I love family gatherings especially during the important Chinese festivals . There is something so exciting about the noise, the chaos, and the traditions. It is a time when we finally get to meet up with extended family and distant cousins we haven’t seen in quite awhile. My dad has so many family members that I lose track of who is who? there seems to always be someone new I meet at every reunion. Unlike most other cultures, the chinese have a different title for every aunt, uncle depending on how they are connected to you. I never could quite understand why it was so complicated. Early on I learnt to just tag along behind my grandfather or parents at big gatherings and whenever I felt my memory failed me, I had someone to turn to for help. Don’t get wrong. I love my culture, I love my family and I love how tightly bonded we all were. Sometimes it takes a lifetime to really learn it all!
The main attraction of any festival is always and has always been the feast! At any gathering this dish of soy sauce braised meat is frequently served. This is definitely a dish you would find commonly at home just as you would in any restaurant. I do have to let you on a secret though!…My family makes the best soy sauce braised meats. During Chinese New Year (biggest chinese festival of the year), my grandmother would spend a couple days preparing a selection of soy sauce braised fish; hard-boiled eggs; pigs feet; chicken wings; ox tongue; duck..you name it! It is simple, flavorful, and it keeps for a long time. The meat will always come out succulent, tender and bursting full of flavor! With all honesty, this is probably the dish I miss the most.
Zoe and I found this recipe while surfing on the web. We were hosting another group of friends tonight and were racking our brains anxiously of what we could make? I should have thought of this dish immediately since we eat it all the time at our family gatherings. It was rather daunting to make a dish I had always seen made at home, knowing that I would be extremely picky about how it should taste. After about 30 minutes of braising, a familiar smell made its way around the room. My eyes widened.
I watched as Zoe leaned in close to smell it. Her reaction was exactly the same as mine. I watched her eyes widen as she excitedly turned towards me.
“It smells just like home”
I could not have agreed more.
It has been so long we both have had this dish made. Better yet, it tasted exactly like home food.
Serves 4 or more if serving with other dishes
Adapted from Gourmettraveller
- 12 chicken drumsticks (or wings, thighs, or even 1 whole chicken)
- 4 boiled eggs
- 1 1/2 cup Gluten Free Lee Kum Kee Soy Sauce
- 4 oz rock sugar
- 2 Spring onions, cut into 2-inch lengths
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 2 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 cups of water
- 4-5 thick slices of ginger
- Place all the braising liquid ingredients in a large pot. Bring it to a boil.
- Carefully place the chicken drumsticks into the liquid.
- Leave it to boil for 8-10 minutes or until just cooked (around 30 minutes if you’re using a whole chicken).
- At the same time, place the eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water.
- Bring it to a boil, let it cook for 6 minutes after it starts boiling.
- Remove from heat and drain. Let it cool. Peel and keep it chilled.
- Turn off the heat and leave pot to cover for a few hours. Place the chilled eggs into the pot to let it color as well.
- When you need to serve, heat high enough to warm back but not to cook the meat further. You can serve the meat at room temperature as well with a steaming bowl of rice.
The longer you leave it in the pot, the more you will let the eggs and chicken darken. The flavor will seep into the meat and eggs.