Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Using Chicken Teriyaki for Evil

Fire Alarm Count Thus Far: 6.
In case you couldn't tell, it's really starting to piss me off. I mean, is it really so difficult to turn on a vent fan and open a window? Let me answer that for you. No. No it is not. Better yet, don't burn anything in the first place. I'm sure at this point, the NY Fire Department, who has come down every time the alarm has sounded, hates us and wishes we were dead. I bet that the one time there is an actual fire, they're going to think, "Screw this, it's just another stupid teenager who can't cook for shit and is too dumb to open a window."

Now that I'm done with that little rant...let's get to the cooking.

As you might have gleaned from this post's title...tonight I made chicken teriyaki! I'll be very honest, whole chicken legs make me a tad nervous. It is much trickier to tell if they are fully cooked than with chicken breasts, since the texture of cooked chicken leg meat is not too dissimilar to that of raw, partially frozen chicken leg meat. The first and only time (to date) that I have attempted to make fried, whole chicken legs, my mother failed to tell me that the drumsticks needed to be stabbed several times in order to cook thoroughly, and so I dipped and re-dipped the chicken legs into the hot oil until the breadcrumbs nearly turned black, and still the meat next to the bone remained pink and decidedly raw.

Today, cooking for my two suitemates Mi and E and The Boyfriend (who had come to visit), I was determined to do this right. I stabbed those chicken legs 5, 10, 15 times as if they had done me some great personal wrong before letting them sit in fridge and soak up the marinade for a half hour. Then I fried them in a pan over the electric stove (which I love) for a long time until I was sure those legs were completely cooked through.

Marinating chicken legs.

And before you ask, it was yummy. A resounded success, if you will. Especially since this is my first time using chicken drumsticks for anything besides fried chicken or curry. It made the whole kitchen smell delicious, The Boyfriend hung around behind me while I cooked staring intently at the pan, and just to be evil, E and I opened our dormitory door and fanned the smell out into the hallway to tempt innocent passerby.

Photo of me browning the onions and scallions, taken by The Boyfriend who was hovering around with my camera. Like my cupcake earring? It's my favorite pair.

Drool-Worthy Chicken Teriyaki

4 chicken legs with skin still attached
1 medium onion, diced
1 scallion, chopped
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
1/4 cup cold water
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp corn starch
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp vegetable oil
black sesame seeds for garnish

~Stab the chicken legs multiple times with a small knife until they are appropriately perforated (not actually, just make sure you stab it enough so that cooking it won't take forever). Chuck them in a large bowl while you mix the marinade.
~In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the teriyaki sauce, sesame oil, and soy sauce. Pour over the chicken legs, and dunk the chicken in and out of them until they are soaked and more or less submerged. Pour half of the onions in and mix it in good. Pop this in the refrigerator to marinade for about 30 minutes.
~Near the end of the 30 minutes, it is probably a good time to start making your rice.
~After 30 minutes are over, pull the chicken out of the fridge. Heat up the vegetable oil in a pan, and when it's hot add the remaining onions and most of the scallions, setting some aside to garnish. Saute until the smell of the onions are wafting up from the pan before putting the chicken legs in.
~When one side of the chicken is nicely brown, flip it to cook the other side (This task can be made much easier with a pair of wooden chopsticks or tongs. Since I had neither, I made do with a wooden spoon).
~Meanwhile, use the leftover marinade to make a sauce by adding the water and cornstarch to the bowl and whisking it all together. Wait until both sides of the chicken is browned before adding this mixture to the pan, because if you don't you will wind up boiling the chicken instead of frying it like you're supposed to.
~Stir the contents of the pan slowly to keep the liquid from sticking the to bottom of the pan and burning. By the time the sauce starts to thicken, you can stab a couple of chicken legs a few more times to the bone to see if they're done. You will know the chicken won't make you sick if you slit it open and the meat inside is white and the juices that gush out from the incision are clear. A few spots of pink near the bone is normal, as long as it's not actually bleeding.

Makes enough for 4 people. Serve garnished with reserved scallions and steamed rice topped with sesame seeds.

I used store-bought Tsunami-brand teriyaki sauce for this, because I didn't have all the ingredients on hand to make it from scratch (in case you were wondering how I managed to have bottled teriyaki sauce in a kitchen I just recently moved into but not ginger or brown sugar, which by all rights should be staples and are the two ingredients I'm missing...I brought it from home). But if making it from scratch is more your style, check out this recipe from Recipezaar, which got very high reviews, and tell me how it turns out so I can use it the next time my kitchen is more well-stocked.

You can also use chicken breast for this recipe, obviously, but let's be honest, chicken legs just taste so much better.

The Boyfriend, eating my chicken teriyaki and rice. I almost wouldn't believe his pronouncement of it being good if I hadn't also eaten it myself.