soy sauce

mango salad with tomato and avocado served on white quinoa in a white plate

Mango Salad With Tomato and Avocado

This mango salad with tomato and avocado is one that I have tested time and time again. I am always tweaking my recipes. Sometimes by the time I am happy with them, the season has passed and I am left wondering why I have nothing to write. This mango salad came to life last summer because I just needed something different to eat. I have been tweaking and eating this so long, I am confident that you will love it. It is the best balance of sweet, savory, and umami.

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Sweet and Spicy Soy Glazed Beef Ribs

I wasn’t sure I was going to have an opportunity to make this sweet and spicy soy-glazed beef ribs. The Boston area recently just became hot. When I say hot, I should clarify that this is by the standards of a Boston area resident. The high 80s to low 90s seem hot now. Back in the days, when I lived in California, these same temps always felt so moderate. I guess I am truly a New Englander now. Luckily for me, yesterday, we had a temporary dip in temperature into the 70s and I felt like I could use the oven again. So, I quickly made this sweet and spicy soy-glazed beef ribs

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Fried Salt and Pepper Chicken WIngs in a bowl, dusted with specks of sesame seeds and spring onions. I have a half eaten wings between my fingers

Takeout Wings

Fried Salt and Pepper Chicken WIngs in a bowl, dusted with specks of sesame seeds and spring onions. I have a half eaten wings between my fingers

I don’t know much about American football. As a Nigerian-American woman, I grew up watching soccer in Lagos. I have vivid memories, from my childhood, of watching the World Cup games between the Super Eagles and other national teams. Now that I live in the land of the New England Patriots, during one of the winningest seasons, I find myself interested in the results. As has mostly been the case in the past six years I have lived in the Boston area; the Patriots are going to the Superbowl. As the fans send off the team, I am dreaming of chicken wings for Super Bowl Sunday. First up are these Salt and Pepper Chicken wings.

Second confession: I am a chicken wings connoisseur. Chicken wings always have a presence in the my freezer stash. I just find them so easy to cook. Baking wings at high heat in an oven and coating with sauce is a favorite cooking method. I can braise them quickly in a shallow pan to make a broth for instant noodles. The Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings are deep fried before being coated in an intense coat of sauce.

Fried Salt and Pepper Chicken WIngs in a bowl, dusted with specks of sesame seeds and spring onions

I knew I had to write up the recipe for these Salt and Pepper Chicken wings when I finally got my ratios right. It took a while to feel like I had the right balance of ingredients. I actually tested this recipe over three consecutive days. Each time was good until it was irresistible. There is something about cooking with ginger, garlic and soy sauce. The combination makes the space smell like good food is cooking. This trifecta add so much umami to this chicken.

It is my sincerest hope that you have an opportunity to try the recipe for Salt and Pepper chicken wings. The one thing I can tell you about making this chicken wings is that it is essential to have everything ready before you start cooking. The process goes by so quickly. The resulting wings are worth the effort.

Fried Salt and Pepper Chicken WIngs in a bowl, dusted with specks of sesame seeds and spring onions

Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings

Sinmi
The Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings is a homage to Chinese takeout menu. I wanted a taste that might not be authentic but reminds me of my favorite Chinese buffet experience. The wings do exactly that.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Appetizer, Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American

Ingredients
  

  • 3 Chicken Wings Party Style
  • 12 Sprigs Spring Onions
  • 8 cloves Garlic use less if you prefer
  • 2 tbsp Grated Fresh Ginger
  • 4 tbsp Sesame Oil
  • 2 tbsp Chili Flakes
  • 3 tbsp Freshly Milled Black Pepper
  • 1/4 Cup Soy Sauce
  • Gomasio or Everything But Bagel Seasoning optional
  • 3 Cups Vegetable Oil
  • Salt

Instructions
 

  • Pat the chicken wings completely dry before salting the skin generously.
  • Chop the garlic cloves into fine bits. Slice the spring onions, separating the greens from the white ends.
  • A saucepan, with deep side, heat up the vegetable oil on medium heat. Test out the temperature of the oil by testing with a thermometer to see if it is 375F. Or sprinkle some flour and see if it sizzles.
  • Once the oil is hot, start frying the chicken wings. Do not crowd the pot. Frying the chicken takes about 10-15 minutes. I like to turn my wings a couple of times to get a deep golden brown color on them. 
  • When pulling wings out of the oil, don’t place on paper towel. Gently place on a plate.
  • While the last batch of chicken fries, start making the sauce to coat wings in another saucepan. Add in the sesame oil first. Follow with the garlic and ginger after a couple of minutes. Once garlic and ginger become fragrant, add in the white part of the spring onions. 
  • A minute after the spring onions are added in, pour in the soy sauce. Let it reduce and become sticky. Add in the chili flakes and black pepper. Stir everything together and wait for the last batch of chicken to finish frying.
  • Once all the chicken wings are adequately fried, add them into the sauce with the heat still on. Stir it all together to get as much sauce on each chicken wings as possible. Once the sauce coats the chicken wings well, add in the green bits of the spring onions. Toss around for a moment.
  • Transfer the Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings to a plate. I like to sprinkle mine with either gomasio or everything but bagel seasoning. It adds some more texture and umami with the sesame seed and other spices.
Keyword appetizers, chicken, chicken wings, chili flakes, crystallized ginger, garlic, green onions, soy sauce, wings
Roasted Chicken leg marinated in soy and burnt caramel marinade with dusting of spring onion slices on a sheet pan

The Impossible Dish

Roasted Chicken leg marinated in soy and burnt caramel marinade with dusting of spring onion slices on a sheet pan

There are few things I knew about myself. One of those things was that I don’t like sweetness in my savory dishes. In the last few years, I have sensed an evolution in the way I eat. I understand that sugar can be more than just sweetness. Sugar can be used to create a different flavor. Sugar is the secret ingredient that creates the joy in this soy burnt caramel chicken.

Bitterness is the opposite of sweetness. It is the sensation that many seem to want to avoid. The truth is bitterness as a part of the flavor palette serves a function. I explore that function in this marinade for chicken. The first time I made the soy burnt caramel chicken, I was skeptical but I had to keep going. This recipe is one that required me to have faith in my imagination.

I kept going and this many years later, I keep going with it. It is something that I created and love. By burning the sugar in this marinade, I get to explore another side of the sweetness. Burnt sugar is not a one note flavor. It has layers that can range from smoky to almost pungent. These layers become even more extraordinary when paired with the magic of soy sauce.

Soy Burnt Caramel chicken served with noodles

It is only right that I admit that this recipe is one that would give a bit of anxiety. How do you know when the sugar is ready? How do you not burn down the house? What tips do I have to make this process doable? Trust yourself and be patient. The initial step of burning is the one that is most anxiety inducing. Once you get through that phase, there is a ton of flavor banked already that makes this a walk in the park. Are you ready to make soy burnt caramel chicken?

Roasted Chicken leg marinated in soy and burnt caramel marinade with dusting of spring onion slices on a sheet pan

Soy Burnt Caramel Chicken

Sinmi
A delicious umami experience enabled by the richness of burnt sugar with soy sauce. The marinade makes the chicken juicy and well season from the inside out.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Cup Soy Sauce
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Tbsp Chili Flakes
  • 1 Tbsp GInger Grated
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 2 pounds Chicken leg

Instructions
 

  • Pour the sugar into a dry light-colored saucepan. Start heating the sugar at medium. As the sugar begins to liquify, swirl the pan slightly to get an even melt. Let the sugar sit on the heat for about 10-15 minutes until it is a dark brown color. Turn heat to low.
  • Once sugar is dark in color, add in the soy sauce and 2 cups of water into the saucepan carefully. Start to stir mixture to encourage the seized up sugar to melt. 
  • Once sugar is dissolved into the liquid, turn of the heat. Smash the garlic and add it to saucepan with the ginger as well as the salt and chili flakes. Let the mixture cool down completely
  • Pour the soy burnt caramel marinade over the chicken.  Seal the chicken and set in a refrigerator for at least 2-4 hours. I have let the chicken marinade overnight without issues. 
  • Preheat oven to 425F. Take the chicken legs out of the liquid and pat dry before setting on a baking tray. Roast in the often for 20-25 minutes.