Lemongrass chicken wings

I loved this dish when I was in Hong Kong and they called it “Vietnamese-style pan-fried lemongrass chicken wings”, aside from using lemongrass and fish sauce, I am not too sure how much “Vietnamese” is there in this dish. But nonetheless, it was still a delicious dish and I am going to blog about how to make it. 🙂

Ingredients: (yield 2-3 servings)
6 chicken wings
2 stems of fresh lemongrass, white portion chopped, or 4 tbsp of lemongrass if you buy a small processed bottle
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 green onion, minced or slightly grinded
1 tbsp of sugar
1 tbsp of soy sauce
1/2 tbsp of aged soy sauce
1 tbsp of Chinese cooking wine
2 tbsp of fish sauce
Salt and pepper
Coconut oil
Thai sweet chili sauce, optional

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In a bowl, mix all the lemongrass, garlic, green onion, sugar, soy sauce, aged soy sauce, Chinese cooking wine, fish sauce, salt and pepper and this is our marinating sauce. Poke small holes with a stick or pointy knife on the back side of the wings so that the sauce can be soaked better. Put all the chicken wings in a large zip-lock bag and pour in all the marinating sauce. Get rid of excessive air in the bag and zip it really tight so it won’t leak. Tilt the bag to make sure that every wing gets surrounded by the marinating sauce.

Let the bag sit in the fridge overnight or for at least 4-5 hours.

When ready to cook, turn the oven on to 375 F. Heat up coconut oil in a cast iron pan on medium-high heat. Put all the chicken wings down onto the pan with the skin-side touching the pan first. Be careful try not to get any of the sauce on to the pan or it will burn. If you have a full wing like I did, use a spatula to press down on the wings to distribute heat to parts that are not quite touching the pan. Cook that side for about 4-5 min until the outside turns golden brown. Move the chicken wings with the spatula constantly to make sure they are not stuck. Flip all the wings, and do the same and cook until this other side turns golden brown, and this takes about 4-5 min as well.

Transfer the whole cast iron pan with the wings into the oven and put a lid on and let cook for about another 15-18 min. If you have only a small wing, it takes less time. Check with a thermometer for internal temperature at 165 F to make sure it is cooked through.

You can choose to drizzle on some Thai sweet chili sauce or make your own dipping sauce to enjoy the wings with; but otherwise, it is a perfectly delicious dish by itself. It hit the spot and brought back so many fond memories when I was in Hong Kong. Good times to be had! 🙂 Thanks for checking in!

A quick fix for Vietnamese Pho

When you have the pho broth made (cooking from scratch requires tens of hours), then you are set, it is down to simply getting fresh ingredients to stuff the bowl. But what if you only have got beef broth? If you have some common Asian spices available at home, you can kind of whip up a close imitation of pho beef soup on your own! (Of course, you can always get pre-packaged pho broth in grocery store, but I was too lazy to make a specific trip for that, lol)

Soup Ingredients: (My bowls do not have much depth to hold much liquid, hence the smaller amount of liquid, scale up the amount if you need to)
16 oz of beef broth
1 cup of water
1 half stick of cinnamon, broken into medium-sized pieces (big enough to pick out)
4-5 star anise
A pinch of coriander
A pinch of fennel seeds
1/2 onion, chopped to help spread the flavor faster
A teaspoon of fish sauce
A pinch of sugar
Salt and pepper

Mix everything and bring to boil. Leave the pot of broth on very low heat to keep warm. This is a very fast-food way to get similar flavor of Pho, by no means this can compete with a bowl of well-prepared broth. But on a busy Thursday night after work, this is good enough, at least to me. 🙂

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Pho ingredients: (yielding 2-3 bowls)
1 lbs of banh pho rice noodles (Here’s a link to: Pho 101)
A few ultra-thin slices of raw round, sirloin or tri-tip steak (I did not have any handy, so I cheated as I used a few thin slices of roasted beef instead)
1/4 of an onion, thinly sliced
A handful of cilantro leaves, chopped or not
A handful of basil leaves, chopped or not
A handful of bean sprouts
A few lime wedges

Sauce:
Hoisin sauce
Sriracha sauce

In addition, I added some chunks of soy bean cakes and a half hard-boiled egg just to make it a slightly more substantial amount of food. If you have dried noodles to begin with, soak them in cold water for about 15-20 min. In a large pot of boiling water, throw in the noodles and cook for 1 min and quickly drain the water and run the noodles under icy cold water. Distribute the noodles into bowls and add all the above prepared ingredients and pour a couple hot ladles of soup broth on the top, or add the beef slices, pour the broth then garnish with all other ingredients. Add hoisin sauce or sriracha sauce depending on your preference.

Enjoy!