When we opened the contest for Your Best Hands-Off Recipe, we expected a lot of pot roasts and braises, slow and multi-purpose cookers. What we didn't expect was grilled chicken. This, it turned out, would be our champion: boneless, skinless chicken thighs that are all about the unexpected marinade. Here, we chatted with Kris and Mimi Chau, the mother-daughter team behind the recipe. It's a long-time family favorite, though the catchy name is its newest feature.
MC: Halfsies Chicken is an adaptation of a well-loved family recipe that my Aunt Jocelyn originally shared with us, so in my family we call it "Jocelyn Chicken." I came up with the name "Halfsies Chicken" after halving the amount of chicken and ingredients we usually use when making the recipe.
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KC: We aren’t entirely sure where Jocelyn got the original recipe from, but she was the first to introduce it to our family.
What was your favorite dish growing up?
MC: Udon soup noodles! I loved (and still do!) the chewy texture of the thick noodles and always had Japanese fish cake (kamaboko) slices in the soup as well. It is what I always order when going to a Japanese restaurant.
KC: Yep! Udon is what she has always asked for every year on her birthday since she could talk. We even have learned to make our own homemade udon noodles, which is a fun recipe our whole family likes to participate in making.
What is your most splattered, stained, dog-eared cookbook?
MC: That would be my mom’s huge turquoise cookbook binder. It’s like as thick as my literature textbook and is full of recipes from newspaper clippings, magazines, online food websites, emails, and other cookbooks.
KC: There are also a bunch of handwritten family and friend recipes in there, many of them are from my own mom (Mimi's grandmother).
And your can’t-cook-without kitchen tool?
MC: Hmm...probably our lemon press.
KC: It’s really convenient for juicing any citrus for sauces, garnish, baked goods, and more.
Are you a savory or sweet breakfast person? (Or, gasp, not a breakfast person at all?)
MC: Ooo, that’s hard. I definitely eat breakfast every day, but I enjoy both savory and sweet. I could go for a cream cheese and lox bagel sandwich, or a sticky pecan roll. I guess it depends on what I’m craving that morning and what’s available. But, there always has to be a form of bread.
KC: Me, too! I'm all about baked goods—savory or sweet! I can go for a slice of freshly baked bread, or my favorite is a lemon scone.
You’re on a desert island and you can have one dessert. What is it?
KC: Scoops' Brown Bread Ice Cream! (Scoops is one of our favorite local ice cream shops based in Los Angeles.)
MC: Their flavors change every day and are really creative and unique, but their Brown Bread Ice Cream is always our favorite.
Three cheers for the Chau family! Share your congrats in the comments below.
Emma is a writer and recipe developer at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing articles about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now she lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's cooking column, Big Little Recipes, all about big flavor and little ingredient lists. And see what she's up to on Instagram and Twitter at @emmalaperruque.