Usually when I see a recipe in a magazine it can take me a while to get around to actually making it. I am routinely pulling things out of my recipe binder that are dated back as far as 2003. But some things just sound so good that I immediately head out to the store to buy the ingredients.
Apparently, Tsai’s mother used to make these for him when he was growing up and all of the kids at school would trade their lunches just to get one. I can totally buy this story because these beat the pants of any PB&J out there!
First I must make a confession — I made this chicken a while ago. It’s just now making an appearance because I couldn’t decide what to write about it. Honestly, I can still look at these pictures and be confused. I enjoyed eating it, but was it something I’d ever make again? Would I recommend it to someone? Would I recommend it to someone I like? Am I bitter at Food & Wine? I don’t know. I have never felt so torn about a recipe before.
Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?
Back in September, I flipped to this recipe for Caramelized Ginger Chicken in the most recent issue of Food & Wine and stopped in my tracks. The picture that accompanied the recipe looked perfect — tantalizingly drool-worthy, both sticky and succulent. I mean really, go to this link and ogle the picture up close. That chicken is so saucy that it practically looks lacquered.
But even though I couldn’t get the recipe out of my head, I managed to wait a month or so to let some other people try it out first. I’m a little obsessed with reading recipe reviews so if the “guinea pigs” discover a problem, I can make adjustments accordingly. The first review I found for this recipe was from Garrett of Noodle Therapy who had clearly been just as seduced by the picture as I had been.
What I read made me nervous. He reported that the flavor was good with a nice hint of fish sauce and the chicken was tender, but the final result looked nothing like the picture, even though he followed all of the directions. WTF? The picture was the best part!
But even with that knowledge, I couldn’t let it go. Finally in mid-December, deciding it still sounded too good to pass up, I bought some chicken legs and got to work.
In a few recent posts, I’ve mentioned that my husband and I went a less than traditional route this Thanksgiving. Instead of the usual turkey and stuffing combo, we decided to make a variety of our favorite Asian dishes instead. We still had a turkey to cook, but I bought a pork belly too so we could do something more exciting.
Here’s a preview of (a bit of) the spread we put out:
Steamed Buns, Pickled Veggies, Butter Lettuce and Pork Belly
We started with a batch of scallion pancakes, then moved into turkey yakitori meatballs. To do the meatballs, we removed the dark meat from our bird and ground it. We seasoned the meat with minced garlic, ginger and shallot, rolled the mixture into balls and chilled it until it was able to stay on the skewers. My husband totally gets props for lighting our charcoal grill in the cold just to cook off twenty meatballs. That, my friends, is true dedication. And his balls were very, very tasty. *Ahem.
I only got two pictures because I was too busy stuffing my face:
It’s old news that I love dim sum. I love it so much that I’m slowly learning how to make all of my favorite dishes at home — from scallion pancakes to pork dumplings to bean curd rolls. Every time I start a project, I get a little nervous that it won’t turn out but besides one horribly failed attempt at soup dumplings, everything has been incredibly delicious.
I have been dying to make these chive dumplings forever. I even spent a good amount of time last summer tracking down the elusive wheat starch that was needed for the dough. Finally, the weekend before Thanksgiving, my partner-in-crime DB came over for a little dim sum party.