Sweet plums and salty-tangy soy sauce are brilliant paired with tender chicken. Chilli and ginger are desirable but optional. The garlic is a must, though.

Serves 4


8 bone-in, skin-on, free-range chicken thighs (or 1 small free-range chicken, jointed into 8 pieces)
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1–4 red, mild-to-medium-hot, fleshy chillies, to taste (optional)
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and coarsely grated or thinly sliced (optional)
8 plums, halved and stoned*
3 tablespoons soy sauce
A small bunch of coriander, leaves only, chopped (optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6. Put the chicken thighs in a roasting tray, trickle with the oil and season well with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes, turning once or twice.

2. Meanwhile, halve and deseed the chillies, if using, then cut each into 1cm strips. After its 30 minutes, take the chicken out of the oven and add the sliced chillies, garlic and ginger, if using, to the roasting tray. Turn the chicken again to make sure the aromatics are evenly distributed around and under the pieces. Roast for a further 10 minutes.

3. Tuck the plum halves around the chicken pieces and trickle over the soy. If there doesn’t seem to be much liquid in the tray, add a few tablespoons of water. Return to the oven for 10–15 minutes until the plums are soft and yielding their juices.

4. Baste the chicken and plums with the pan juices, then leave to rest in a warm place for 10 minutes. Finish with a scattering of chopped coriander, if you like. Serve with noodles or plain rice.

*Swaps – For a store cupboard version of this dish, you could use prunes or dried apricots (ideally the plump, ready-to eat ones) instead of fresh plums.

See more of Gill Meller’s favourite comfort food recipes

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