Asian Things

Are you into Asian things? Okay, I’ll be more be more specific, because otherwise my friend, Todd, may pop up here with a comment about about how he’s always loved Asian girls, and that’s awkward. I’m moreso speaking about Asian cuisine, and it’s one of my very favorites.

Although when I really think about it, I can’t honestly come up with an ethnic cuisine that I don’t like. But I haven’t yet tried Ethiopian cuisine, or really, any other food that might be considered African. I should – any recommendations? I’m willing to bet I’d like that too, though. Man, loving food sure is hard, eh?!

Anyway, I find it appropriate to discuss Asian cuisine for two reasons:

  1. I had an Asian food conversation with my student yesterday, which essentially involved my annoyance with how generously the term ‘Asian’ is used in cooking. Like I told her, throwing snap peas in a dish doesn’t an Asian meal make. Agree?
  2. Last time I checked, most of us are off on Monday and probably pondering the merits of using that ginormous grill on the front porch, or maybe stealing a grill from the neighbors’ porch, or maybe just buying one. either way, using a grill is something you should certainly consider arranging for Monday.
  3. My vacation photos still aren’t ready to submit here for your voyeuristic viewing pleasure, and fortunately this recipe is in my backlog of ‘things I would like to share with you’.

Hrrmmm…. I now realize that this is in fact, three reasons. Consider yourself fairly warned that I am in no mood to make sense of that, or to care. A lady almost barfed on me during my bus ride this morning, and I’m still a little bothered by the fact that her puke was less than exactly one inch from my ultra-cute rain boot that my right foot was in. And that she had three bags to select from in order to contain her puking, but instead the bus floor was her choice.

Also, I’d like to take this opportunity to add that poison oak is a real bitch. Seriously – when does it go away? Are these blisters going to scar if I keep scratching them? Do people think that I have some contagious disease, and should I cover this crap up? This stuff is affecting my productivity at work, well, at life, really. It needs to stop.

Okay, and now I realize that I’ve talked about two things that are not appetizing. I’m sorry. Hopefully the pictures of yummy bbq chicken will keep your focus, even if it didn’t keep mine.

What you see here is in fact, a dish of barbecued chicken. But this isn’t my dad’s bbq chicken recipe (which I now have a hankerin’ for…), it’s an Asian-flavored barbecue sauce, and now you see the tie-in. Finally, right? I’m usually a little concerned when I see this much oyster sauce in a recipe, but you should know that those concerns were invalidated unvalidated super-duper-lame not true.

This is the type of recipe you wanna whip up for your friends. In other words, make this for your labor day partay. You could use any type of chicken (if I remember correctly, the original was a different part), or pork. The bbq sauce is sweet, but tangy, and though the original recipe didn’t call for the sesame seeds, I tend to enjoy the crunch of them. As for the roasted garlic, you can certainly tell that’s in there – and the smell of it withering itself away in the oven is what dreams are made of. Well, that and an arm free of blistersđŸ˜‰.

Twice-Glazed Asian Barbecued Chicken
Adapted from Food & Wine, July 2010 (from Blackbird in Chicago); serves 4

printable version

6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 1/2 t black peppercorns
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 T canola oil
1/2 c oyster sauce
3 T low sodium soy sauce
1/3 c water
1/4 c white wine vinegar
8 chicken drumsticks
cilantro or parsley for garnish
white sesame seeds, toasted, for garnish

special stuff: spice grinder & a grill

Preheat the oven to 350. Wrap the garlic cloves in foil and bake for about 30 minutes, until soft. Squeeze the garlic from the skins into a small bowl.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, cook the peppercorns over moderately high heat, shaking the skillet occasionally, until they are smoking and fragrant, 2 minutes. Transfer the peppercorns to a spice grinder and let cool completely, then grind to a coarse powder.

In the same skillet, cook the chopped onion in the canola oil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add the roasted garlic, ground black pepper and oyster sauce and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the soy sauce and cook until reduced by half, about 1 minute. Add the water and white wine vinegar and simmer over moderate heat until the barbecue sauce is very thick, about 5 minutes. Transfer the barbecue sauce to a blender and puree until smooth.

Light a grill. Oil the grates and grill the chicken drumsticks over moderately high heat until the skin is crisp, about 5 minutes. Turn the chicken and cook over moderate heat until the chicken is almost white throughout, about 5 minutes. Generously brush the barbecue sauce onto the skin; turn and grill until glazed, about 30 seconds. Generously brush the other side with sauce, turn and grill the chicken until glazed. Repeat the glazing on both sides. Transfer the chicken to a work surface to rest for 5 minutes. Garnish with herb and sesame seeds.

4 thoughts on “Asian Things

  1. I LOVED the backstory (okay, maybe not the puking bus lady, but considering my morning commutees in DC, I can definitely relate) and can’t wait to give this recipe a try before Summer’s end! Hope the poison oak goes away soon (now I’m itching just thinking about it…).

  2. Shaw Girl – thanks, and I don’t blame you for not liking the bus lady. i didn’t either! i wouldn’t wish poison oak on my worst enemy – horrible!

    Kenna – true dat.

    Todd – I know you do dear! and I knew you’d have to add something – ha ha ha.

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