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abcdefg

Chinese cola chicken wings 可乐鸡翅

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Tomsima

This is amazing. Thank you so much. The attention to detail is fantastic, last time I did this dish I'm guilty of adding too much 老抽, it honestly did look like axle grease.

 

One question: if one were to use my seasoned iron wok what is likely to happen different from a nonstick? Will the skin stick to the patina?

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abcdefg
7 hours ago, Tomsima said:

One question: if one were to use my seasoned iron wok what is likely to happen different from a nonstick? Will the skin stick to the patina?

 

You're welcome @Tomsima. Yes, that's exactly what happens. Like yours, my wok is well seasoned, but chicken skin still sticks to it like a postage stamp unless I use a whole lot of oil. When I pry the stuck wings loose from the wok surface, the skin tears and eventually most of it shreds off. 

 

The goal is to have the skin surfaces be smooth and even, as seen in these pretty red-cooked wings 红烧鸡翅 that I found in the display case of a lunch stand in the lobby of the corner Walmart shopping complex. They sell them at a cool room temperature for 9.9 Yuan per 公量 (100 grams.) That's only about 4 wings. 

 

1375449284_IMG_20180918_102437-60.thumb.jpg.685882d6217906064d80e84c803ebf6a.jpg

   308370267_IMG_20180918_102437-60-tightfocus.thumb.jpg.2185cfe85e3975b16d07d782dd9eae75.jpg

 

 

If I had more storage space and a larger budget I would own a non-stick wok as well as my trusty iron one. The flat-bottom pan 平地煎锅 I used for this recipe today was not as deep as I would have liked. 

 

 

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Tomsima

Your kitchen writing is fantastic, if you have already then please let me know, but it would be so helpful if at some point you were able to do a post on your kitchen equipment and how you use it. I have so many questions about wok usage…

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abcdefg
2 hours ago, Tomsima said:

Your kitchen writing is fantastic, if you have already then please let me know, but it would be so helpful if at some point you were able to do a post on your kitchen equipment and how you use it. I have so many questions about wok usage…

 

You are too kind, @Tomsima. Here's a long post to which many people contributed about buying and seasoning a wok. And also see this thread by @Zeppa discussing his struggles with his wok. 

 

https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/51217-wok-and-chopsticks/ 

https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/56214-seasoning-a-wok/ 

 

I have a few other China kitchen equipment posts here and there. Give me a day or two to pull them together for you and make them more readily useable. It's a worthwhile topic to be sure! Glad you asked!

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yueni

What a coincidence, @abcdefg, I just made a variation of this dish for dinner just last night! I love myself a helping of 可乐鸡翅. Thanks for all your cooking writing. They're a great reference to have!

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abcdefg

Many thanks @yueni -- How did yours come out? Do you have any personal tips on making this dish? 

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yueni

I slacked a little on the sauce thickening part last night (I was starving), but most of your steps are pretty similar to mine.

 

 After rinsing off the wings, I make two cuts in the wings so the flavor seeps through. Like so:

 

image.thumb.png.502dba4d27beb19f116600b0d59bccb7.png

 

I don't think it's strictly necessary, but when I'm trying to be less lazy, I'll do that.

 

The 去腥味 portion of my recipe was a little different from yours, perhaps because I learned the recipe from a Taiwanese girl, and I'm surrounded by Cantonese people! No chilies or 花椒 are used. I marinated the wings in ginger and garlic and cooking wine and then refrigerated them for 20 minutes. I was technically supposed to add spring onion too, but I couldn't find any at the veggie shop I typically go to. They probably sold out by the time I got there after work last night.

 

For the coke portion, it definitely needs to be Coca Cola, not Pepsi. The taste is totally different, and as you said, of course it has to be the original Coke and not any other variety of Coke. I typically just use the can version because it's exactly 330ml, and it's the perfect size for the recipe. Just empty the whole can in, no need to measure anything. I suppose the small bottles that they sell now are also perfectly acceptable.

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abcdefg

Thanks, @yueni -- I also usually just use a can of real Coca Cola, but yesterday at the store they only had 500 ml plastic bottles. Agree that one 330 ml can is just right and saves measuring. I've never tried using Pepsi. Glad to learn your experience;I'll avoid it in the future. 

 

A little more about getting the right kind of Coke. These two bottles, side by side, show "real Coke" on the left with the red screw top. That's the kind to use. The black top bottle on the right is clearly marked 零度, meaning “zero” or "zero degree." The hard-to-read fine print to the right of that says 无糖 (no sugar) and 无能量 (no calories.)    

                                                                               

63437951_IMG_20180918_103231-60-2.thumb.jpg.1bef7ac98efac9e99b1501eb1225c678.jpg      1735388750_IMG_20180918_103139-66closeup.thumb.jpg.d34095da2df825df043a93e59be349cc.jpg

 

My understanding of the sugar issue is that Coke in this recipe supplies what a few pieces of rock sugar 冰糖 would in a "red-cooked" recipe. It enhances the Maillard reaction, which makes for better flavor, and it encourages the glaze to caramelize so that it will make an attractive and tasty coating for the skin. 

 

And, as @yuenicorrectly noted, the 干辣椒 and 花椒 are optional. I think they give the dish a nice kick, but realize not everyone will agree. 

 

When making this dish for solo consumption, when I care less about presentation, I nearly always use the larger first segment of the wing 鸡翅根 because they are much more economical. Less than half the cost of 鸡翅中 as you see here in the store.

 

Note that the wings are sold partly frozen on an ice display. The sign even identifies them as being a frozen product 冰鸡翅。Fresh chicken pieces, never frozen,  cost considerably more when they are available. 

 

825290994_IMG_20180918_144633-60.thumb.jpg.6b3d585302f28092250e025beed2ed78.jpg

   1562845654_IMG_20180918_144633-60-Copy--closeup.thumb.jpg.849ab6cc12bf1406612742e76ecd57cf.jpg

 

 

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ChTTay

This is a nice recipe. The way I learned is simpler but still very nice. I think I’d like to try the way posted here at the weekend. 

 

Without writing an ABCDEFG type post... Brown the chicken wings with ginger, dried chilli and dark soy sauce, also add a glug of rice wine. Once browned, add the cola, “sweat” that down until the sauce thickens. Think that’s it! 

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Zeppa
12 hours ago, abcdefg said:

And also see this thread by @Zeppa discussing his struggles with his wok. 

 

her struggles...her wok...

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abcdefg
3 hours ago, ChTTay said:

The way I learned is simpler but still very nice.

 

I sometimes make this dish in my rice cooker. Not as much eye appeal, but still tastes pretty good. When I'm doing it like that, I use the cheaper wing segments (鸡翅根)。

 

23 minutes ago, Zeppa said:

her struggles...her wok...

 

Apologies, @Zeppa

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Zeppa

No problem!

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dtcamero
13 hours ago, abcdefg said:

Note that the wings are sold partly frozen on an ice display. The sign even identifies them as being a frozen product 冰鸡翅。Fresh chicken pieces, never frozen,  cost considerably more when they are available. 

 

825290994_IMG_20180918_144633-60.thumb.jpg.6b3d585302f28092250e025beed2ed78.jpg

   1562845654_IMG_20180918_144633-60-Copy--closeup.thumb.jpg.849ab6cc12bf1406612742e76ecd57cf.jpg

 

 

this is the part of chinese supermarkets that always freaks me out. 

maybe i'm a spoiled foreigner but this doesn't strike me as an appropriate way of handling meat, hence the blanching step for getting rid of 'off flavors'.

add that to eggs sold unrefrigerated, handed out in a plastic bag, with an aura of manure and flies. 

 

I've spent several summer nights unable to sleep, sweating in my maximum air-conditioned bedroom after eating meat from the wet market. so now i'm willing to pay 25元 for 300g of chicken sold refrigerated in packaging. 

 

i've never lived more than a few months in country so maybe your stomach gets used to it...

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abcdefg
14 hours ago, dtcamero said:

maybe i'm a spoiled foreigner but this doesn't strike me as an appropriate way of handling meat, hence the blanching step for getting rid of 'off flavors'.

 

Interesting observation! When I was buying the chicken wings to make this dish, picking them up one at a time with a pair of tongs and putting them into a plastic bag, an old lady started talking to me with a loud, shrill voice like she was angry. She was also buying chicken wings from the same ice table. At first I couldn't figure out what she was getting at, but I paused, smiled and concentrated real hard.

 

Turned out she was trying to tell me to select wings from the back part of the display, closer to the price sign, where they had been set out for a shorter time. Those were still frozen hard. I had already picked up some near the front which had thawed and were soft. She made me put those back. 

 

"更安全,更安全!" ("Safer. safer") and she shook her head with an exasperated scolding gesture as if to say, "How ignorant these foreigners are about basic food safety." 

 

14 hours ago, dtcamero said:

i've never lived more than a few months in country so maybe your stomach gets used to it...

 

I guess so. Fortunately I almost never get "food poisoning"/gastroenteritis-type sick. Once I get the raw food home, I'm very careful about safe handling in my kitchen. 

 

Edited to add -- 

 

Actually, thinking about it further, I worry more about the food I buy ready made outside than I do about getting some nasty bug from contaminated raw ingredients. For example, the nice looking red-braised wings I saw for sale might not be completely safe. But I confess I would probably eat a few of them anyway if I didn't have the means to reproduce them at home. 

 

1961077884_IMG_20180918_102437-60.thumb.jpg.84cb1e43f7f8d55cd804dabd652b680e.jpg   52912911_IMG_20180918_102437-60-tightfocus.thumb.jpg.cd5ab257b943894824f08957282fe1b6.jpg 

 

 

 

 

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dtcamero
5 minutes ago, abcdefg said:

an old lady started talking to me with a loud, shrill voice like she was angry

 

after a civilization develops for 4000 years this becomes the preferred way of conveying any kind of information 

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DavyJonesLocker
26 minutes ago, dtcamero said:

I've spent several summer nights unable to sleep, sweating in my maximum air-conditioned bedroom after eating meat from the wet market. so now i'm willing to pay 25元 for 300g of chicken sold refrigerated in packaging. 

 

 

we are lucky in Beijing, some of the bigger stores have a wide range of frozen or vacuum packed meats. I shop in SAMs supermarket, an american chain I believe and the meat is top notch and very well priced!

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Shelley

As a self confessed coke a cola addict I thought yeah, whoa , what, hang on, cola chicken? Would I like it? I like chicken, I like cola and some of the other ingredients, but I don't know if it would be any good without the chillies, ginger, sherry.

 

I would just have chicken , cola, spring onions and soy sauce. Not sure it would be worth the effort and would it ruin cola or chicken or both for me for the rest of my life?

 

So I think I will just admire it from afar and wish everyone else well with it. Bon appetite.

.

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Flickserve

I recently had a conversation with a Beijing lady who proudly posted all about her healthy diet and in the same social media post cooked cola chicken for her daughter. 

 

Me being me queried wether coke was healthy. It was justified by the lady that cooking it with ginger is good for health.

 

But you know, there's all those chemicals.... My main point was the disparity between healthy vegetarian dishes and coke. 

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abcdefg
10 hours ago, Flickserve said:

But you know, there's all those chemicals.... My main point was the disparity between healthy vegetarian dishes and coke. 

 

Must admit that, like you, I never think of Coke as "health food." 

 

14 hours ago, Shelley said:

I like chicken, I like cola and some of the other ingredients, but I don't know if it would be any good without the chillies, ginger, sherry.

 

Afraid it would be pretty uninteresting that way, @Shelley, sorry to say. 

 

A nice Cantonese poached chicken might be more to your liking. Some Guangdong/Hong Kong recipes do a great job with that and I enjoy eating chicken that way when visiting those areas. The basic 鸡肉饭 found in so many small street-side lunch rooms at noon for 10 or 12 Yuan is basically steamed or poached chicken, dipping sauce optional, served with plain steamed rice and a few bites of a plain boiled green vegetable, often 菜心 (a relative of cabbage and broccoli.) 

 

Guangdong cooking 粤菜 excels at bringing out pleasant flavors in the main ingredients without layering on too much in the way of extra tastes. They don't want to see the original flavors get lost. Often these dishes are bland 清淡, although delicious in their own way. ("Bland" when applied to things like this is a compliment, not a criticism." 

 

Teochew cuisine 潮州菜 (also called Chiuchao cuisine) as found in Chaozhou and Shantou (Eastern Guangdong, up near Fujian) also prides itself on applying a very light touch to extremely fresh and flavorful ingredients, in particular just-caught ocean fish. It's a delicate cuisine. Their mastery of poaching and steaming is legendary. 

 

But much mainstream Chinese cooking, generally speaking, considers chicken meat as somewhat pretty boring and the different cooking approaches try to give it some sparkle, try to imbue it with attractive combinations of "imported" flavor. That's the way it's usually treated in the culinary traditions of Sichuan, Hunan, Yunnan, and Guizhou. They tend to turn the chicken meat into "carriers" or "vehicles" for other more lively flavors. 

 

Some other fowl are more highly thought of and get different treatments in China: pigeon 鸽子, duck 鸭子, goose 鹅子 and so on. Every Cantonese restaurant I've ever visited, for example, affords roast squab a place of honor. 

 

(Footnote: I realize some of these chicken comments are controversial.) 

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