China 2024

 Have wings, will fly eat.

China presents many options for savory snacks and the one which most took Heidi's fancy this week was sticky chicken wings in sweet garlic marinade. In fact, confused by the race sequence, Heidi was ready to make these two weeks ago.

Again Heidi did all the work - except to divide the raw chicken pieces, but since she was made to do the same in food tech class earlier in the week, I let her off. She's quite keen that I still write the blog, but otherwise it would be time for me to retire.

Siân persuaded us to make it into dinner, with the accompaniment of that traditional Chinese side dish - potato wedges. And then conscious that everyone had to eat this or I would have been blamed for ruining Saturday evening, we left out the chili and scaled back the ginger. This recipe was perhaps a little shy on the sugar, and unfortunately this left the overriding flavour of lemon.

To most of us, this was altogether ok, but not up to the recent successes. Tally didn't appreciate the marinade, and even less so that she had to manipulate the skin and bones to find meat. Fortunately for her, there were plenty of crispy potatoes. Room for improvement - as many of my school teachers wrote.

The head chef gets to work

This might look a bit like something that fell out of the sky

Nearly forgot the lemon, but maybe should have halved the quantity

Marinaded and ready to cook

Help yourselves

Top your own, with chili, spring onions, sesame seeds and coriander

"It grosses me out"

I suspect this one is less likely to be taken up by even our most enthusiastic followers, but here is our recommended recipe after improvements from the lessons learnt.

1kg chicken wings cut into 'drumstick-lets' and 'forearms' - trust me, those are the finest technical terms for chicken anatomy
A dribble of sesame oil
1.5 tbsp light soy sauce
1.5 tbsp rice wine
1 tbsp oyster sauce
Fresh ginger, grated
1.2 tsp five-spice powder
3 tablespoons of tomato ketchup - don't find that the bottle has run out when you get to 1 1/2
4 cloves of garlic - or more, if you're that way inclined 
2-3 tablespoons of light brown sugar
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
This list feels a bit like someone thought of every typical Chinese ingredient that they could, and threw it all in.

  1. Mix it all together
  2. Leave to marinade for 30 mins (apparently if you give it more than an hour it would become too salty)
  3. Line a large dish/tray with foil and greaseproof paper - this worked wonders
  4. Oven cook for 45 mins at Gas 5+
  5. Baste with the remaining marinade that didn't stick to the chicken the first time, at 15 mins and 30 mins into the cooking time. 
To serve, offer accompaniments:
  • Sesame seeds
  • Finely chopped red chili
  • Roughly chopped coriander
  • Delicately sliced spring onions
  • Four baking potatoes, cut into wedges, par-boiled and oven-roasted in vegetable oil, until crispy and browning


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