Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sweet and Spicy Drumsticks

I was watching a cooking video a while back where the chef (I can’t remember who) was explaining the importance of searing meat and one of her comments really stuck with me. She said that one of the main problems home cooks had was that they were too afraid of the heat; fear of overcooking the meat keeps them from turning the heat up high enough and leaving it still long enough to develop that brown crust that makes it taste so delicious and traps the juicy goodness inside. I’ll admit it really is difficult to just sit there and watch it cook. Something just makes me want to move it or flip it or check the bottom or do anything BUT leave it alone. However, on the occasions where I do manage to gather up the self restraint long enough to let it do its thing, the results are almost always amazing.

Though I love dark meat, when I buy chicken, it’s usually breasts. Besides being cheap and versatile, most grocery stores here tend to sell thigh meat with more fat and skin attached than I particularly care for. But chicken breast gets boring, and drumstick happened to be on sale, so I thought I’d have a go at something new. I let them marinade overnight (another thing I really should start doing more often), which requires some planning ahead but really helps make the meat much more flavorful. I heated up some oil at just short of the highest setting my stove can do, tossed the chicken in, and walked away. Granted, one can only go so far in my little dorm, but I think it was important for me not to just stand there and watch them. Every couple of minutes, I’d turn the drumsticks to let another side sear and walk away. The end result: a crispy golden outside with a juice-running-down-your-wrists tender inside. I made a spicy and sweet sauce to coat it with and dug in. I didn't measure the quantities for the marinade or sauce very precisely (quite tekito about that), so I've listed them as a rough ratio. Meals like this always make me feel a bit torn inside: I can’t decide whether I wish there was someone to enjoy the deliciousness with or if I’m glad that I don’t have to share and can eat them all myself.

1 part Soy sauce
2 parts Shiao Xing rice wine
1/4 part Sesame oil
1/2 part Minced garlic
1/2 part Thai chili
1 part Corn starch

1 part Soy sauce
2 parts Shiao Xing rice wine
1 part Tobanjang (spicy bean paste)
1/2 part Kecap manis (sweet Indonesian soy sauce)
1/4 part Chili oil
1 part Sugar

1 comment:

  1. I will need to visit Chinatown to find some spicy bean paste but trust that will not prove an overwhelming hurdle - sounds terribly yummy.

    Great writing man!