Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Slap Yo' Momma

Well, the most treasured of American holidays has come and gone; but, that won't stop me from basking in the glow of dimmed stadium lights as they reflect in purple & gold confetti for a couple more days.

Why might I carry out Superbowl magic as long as possible? Do I love the Ravens? Nope. Am I a sucker for football season and hate to see it end? Yes, but that's not it either. Could it be that I have selfish interests? Much warmer...

You see, I have a family recipe for Chinese chicken wings that is so good it will seriously make you want to slap yo' momma! And, one night a year, I get the privilege of producing a dish so complete in its awesomeness that it brings grown, football-loving men to tears. That's why I mourn the passing of Superbowl Sunday. It will likely be another trip around the sun before I am chockfull of high-fives and meat sweats.

You will never stop thanking me for this ... ever.

And, since this is a blog dedicated to sharing holiday experiences -- especially the ones where men put on helmets and smack talk -- I really wanted to deliver for all of you in a big way, by 'dishing-out' my magical chicken-y knowledge.

However, we hit a speed bump right out of the gate:

My text to my Chinese-American Stepdad:
"Hi Dad! How would you feel about me featuring your chx wings on the blog this week? Would you mind if I share the recipe?"

My dad's text back to me:
"I want the recipe to be a family secret. It is, however, based on a published and copyrighted recipe by noted Chinese chef Joyce Chen. Ms Chen, I believe now deceased, was a friend of my mother's family. There is now a line of Chinese cookware that bears her name."

Well, it was over before it started. I so wanted to pass on the source of my deliciously gooey Superbowl powers, but you don't argue when a parent utters the words secret family recipe. What if Mrs. Fields' daughter couldn't keep her trap shut? Or, God forbid, little Sally Entenmann?

No sir, I can't deny myself the eventual windfall that is my chicken wing birthright. I WILL NOT go against the family. I WILL NOT share our secrets with the unwashed chicken wing loving masses. I will, however, tweak said recipe just enough that you, too, can be inundated with pub grub love this time next year.

So, after adding some delicious new elements and keeping a couple ingredients to myself, here is what you need to know:

(All measurements based on 2 pounds of chicken wings)

- Add several Tablespoons of coconut oil to dutch oven or large pot, over medium heat.
- Brown wings in batches, about 4 minutes on each side.
- Once all wings are browned, lower heat to medium-low and add:
- 1-2 Tablespoons of chopped fresh ginger.
- 1 minced chili. Chinese chili, if you can find it. A Serrano pepper (with seeds) works just fine, too.
- 2 Chinese anise stars.
- Let that cook several minutes, until fragrant. Then add:
- 1/3 Cup soy sauce.
- 1/3 Cup sake.
- 1/3 Cup water.
- 2 Tablespoons mirin.
- 1-2 Tablespoons sugar.
- Bump the heat back up to medium and bring to a simmer.
- Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir Every 5 minutes or so.
- Uncover and cook over medium-high heat for 15 minutes, continuing to stir every 5 minutes.
- Remove the wings from the sauce and transfer them to a platter.
- Continue reducing the remaining sauce.
- Once it becomes a thick glaze, discard any star anise pieces you come across.
- Pour glaze over your towering platter of amazing chicken wings.
- Enjoy!

If this doesn't make you hungry, you might be broken.

I think the biggest thing we can all take away from this holiday (other than a mild tummy ache) is that my family totally knew Joyce Chen! How awesome is that?! And, you can simply click here should you want to take a gander at her version of this recipe -- or her daughter's updated version.

I'll be perfecting my touchdown dance until we meet again,


The “Packing List”

This week, we were rocking the following...or close to it:


  1. I wonder if the Entenmann or Fields recipes are in the public domain?
    Ilana's Dad

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