The temptation of drinking pop is always there. I’ve completely eradicated this particular beverage from my list together with my favourite alcohol beverage, beer. Pop was easy to stay away from, but beer or any liquor for that matter was a major obstacle. I only drink wine once a week now, on my Fridays, usually with my spicy Vindaloo. The medium to hot heat Indian spectacle clears my throats and sinews and releases my ever numb taste buds from the distinct kitchen smell I work in everyday as well as the food I prepare daily (based on a menu I strictly follow). The wine refreshes and soothes my mind, and calms my nerves down. I need that kick and that certain combination of spices and the well-seasoned curry just to replenish my energy, and Tuesday, being my Friday, the worst of the days.
Pop and beer play a specific role for the food I cook. This dish is no exception. I was also inspired to interpret Ginger Chicken based on the recent book I read (using Calamares) and to a Filipino cookbook I rely upon for actual, traditional Filipino recipes. And surprisingly, there it was: Ginger Chicken. Filipinos indeed had a chicken cooked using ginger after all. It was a braised dish as expected; a cousin of the ‘Tinola’ based on-line. The combination took me to creating a crunchy and sweet tasting version instead.
- Chicken Legs
- Ginger Ale
- Canola Oil
- Chicken Stock
- Brown Sugar
- Maple Syrup
- Sea Salt
- Green onions, as garnish
- Cayenne Pepper, also as garnish
Marinate the Chicken Legs with the Ginger Ale, Water and fresh Ginger overnight to a day. Rinse and set it on a strainer until the moisture dissipates.
Combine the flour and the cornstarch (season with sea salt & pepper) and dredge the Chicken Legs. Pan-fry until golden and insert in a pre-heated 350’C oven until the juices run clear. Remove from the oven and set aside to rest.
Pour the Chicken stock and the beer in a sauce pan together with the aromatics of onion, ginger, bayleaf and blackpeppercorns and reduce to half. Strain in another sauce pan and slowly incorporate the brown sugar, Maple syrup, honey, vinegar and continue reducing until it reaches a smooth and saucy consistency. Adjust to taste and let the sauce cool down a little further to allow the flavours to mingle with each other.
Chop the chicken legs, Chinese style, set it on a plate and drizzle the sauce all over. Sprinkle with finely chopped green onions and Cayenne pepper before serving.
Peel and boil the taro until tender. Discard the water and return the taro back in the pot. Mash using a potato masher (or run through a mill first), slowly add evaporated milk and butter (or Star Margarine) until smooth. Scoop out from the pot using an ice cream scooper and set it alongside the chicken.
This is comfort food 101. I didn’t expect the outcome to be as extraordinary, but by marinating the chicken with pop and combined with the sauce, it came out like a deep-fried chicken wing coated with a very sweet glaze. However, it did not come out dry as many wings turn out to be when deep-fried.
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