So it was my birthday in the weekend. I organised a low key BBQ to mark the occasion – and of course it was the wettest day this year. It rained ALL FREAKING DAY. Nevertheless, I sent Alastair out in the rain to tend the BBQ.
Whenever we host a BBQ, I prefer not to cook raw chicken. No side of food poisoning for me thanks! So if I do chicken - normally wings - I poach them beforehand in a soy sauce mixture.
This is my favourite way of doing wings because they are sooooooooooooo good. The poaching ensures that the meat is tender and slides off the bones, and the soy sauce and star anise gives it a wonderful flavour. The wings don't have to go on the BBQ either - whenever I make a batch I always eat a couple that have just been poached. I can't resist them!
The poaching liquid can be reused and will develop more flavour as it ages. To store the sauce just boil it for about 5 minutes afterwards, cool completely, and store it in the freezer. The recipe calls for rock sugar (you can buy it from an Asian supermarket) but if you don't have any you could use brown sugar. I would recommend tracking down rock sugar though, it seems to have a different sweetness (or maybe that's just in my head...).
Soy sauce chicken wings
Adapted from the Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen
About 2 kilos of wings (or you could use a whole chicken if desired)
3 cups thin soy sauce
2/3 cup black soy sauce
2/3 cup Chinese rice cooking wine
500g yellow rock sugar
1 & 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 heaped teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
8 star anise
3 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
Rinse the wings under cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
In a large pot, combine all the other ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
When the rock sugar has completely dissolved, taste it. It should be fairly salty, but also have a touch of sweetness. Add more sugar if necessary.
Add the wings (do this in two batches if you can't fit them all in the sauce) and return the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat. As soon as it boils, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.
Cover and cook for about 20 minutes (longer for a whole chicken - approximately 40-45 minutes. A whole chicken will also need to be turned halfway through).
If not doing another batch, turn off the heat and let the wings sit in the sauce for another 20 minutes. They can now either be eaten or cooled and saved for a BBQ.