[thechat] Recipe: Chicken drumsticks braised in a Ginger Wine sauce

Madhu Menon webguru at vsnl.net
Thu Oct 3 02:14:01 CDT 2002

Since food.evolt.org is stagnant (and Matt has departed), I thought this
was as good a place as any to post this recipe.

It was a big hit with some ladies who were over for lunch last Sunday, so I
just had to share it. It's very simple. No long simmering, no hours of
chopping and slicing, and no constant watching. Can be made in under 20


Chicken drumsticks (without skin) - 4

Ginger - 4 thin slices about 0.5" in diameter (or about 2 tablespoons
worth) - lightly crushed but left whole. Fresh young ginger is best. Avoid
old fibrous ginger.

Spring onions (scallions for the Americans) - 3 tablespoons - finely
chopped (use mostly the white part and save the leaves for stock)

Garlic - 1 small clove - finely chopped (about 1 teaspoon)

Dark soy sauce - 1 tablespoon

Oyster sauce - 1.5 tablespoons

Red Chilli paste or chilli flakes - anywhere from 1 teaspoon to 1
tablespoon depending on your tolerance (c'mon, don't be a wuss!)

Chinese Yellow Rice wine - 4 tablespoons (Substitute with a pale dry sherry
if you don't have it. Hell, if you feel adventurous, use 2 tbsp of whiskey.
The taste won't be the same, but it *will* be interesting.)

Peanut oil, sunflower oil, or corn oil - 2 tablespoons

Water - 100 ml

For garnish:

Fresh mint leaves - chopped fine - a handful - use your discretion
Red and yellow peppers mixed - julienne - Half cup (optional)


Prepare the chicken drumsticks by making gashes in the flesh. This helps
the flavour penetrate deeper and also gives the sauce something to cling
to. (The same way that the grooves in penne pasta do.)

Heat a wok or skillet till a drop of water evaporates instantly on contact.
Now pour in the oil and spread it around. (Tip: Hot wok, cold oil: food
won't stick)

Test the temperature by tossing in a tiny piece of garlic into the oil. It
should take about 10 seconds to brown. If the pan is too hot, it will burn
the garlic and ginger. If it's not hot enough, your meat may sweat and
won't get seared properly.

When the skillet is hot enough, toss garlic and ginger in and stir-fry for
5 seconds. When it gets fragrant, throw in the spring onions. Stir-fry for
another 5 seconds. (Don't let the mixture burn. If the pan gets too hot,
move it away from the heat for a bit.)

Put the drumsticks in and mix it with the garlic, ginger and spring onions
in the skillet. Let it sear in the oil for about 30 seconds on one side,
then turn it around and let the other side sear for another 30 seconds.

If you've done everything right, the chicken should be sizzling merrily in
the skillet. Time to get the chicken "drunk". :)
Splash in the rice wine over the drumsticks. You will get a nice whoosh as
the alcohol evaporates immediately and the subtle aroma is left. Get your
date to smell the pan at this time. Mmmm... close your eyes and take it in.

Now add the oyster sauce, dark soy sauce and the chilli paste or flakes.
Most soy and oyster sauce brands have more than enough salt in them, but if
your brand doesn't, you *may* need another half teaspoon of salt. Use your
judgement. When in doubt, DON'T add the salt. It can always be added later.
Too much salt is much harder to fix.

Mix the sauces with the drumsticks and let it cook for a minute. Then add
the water and mix well.
When the water comes to a boil, turn the heat down to medium, cover the
skillet (preferably with a glass lid so you can see how the dish
progresses), and cook for about 15 minutes. The sauce should not be too dry
or the sugar in the sauces will burn on the pan surface. It should be the
consistency of chocolate sauce.

Taste the dish for balance. If it needs any flavour adjustment, do it now.

If everything's right, throw in the peppers and mix well. Remove the
drumsticks onto a warm plate, drizzle with any remaining sauce, and garnish
with the chopped mint leaves. Serve with steamed rice or simple fried rice
and some steamed or stir-fried veggies. It also works well as a stand-alone
dish. If you're having someone special over for dinner, insist that he or
she use fingers to have it. Believe me, it's much more enjoyable that way! ;)

Oh, and let me know how it turns out...



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Madhu Menon
Internet User Experience Consultant

Content * Interfaces * Usability * Net Strategy

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