonight for a girlfriend. We had a midweek dinner. The chicken and salad was so easy to make and tasted fab! Pt hanks for the inspiration. I just love your website.

  5. Julia 10 July 2015

    Thanks for both recipes. They were super easy to prepare and just delicious. Great for a weekday dinner 🙂

  6. Sandrine 22 September 2015

    I made this recipe for a monday night dinner when we had friends over for a midweek dinner. It was flavorful and easy. Our guests asked for the recipe. Thanks for posting this great recipe! I really love the food photos your have posted in your blog.

    • Eat, Little Bird 23 September 2015

      Hi Sandrine, I’m so glad to hear that you and your friends enjoyed this recipe! It’s always a good sign when guests ask you for the recipe 🙂 I hope you will enjoy other recipes on this blog.

  7. Carol Thompson 6 October 2016

    I saw Rachel Khoo cook this on TV the other night and searched for the recipe (which is how I ended up at Eat,little bird). Made it yesterday and ….yummo! Easy and a success. So not only a new recipe, a very interesting blog.Thank you!

    • Eat, Little Bird 6 October 2016

      So glad you enjoyed this recipe (and that you found my blog!) 🙂 It’s one of my go-to recipes for during the week when I’m a bit short on time, and it’s always a hit with the family. I hope you will enjoy some other recipes here too!

  8. Madeleine 24 March 2018

    My family really enjoyed this recipe! Was very easy and quick to prepare. Thank you!

  9. Julia 13 April 2018

    Oh, I love chicken! Your recipe is a great idea for me. Looks very TASTY! YUM!


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