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These Easy-to-Make Sauces Will Turn Your Chicken Dinner Into a Feast

These Easy-to-Make Sauces Will Turn Your Chicken Dinner Into a Feast


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When you think of the stereotypical American dinner, steak and potatoes probably comes to mind, but that was the past. Today, Americans eat more chicken than beef. Health conscious citizens are turning to the leaner white meat to improve their diets in the wake of decades-long research showing the damage that ailments like heart disease and diabetes can have on your quality of life.

Unfortunately for chicken, all the research in the world won’t make chicken any less the victim of negative language that calls the popular white meat dry, rubbery, and tasteless.

This negative impression of chicken can be cleared up with a few kitchen tricks that will improve the flavor and texture of your chicken dinner. For instance, start with a brine or marinade that will infuse flavor into your chicken, and keep your chicken moist while cooking. Also, don’t be afraid to leave the skin on the chicken. In fact, some research shows chicken skin may be better for you than was originally thought. Finally, the right sauce can do a lot of the heavy lifting in the kitchen, turning your chicken dinners from monotonous to delicious in no time.

Check out some of our picks for easy-to-make sauces you can whip up in no time to add a little personality and excitement to your everyday chicken dinner.

Alabama White Barbecue Sauce


Add this mayonnaise-based barbecue sauce at the end of cooking to prevent it from breaking down. This simple mix of creamy mayonnaise, bright lemon juice, and spicy cayenne is a kick of flavor that will make your chicken taste anything but dull.

For the Alabama White Barbecue Sauce recipe, click here.

Bold and Spicy Tomato Sauce


Cook your chicken in this spicy marinara-style sauce to keep your meat juicy. The olives and anchovies give the sauce a nice briny quality.

For the Bold and Spicy Tomato Sauce recipe, click here.


This thin, soy-based sauce is the perfect dipping sauce to serve alongside stir-fried chicken or drizzled on top of chicken and rice.

For the Garlic Chili Sauce recipe, click here.


This pan sauce is often served with dishes like Beef Wellington and rack of lamb, but we think this rich Madeira-spiked sauce is the perfect “gravy” for a simple roasted chicken.

For the Madeira Sauce recipe, click here.

Peri-Peri Portuguese Hot Sauce


This sauce packs a punch. If you are looking for a spicy sidekick to your everyday chicken dinner, then add a dollop of this Portuguese-style hot sauce.

For the Peri-Peri Portuguese Hot Sauce recipe, click here.

Angela Carlos is the Cook Editor at The Daily Meal. Find her on Twitter and tweet @angelaccarlos.


Five recipes for a Chinese new year feast

T he diversity of Chinese cuisines is extraordinary but one food ritual unites Han Chinese communities all over the country and the world: the lunar New Year’s Eve dinner. (This year’s Chinese new year is on 25 January.) It’s the time when families traditionally gather for a lavish feast, prefaced by ritual offerings to gods and ancestors, and followed at midnight by a storm of firecrackers.

There are few rules for this “family reunion” (tuannian) meal except that there should be extraordinary amounts of food, particularly fish, meat and poultry (dayu darou: “great fish and great meat”). In the countryside, many households still fatten a pig as the holiday approaches, eating the prime cuts over the festivities, then making bacon, sausages or confit pork to eke out over the months ahead. The other essential is a fish, served whole and never quite finished, because the phrase “a fish every year” (niannian youyu) sounds the same in Chinese as “every year a surplus”.

When I’m cooking a Chinese new year feast at home in London, I like to borrow freely from different regional traditions, mixing some of the delicate dishes from the Jiangnan region and the Cantonese south with a bit of Sichuan and Hunan spice. What’s most important from the point of view of the cook is to avoid a menu that leans heavily on dishes that have to be prepared at the last minute. Instead, try to include a few cold dishes and slow-cooked stews that can be made ahead of time: that way, you can have fun with a bit of wok whizz-bangery and still sit down with your guests to eat.

In the following selection, a sumptuous potful of dongpo pork, one of the classic dishes of Hangzhou, tastes even better when made a day in advance. The chicken for the Sichuanese bang bang chicken can also be poached beforehand, the spinach blanched, the sauces made. After that, a hot and spicy Sichuanese dry-braised fish will drive out winter chills and augur well for the year ahead. I’ve also included a dish made with an ingredient that was virtually unknown in China a few years ago but is now all the rage: okra. This sizzly stir-fry is laced, Hunan-style, with black beans and chilli – delicious. With a potful of rice, this menu will generously feed four. If you’re feeding more than four, the dongpo pork, bang bang chicken and spinach in ginger sauce can easily be doubled up. Alternatively, add other dishes or buy in Cantonese roast duck from a restaurant.

All recipes serve 4 when eaten together


Five recipes for a Chinese new year feast

T he diversity of Chinese cuisines is extraordinary but one food ritual unites Han Chinese communities all over the country and the world: the lunar New Year’s Eve dinner. (This year’s Chinese new year is on 25 January.) It’s the time when families traditionally gather for a lavish feast, prefaced by ritual offerings to gods and ancestors, and followed at midnight by a storm of firecrackers.

There are few rules for this “family reunion” (tuannian) meal except that there should be extraordinary amounts of food, particularly fish, meat and poultry (dayu darou: “great fish and great meat”). In the countryside, many households still fatten a pig as the holiday approaches, eating the prime cuts over the festivities, then making bacon, sausages or confit pork to eke out over the months ahead. The other essential is a fish, served whole and never quite finished, because the phrase “a fish every year” (niannian youyu) sounds the same in Chinese as “every year a surplus”.

When I’m cooking a Chinese new year feast at home in London, I like to borrow freely from different regional traditions, mixing some of the delicate dishes from the Jiangnan region and the Cantonese south with a bit of Sichuan and Hunan spice. What’s most important from the point of view of the cook is to avoid a menu that leans heavily on dishes that have to be prepared at the last minute. Instead, try to include a few cold dishes and slow-cooked stews that can be made ahead of time: that way, you can have fun with a bit of wok whizz-bangery and still sit down with your guests to eat.

In the following selection, a sumptuous potful of dongpo pork, one of the classic dishes of Hangzhou, tastes even better when made a day in advance. The chicken for the Sichuanese bang bang chicken can also be poached beforehand, the spinach blanched, the sauces made. After that, a hot and spicy Sichuanese dry-braised fish will drive out winter chills and augur well for the year ahead. I’ve also included a dish made with an ingredient that was virtually unknown in China a few years ago but is now all the rage: okra. This sizzly stir-fry is laced, Hunan-style, with black beans and chilli – delicious. With a potful of rice, this menu will generously feed four. If you’re feeding more than four, the dongpo pork, bang bang chicken and spinach in ginger sauce can easily be doubled up. Alternatively, add other dishes or buy in Cantonese roast duck from a restaurant.

All recipes serve 4 when eaten together


Five recipes for a Chinese new year feast

T he diversity of Chinese cuisines is extraordinary but one food ritual unites Han Chinese communities all over the country and the world: the lunar New Year’s Eve dinner. (This year’s Chinese new year is on 25 January.) It’s the time when families traditionally gather for a lavish feast, prefaced by ritual offerings to gods and ancestors, and followed at midnight by a storm of firecrackers.

There are few rules for this “family reunion” (tuannian) meal except that there should be extraordinary amounts of food, particularly fish, meat and poultry (dayu darou: “great fish and great meat”). In the countryside, many households still fatten a pig as the holiday approaches, eating the prime cuts over the festivities, then making bacon, sausages or confit pork to eke out over the months ahead. The other essential is a fish, served whole and never quite finished, because the phrase “a fish every year” (niannian youyu) sounds the same in Chinese as “every year a surplus”.

When I’m cooking a Chinese new year feast at home in London, I like to borrow freely from different regional traditions, mixing some of the delicate dishes from the Jiangnan region and the Cantonese south with a bit of Sichuan and Hunan spice. What’s most important from the point of view of the cook is to avoid a menu that leans heavily on dishes that have to be prepared at the last minute. Instead, try to include a few cold dishes and slow-cooked stews that can be made ahead of time: that way, you can have fun with a bit of wok whizz-bangery and still sit down with your guests to eat.

In the following selection, a sumptuous potful of dongpo pork, one of the classic dishes of Hangzhou, tastes even better when made a day in advance. The chicken for the Sichuanese bang bang chicken can also be poached beforehand, the spinach blanched, the sauces made. After that, a hot and spicy Sichuanese dry-braised fish will drive out winter chills and augur well for the year ahead. I’ve also included a dish made with an ingredient that was virtually unknown in China a few years ago but is now all the rage: okra. This sizzly stir-fry is laced, Hunan-style, with black beans and chilli – delicious. With a potful of rice, this menu will generously feed four. If you’re feeding more than four, the dongpo pork, bang bang chicken and spinach in ginger sauce can easily be doubled up. Alternatively, add other dishes or buy in Cantonese roast duck from a restaurant.

All recipes serve 4 when eaten together


Five recipes for a Chinese new year feast

T he diversity of Chinese cuisines is extraordinary but one food ritual unites Han Chinese communities all over the country and the world: the lunar New Year’s Eve dinner. (This year’s Chinese new year is on 25 January.) It’s the time when families traditionally gather for a lavish feast, prefaced by ritual offerings to gods and ancestors, and followed at midnight by a storm of firecrackers.

There are few rules for this “family reunion” (tuannian) meal except that there should be extraordinary amounts of food, particularly fish, meat and poultry (dayu darou: “great fish and great meat”). In the countryside, many households still fatten a pig as the holiday approaches, eating the prime cuts over the festivities, then making bacon, sausages or confit pork to eke out over the months ahead. The other essential is a fish, served whole and never quite finished, because the phrase “a fish every year” (niannian youyu) sounds the same in Chinese as “every year a surplus”.

When I’m cooking a Chinese new year feast at home in London, I like to borrow freely from different regional traditions, mixing some of the delicate dishes from the Jiangnan region and the Cantonese south with a bit of Sichuan and Hunan spice. What’s most important from the point of view of the cook is to avoid a menu that leans heavily on dishes that have to be prepared at the last minute. Instead, try to include a few cold dishes and slow-cooked stews that can be made ahead of time: that way, you can have fun with a bit of wok whizz-bangery and still sit down with your guests to eat.

In the following selection, a sumptuous potful of dongpo pork, one of the classic dishes of Hangzhou, tastes even better when made a day in advance. The chicken for the Sichuanese bang bang chicken can also be poached beforehand, the spinach blanched, the sauces made. After that, a hot and spicy Sichuanese dry-braised fish will drive out winter chills and augur well for the year ahead. I’ve also included a dish made with an ingredient that was virtually unknown in China a few years ago but is now all the rage: okra. This sizzly stir-fry is laced, Hunan-style, with black beans and chilli – delicious. With a potful of rice, this menu will generously feed four. If you’re feeding more than four, the dongpo pork, bang bang chicken and spinach in ginger sauce can easily be doubled up. Alternatively, add other dishes or buy in Cantonese roast duck from a restaurant.

All recipes serve 4 when eaten together


Five recipes for a Chinese new year feast

T he diversity of Chinese cuisines is extraordinary but one food ritual unites Han Chinese communities all over the country and the world: the lunar New Year’s Eve dinner. (This year’s Chinese new year is on 25 January.) It’s the time when families traditionally gather for a lavish feast, prefaced by ritual offerings to gods and ancestors, and followed at midnight by a storm of firecrackers.

There are few rules for this “family reunion” (tuannian) meal except that there should be extraordinary amounts of food, particularly fish, meat and poultry (dayu darou: “great fish and great meat”). In the countryside, many households still fatten a pig as the holiday approaches, eating the prime cuts over the festivities, then making bacon, sausages or confit pork to eke out over the months ahead. The other essential is a fish, served whole and never quite finished, because the phrase “a fish every year” (niannian youyu) sounds the same in Chinese as “every year a surplus”.

When I’m cooking a Chinese new year feast at home in London, I like to borrow freely from different regional traditions, mixing some of the delicate dishes from the Jiangnan region and the Cantonese south with a bit of Sichuan and Hunan spice. What’s most important from the point of view of the cook is to avoid a menu that leans heavily on dishes that have to be prepared at the last minute. Instead, try to include a few cold dishes and slow-cooked stews that can be made ahead of time: that way, you can have fun with a bit of wok whizz-bangery and still sit down with your guests to eat.

In the following selection, a sumptuous potful of dongpo pork, one of the classic dishes of Hangzhou, tastes even better when made a day in advance. The chicken for the Sichuanese bang bang chicken can also be poached beforehand, the spinach blanched, the sauces made. After that, a hot and spicy Sichuanese dry-braised fish will drive out winter chills and augur well for the year ahead. I’ve also included a dish made with an ingredient that was virtually unknown in China a few years ago but is now all the rage: okra. This sizzly stir-fry is laced, Hunan-style, with black beans and chilli – delicious. With a potful of rice, this menu will generously feed four. If you’re feeding more than four, the dongpo pork, bang bang chicken and spinach in ginger sauce can easily be doubled up. Alternatively, add other dishes or buy in Cantonese roast duck from a restaurant.

All recipes serve 4 when eaten together


Five recipes for a Chinese new year feast

T he diversity of Chinese cuisines is extraordinary but one food ritual unites Han Chinese communities all over the country and the world: the lunar New Year’s Eve dinner. (This year’s Chinese new year is on 25 January.) It’s the time when families traditionally gather for a lavish feast, prefaced by ritual offerings to gods and ancestors, and followed at midnight by a storm of firecrackers.

There are few rules for this “family reunion” (tuannian) meal except that there should be extraordinary amounts of food, particularly fish, meat and poultry (dayu darou: “great fish and great meat”). In the countryside, many households still fatten a pig as the holiday approaches, eating the prime cuts over the festivities, then making bacon, sausages or confit pork to eke out over the months ahead. The other essential is a fish, served whole and never quite finished, because the phrase “a fish every year” (niannian youyu) sounds the same in Chinese as “every year a surplus”.

When I’m cooking a Chinese new year feast at home in London, I like to borrow freely from different regional traditions, mixing some of the delicate dishes from the Jiangnan region and the Cantonese south with a bit of Sichuan and Hunan spice. What’s most important from the point of view of the cook is to avoid a menu that leans heavily on dishes that have to be prepared at the last minute. Instead, try to include a few cold dishes and slow-cooked stews that can be made ahead of time: that way, you can have fun with a bit of wok whizz-bangery and still sit down with your guests to eat.

In the following selection, a sumptuous potful of dongpo pork, one of the classic dishes of Hangzhou, tastes even better when made a day in advance. The chicken for the Sichuanese bang bang chicken can also be poached beforehand, the spinach blanched, the sauces made. After that, a hot and spicy Sichuanese dry-braised fish will drive out winter chills and augur well for the year ahead. I’ve also included a dish made with an ingredient that was virtually unknown in China a few years ago but is now all the rage: okra. This sizzly stir-fry is laced, Hunan-style, with black beans and chilli – delicious. With a potful of rice, this menu will generously feed four. If you’re feeding more than four, the dongpo pork, bang bang chicken and spinach in ginger sauce can easily be doubled up. Alternatively, add other dishes or buy in Cantonese roast duck from a restaurant.

All recipes serve 4 when eaten together


Five recipes for a Chinese new year feast

T he diversity of Chinese cuisines is extraordinary but one food ritual unites Han Chinese communities all over the country and the world: the lunar New Year’s Eve dinner. (This year’s Chinese new year is on 25 January.) It’s the time when families traditionally gather for a lavish feast, prefaced by ritual offerings to gods and ancestors, and followed at midnight by a storm of firecrackers.

There are few rules for this “family reunion” (tuannian) meal except that there should be extraordinary amounts of food, particularly fish, meat and poultry (dayu darou: “great fish and great meat”). In the countryside, many households still fatten a pig as the holiday approaches, eating the prime cuts over the festivities, then making bacon, sausages or confit pork to eke out over the months ahead. The other essential is a fish, served whole and never quite finished, because the phrase “a fish every year” (niannian youyu) sounds the same in Chinese as “every year a surplus”.

When I’m cooking a Chinese new year feast at home in London, I like to borrow freely from different regional traditions, mixing some of the delicate dishes from the Jiangnan region and the Cantonese south with a bit of Sichuan and Hunan spice. What’s most important from the point of view of the cook is to avoid a menu that leans heavily on dishes that have to be prepared at the last minute. Instead, try to include a few cold dishes and slow-cooked stews that can be made ahead of time: that way, you can have fun with a bit of wok whizz-bangery and still sit down with your guests to eat.

In the following selection, a sumptuous potful of dongpo pork, one of the classic dishes of Hangzhou, tastes even better when made a day in advance. The chicken for the Sichuanese bang bang chicken can also be poached beforehand, the spinach blanched, the sauces made. After that, a hot and spicy Sichuanese dry-braised fish will drive out winter chills and augur well for the year ahead. I’ve also included a dish made with an ingredient that was virtually unknown in China a few years ago but is now all the rage: okra. This sizzly stir-fry is laced, Hunan-style, with black beans and chilli – delicious. With a potful of rice, this menu will generously feed four. If you’re feeding more than four, the dongpo pork, bang bang chicken and spinach in ginger sauce can easily be doubled up. Alternatively, add other dishes or buy in Cantonese roast duck from a restaurant.

All recipes serve 4 when eaten together


Five recipes for a Chinese new year feast

T he diversity of Chinese cuisines is extraordinary but one food ritual unites Han Chinese communities all over the country and the world: the lunar New Year’s Eve dinner. (This year’s Chinese new year is on 25 January.) It’s the time when families traditionally gather for a lavish feast, prefaced by ritual offerings to gods and ancestors, and followed at midnight by a storm of firecrackers.

There are few rules for this “family reunion” (tuannian) meal except that there should be extraordinary amounts of food, particularly fish, meat and poultry (dayu darou: “great fish and great meat”). In the countryside, many households still fatten a pig as the holiday approaches, eating the prime cuts over the festivities, then making bacon, sausages or confit pork to eke out over the months ahead. The other essential is a fish, served whole and never quite finished, because the phrase “a fish every year” (niannian youyu) sounds the same in Chinese as “every year a surplus”.

When I’m cooking a Chinese new year feast at home in London, I like to borrow freely from different regional traditions, mixing some of the delicate dishes from the Jiangnan region and the Cantonese south with a bit of Sichuan and Hunan spice. What’s most important from the point of view of the cook is to avoid a menu that leans heavily on dishes that have to be prepared at the last minute. Instead, try to include a few cold dishes and slow-cooked stews that can be made ahead of time: that way, you can have fun with a bit of wok whizz-bangery and still sit down with your guests to eat.

In the following selection, a sumptuous potful of dongpo pork, one of the classic dishes of Hangzhou, tastes even better when made a day in advance. The chicken for the Sichuanese bang bang chicken can also be poached beforehand, the spinach blanched, the sauces made. After that, a hot and spicy Sichuanese dry-braised fish will drive out winter chills and augur well for the year ahead. I’ve also included a dish made with an ingredient that was virtually unknown in China a few years ago but is now all the rage: okra. This sizzly stir-fry is laced, Hunan-style, with black beans and chilli – delicious. With a potful of rice, this menu will generously feed four. If you’re feeding more than four, the dongpo pork, bang bang chicken and spinach in ginger sauce can easily be doubled up. Alternatively, add other dishes or buy in Cantonese roast duck from a restaurant.

All recipes serve 4 when eaten together


Five recipes for a Chinese new year feast

T he diversity of Chinese cuisines is extraordinary but one food ritual unites Han Chinese communities all over the country and the world: the lunar New Year’s Eve dinner. (This year’s Chinese new year is on 25 January.) It’s the time when families traditionally gather for a lavish feast, prefaced by ritual offerings to gods and ancestors, and followed at midnight by a storm of firecrackers.

There are few rules for this “family reunion” (tuannian) meal except that there should be extraordinary amounts of food, particularly fish, meat and poultry (dayu darou: “great fish and great meat”). In the countryside, many households still fatten a pig as the holiday approaches, eating the prime cuts over the festivities, then making bacon, sausages or confit pork to eke out over the months ahead. The other essential is a fish, served whole and never quite finished, because the phrase “a fish every year” (niannian youyu) sounds the same in Chinese as “every year a surplus”.

When I’m cooking a Chinese new year feast at home in London, I like to borrow freely from different regional traditions, mixing some of the delicate dishes from the Jiangnan region and the Cantonese south with a bit of Sichuan and Hunan spice. What’s most important from the point of view of the cook is to avoid a menu that leans heavily on dishes that have to be prepared at the last minute. Instead, try to include a few cold dishes and slow-cooked stews that can be made ahead of time: that way, you can have fun with a bit of wok whizz-bangery and still sit down with your guests to eat.

In the following selection, a sumptuous potful of dongpo pork, one of the classic dishes of Hangzhou, tastes even better when made a day in advance. The chicken for the Sichuanese bang bang chicken can also be poached beforehand, the spinach blanched, the sauces made. After that, a hot and spicy Sichuanese dry-braised fish will drive out winter chills and augur well for the year ahead. I’ve also included a dish made with an ingredient that was virtually unknown in China a few years ago but is now all the rage: okra. This sizzly stir-fry is laced, Hunan-style, with black beans and chilli – delicious. With a potful of rice, this menu will generously feed four. If you’re feeding more than four, the dongpo pork, bang bang chicken and spinach in ginger sauce can easily be doubled up. Alternatively, add other dishes or buy in Cantonese roast duck from a restaurant.

All recipes serve 4 when eaten together


Five recipes for a Chinese new year feast

T he diversity of Chinese cuisines is extraordinary but one food ritual unites Han Chinese communities all over the country and the world: the lunar New Year’s Eve dinner. (This year’s Chinese new year is on 25 January.) It’s the time when families traditionally gather for a lavish feast, prefaced by ritual offerings to gods and ancestors, and followed at midnight by a storm of firecrackers.

There are few rules for this “family reunion” (tuannian) meal except that there should be extraordinary amounts of food, particularly fish, meat and poultry (dayu darou: “great fish and great meat”). In the countryside, many households still fatten a pig as the holiday approaches, eating the prime cuts over the festivities, then making bacon, sausages or confit pork to eke out over the months ahead. The other essential is a fish, served whole and never quite finished, because the phrase “a fish every year” (niannian youyu) sounds the same in Chinese as “every year a surplus”.

When I’m cooking a Chinese new year feast at home in London, I like to borrow freely from different regional traditions, mixing some of the delicate dishes from the Jiangnan region and the Cantonese south with a bit of Sichuan and Hunan spice. What’s most important from the point of view of the cook is to avoid a menu that leans heavily on dishes that have to be prepared at the last minute. Instead, try to include a few cold dishes and slow-cooked stews that can be made ahead of time: that way, you can have fun with a bit of wok whizz-bangery and still sit down with your guests to eat.

In the following selection, a sumptuous potful of dongpo pork, one of the classic dishes of Hangzhou, tastes even better when made a day in advance. The chicken for the Sichuanese bang bang chicken can also be poached beforehand, the spinach blanched, the sauces made. After that, a hot and spicy Sichuanese dry-braised fish will drive out winter chills and augur well for the year ahead. I’ve also included a dish made with an ingredient that was virtually unknown in China a few years ago but is now all the rage: okra. This sizzly stir-fry is laced, Hunan-style, with black beans and chilli – delicious. With a potful of rice, this menu will generously feed four. If you’re feeding more than four, the dongpo pork, bang bang chicken and spinach in ginger sauce can easily be doubled up. Alternatively, add other dishes or buy in Cantonese roast duck from a restaurant.

All recipes serve 4 when eaten together