Lazy Me – Honey Soy BBQ Chicken Wing-Thing

IMG_3071As much as I enjoy tinkering with kitchen gadgets and creating/testing recipes, there are days when slaving over a cooktop or countertop for anymore than 30 minutes feels more like a burden then a blast. The other day was one of those days. Overwhelmed with weeknight rat race and other ongoing hurdles in my head, I turned to an old kitchen relic/newly reacquainted friend – my slow cooker for salvation. I reckoned I’ve used my friend perhaps once this year when I made Cochinita Pibil a few weeks ago. At 5 PM, armed with 2 packages of chicken wing drummettes and a few of my staple ingredients, that night’s supper was going to be honey-soy BBQ chicken wings drenched in its own somewhat fatty (in a good way) sauce over a bed of steamed Jasmine rice (as usual). I made a side dish of sautéed broccoli, red bell and baby bella mushrooms topped with crispy pancetta bits. I was able to muster up the energy to make the veggie medley in 10 minutes flat. Sanity is still in checked.

This BBQ wing thing is a far cry from a complicated recipe. I’d like to think of it as a no-brainer for the “lazy” in me, the “time-cruncher” in me, and surely for the “Hell, I’m not in the mood today” in me. All I did was: seasoned the chicken wings with salt, ground black pepper, browned them briefly to a golden color in a sauté pan, dumped them into my preheated slow cooker waiting in the wings (no pun intended), fried up my aromatics (ginger, garlic, sweet onions, honey, soy/fish sauce, BBQ sauce of choice) and topped them over the wings in the slow cooker. Closed the lid, cranked heat to HI and walked away! In 2 hours or so later, Voila! Family dinner before 7:30 PM. Not every night is this easy but luck was on my side this night.

Here’s my simple recipe. Makes 24 wings

Ingredients:

24 chicken wings drummetes (or the entire wings)

1 tsp fresh ginger, minced

5 garlic cloves, minced

1 sweet yellow onion, such as Vidalia or Maui, finely chopped (tennis ball size)

1 cup BBQ sauce of choice (I used KC Masterpiece Original – neutral, not spicy for my girls)

2 tbsp honey

1.5 tbsp fish sauce (used 3 Crabs brand)

1.5 tbsp soy sauce, low sodium, naturally brewed

1 tbsp drinking white wine (more like a splash; used a leftover opened bottle of Pinot Grigio)

1 tbsp crushed dry red pepper flakes (optional)

kosher salt & ground black pepper to taste

canola or veg oil

Steps:

1. Preheat large saute pan or wok on med-high heat. When pan is hot, drizzle some canola oil, about 1-1.5 tbsp. Swirl oil to coat bottom of pan evenly. When oil is smokey, add chicken wings, enough to cover pan but don’t overcrowd to avoid steaming the wings; going for golden brown exterior here. If necessary, brown wings in batches. Season surface of wings with salt and ground black pepper. When bottom side is browned, turned wings to opposite side and season with salt and ground black pepper. When all wings are browned, add them to preheated slow cooker.

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2. In the same sauté pan or wok on med-high heat, lightly drizzle some more canola oil. Add chopped onions, minced garlic, ginger, BBQ sauce, fish sauce, soy sauce, honey, wine, crushed red pepper flakes (if using), 3-4 turns of ground black pepper from the mill (or another pinch). With a spatula, stir ingredients to mix evenly. When the sauce bubbles in a couple of minutes, stir again quickly. Shut off heat.

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3. Add sauce over chicken wings in the slow cooker. Close lid. Turn heat to HI, timed for 2 hours or LOW for 5-6 hours depending on the performance of one’s slow cooker.

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4. After 2 hours, open lid, skim off excess fat, gently give chicken wings a stir to evenly coat wings with cooked sauce at the bottom. Serve with a side dish or two.

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Spicy Radish and Carrot Matchsticks Kimchi

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My BFF/hubby is a gentle soul indeed. He’s been extra sweet to me and has stepped up more than he already does lately. To show my appreciation, I made his favorite (a hit with our girls too), grilled Korean kalbi BBQ beef ribs. Unfortunately, I ran out of the napa cabbage kimchi which he prefers as a typical side dish. Lacking some fresh greens to make a decent salad or a worthy stir-fry, I ransacked my fridge and discovered a Korean radish (or daikon?) in the crisper next to some carrots. I’m not much of a fan of cubed radish kimchi one typically sees at Korean restaurants. I have Goldilocks syndrome: they’re either too salty, too spicy, or the radish cubes were cut too thickly. As such, I opted to make my own version of radish kimchi. My sister, Monica, had a great tip of cutting them into fairly thin strips. My radish strips were more like thick matchsticks. I added carrots and my usual aromatics/seasoning of choices (i.e. Asian chives, shallots, ginger, garlic, fish sauce, and red chili flakes, etc.). My batch of radish kimchi was quick to whip up and ready to eat from start to finish within 30 minutes (counting soaking time). The result – perfectly crunchy and easy to eat radish matchsticks without the overwhelming radishy smell I often dread with thick cubed ones. They went beautifully with the BBQ ribs. Hubby and girls fed and content. Another battle in the kitchen conquered!

Here’s my recipe.

Ingredients:

2 lb. fresh Korean radish/daikon (peeled, washed, cut into thick matchsticks)

2 small organic carrots (peeled, washed, cut into thick matchsticks)

1 medium shallot (golf ball size) cut into thin strips

5-7 stalks of Asian chives (buchu) cut into 1″ spears

1 knob ginger, minced (1 tsp)

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 stalks green onions, chopped into 1″ spears

3-4 heaping tbsp Korean red chili pepper flakes (or more for extra burn)

2 tbsp fish sauce (used 3 Crabs brand)

3-4 tbsp radish juice (from soaked radishes)

1 tbsp kosher salt

1 tbsp granulated sugar (1.5 tbsp for a slightly sweeter taste)

Steps:

1. In a large bowl, add radish matchsticks, salt, and sugar. Mix well with hand. Let sit for 25-30 minutes. Give ingredients a toss every 10-15 minutes. After 25-30 minutes, drain excess radish juice from bowl, but reserve about 3-4 tbsp. Prepare the other vegetables in the meantime.

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2. In a separate bowl, add cut carrots, chives, green onions, ginger, garlic, shallot, red pepper flakes, fish sauce, and reserved radish juice. With hand (plastic gloves helps), mix all ingredients well until radish and carrots have a reddish colour from the red pepper flakes.

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3. Transfer finished product into glass or plastic containers. Firmly pack pickled veggies to release any air pockets. Cap with airtight lid. Store in refrigerator and serve when ready.

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Radish kimchi can also be eaten immediately with savory grilled meats perhaps like my hubby’s plate (below) with Kalbi BBQ ribs.

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BBQ ribs was the sideshow. The main stars on my plate were the pickled green mangos and radish kimchi.

Cook’s Note: This method of pickling works great with crunchy, unripened green mangos too. Sometimes I’ll skip the pre-soak in salt/sugar mixture and just add everything into bowl but will add 1 tbsp of sugar with the mango/carrot mixture (as shown below). I’ll just give a quick toss and serve immediately.

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