Grilled Cornish Hen with Momofuku Octo Vinaigrette

I enjoy cooking but I have my lazy days as well. The other day I picked up a bag of frozen wings section because I wanted to make Buffalo Wings. While the wings were in the oven, I came online to catch up on blogs that I follow. One of my favorite food writer is Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen. She specializing in Asian cooking–recipes that are fast fresh and simple enough for tonight’s dinner. She also has her own cookbook called The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook currently available online and many bookstore shelves, sadly I can’t afford it so I sat in a corner and read it through. I love her writing style and the personal stories she adds to the recipes. One of her recent blog post featured the octo vinaigrette from Momofuku Cookbook by David Chang and Peter Meehan, which I do not own, again for the same reason. David Chang is the owner of not one but apparently three restaurants! I’ve never been to any of them, yet. :) Many of the food blogs I follow mentioned David Chang or Momofuku every now and then but it was at Steamy Kitchen Chicken Wings, Momofuku Style, where I found the recipe for the octo vinaigrette. That day the Buffalo Wings sauce was replaced with the octo vinaigrette. It was so easy to make and taste so good! I was too eager to test the wings that I didn’t get a chance to snap a shot.

This evening I decided to grill a small one pound Cornish hen (game hen) with octo vinaigrette again. A bit of butter was rub to achieve that extra crispy skin. I did tweak the octo vinaigrette a little to suit my taste bud. The thought of 2 tablespoons full of oil in a vinaigrette sort of frightens me. Instead I only use 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. Also I ran out of red bird’s eye chili so I used the leftover green ones instead, seed and all. I did however, add chopped red bell pepper for color and a little extra crunch. Lettuce leaves were used as garnish but they end up as wrappers for the chicken and dipped into the vinaigrette, or in this case a sauce? πŸ˜€ Perhaps next time I might just add some rice noodles in the mix. πŸ˜›

Grilled Cornish with Momofuku Octo Vinaigrette
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adapt from Momofuku Cookbook via Steamy Kitchen

1 Cornish hen, 16 oz/1 lb
1 tablespoon butter

Octo Vinaigrette
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh garlic
2 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
7 bird’s eye chili (use less, omit, or remove seeds to reduce the heat)
ΒΌ cup rice wine vinegar
ΒΌ cup light soy sauce
1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
1 Β½ tablespoons sugar
freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped red bell pepper (optional)


Split hen in half with a sharp knife or poultry shears, cutting through the breast bone and back bone. Wash and rinse chicken, pat dry with paper towel. This can be done in advance and allow the chicken to dry in the fridge with a paper towel.

Cut up 1 tablespoon of butter into small pieces and rub it all over the chicken. Insert some pieces under the skin too. Grill with skin side up for about 20 minutes then flip to grill on the other side (skin side).

Meanwhile make the octo vinaigrette by combining all the ingredients and mixing them well.

Once the henis grilled remove from heat and allow to rest for about 5 minutes.

Lay lettuce leaves on a platter and arrange hen. Drizzle octo vinaigrette on the top and also reserve on the side for dipping .

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