I'd been harbouring this jar of tahini in my kitchen cupboard and had completely forgotten about it until yesterday when I opened a door and realised there was no way I was going to manage squeezing in the groceries I had just lugged home. Oh my God. It hit me anew how much of a pack rat I am. *sigh* After the cleaning "expedition" I ended up with almost one and a half grocery bags of expired goods and a sense of shame I haven't experienced in a while. All of them were promptly and sadly discarded, except for the tahini which was about 3 weeks past the sell by date but looked, smelt and tasted perfectly fine. Fortunately, the thick layer of oil which had separated from and lay on top of the sesame paste, had probably prevented the paste from oxidising and spoiling.

the slightly grainy "artsy" shot

the "quit messing around with props and show me how crusty this really is, so close up it's almost pornographic" shot

Amongst the items destined for the bin, was a box of squid ink flavoured risotto which had returned to dust, a jar of lemon curd with pink streaks which had not been there when I bought it, a bag of musty orechiette and a box of jelly crystals which had morphed into a sticky pink syrup, in the absence of water. Ugh. As you've probably guessed, grocery shopping is my catnip, and I have a pretty short memory. Anyone else know what I'm talking about, or am I singularly afflicted?

I quickly decided on a lunch of baked chicken pieces flavoured with sesame, chilli, garlic and ginger and realised as I prepared the marinade that it had a definite Korean vibe, I was really happy with, as I love Korean food but haven't had any in a while. You could  leave the chicken skin on if you prefer. I discarded it as I wanted the marinade to really penetrate and flavour the meat.

the before picture - incidentally this baking dish was the first thing hubby and I bought together as newly weds....Awwww

The dish was simplicity itself and proved a hit with everyone. I think I'd like to try the same marinade on beef, then ribs and maybe even pork belly. Yum!! See how I probably could never fully go vegetarian, much as I see the merits of doing so? The aroma emanating from the oven after about 25 minutes was so maddening, it made my stomach fold in on itself. I swear I could actually feel it!

My yongest asked for seconds and my second boy requested that it goes on regulation rotation in our kitchen. It was gorgeous with shredded spring onions and steaming white rice. I used a very generous amount of ginger which gave the dish a real kick but I would recommend that you use only one knob of ginger, unless you really, really, really like ginger.

my pot of fiery gold aka chilli paste  - the oil on top preserves it and doubles up as flavoursome chilli oil

I would've loved some toasted sesame seeds scattered over the chicken pieces along with the spring onions. Come to think of it, radish or napa cabbage kimchi as a complementary side dish, would've have been great too, but, I was too hungry to bother. I wonder Pierre, will I ever see your mother's prized kimchi recipe?


Prep 20 mins     Cook 40 mins      Serves 4

1 medium chicken, skinned and cut into 12 pieces
2 Tbsp pure cooked chili paste
2 Tbsp tahini
6 cloves peeled garlic
1 large knob peeled fresh ginger (I used 2 knobs but I have a very high threshold for ginger)
1 Tbsp white rice vinegar
1 Tbsp fragrant roasted sesame oil (the Asian variety)
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 tsp sugar
Shredded spring onions to garnish


Preheat oven at 180 C (350 F). Ensure the chicken portions are thoroughly drained and quite dry so the marinade can stick on and form a crust.

Combine chilli paste, tahini, garlic, ginger, vinegar, sesame oil, salt and sugar in a blender and process to a very smooth pesto like consistency.

Put chicken portions in a large mixing bowl and add the spice paste to chicken. Thoroughly combine until chicken pieces are coated in mixture. Set aside for 15 minutes if you have time to spare. If not, lay pieces in a baking dish, in a single layer, making sure each piece is covered with a layer of the paste.

Bake for 40 minutes, turning the temperature up to 200 C (390 F) for the last 5 minutes of cooking to encourage browning. When done, remove from oven and serve with white rice. Kimchi would be a very nice complement to this, if you have it.