Serves 4 to 6
"Red cooking" refers to the reddish color of the chicken when cooked in the following way. The soy sauce actually turns the meat reddish brown. A traditional braising technique, red cooking renders meat fork-tender and imbues it with the flavors of the braising sauce.
8 chicken legs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup black or mushroom soy sauce
1/4 cup dry sherry
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh ginger (optional)
6 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
3 tablespoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 small hard-boiled eggs, peeled
Separate the chicken legs into drumsticks and thighs. Pat dry.
Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy, large pan, such as a Dutch oven, with a tight-itting lid. When the oil is at the smoking point, add the chicken. Pan-fry, turning once for 10 minutes, until nicely browned. Drain in a colander. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the oil and juices in the Dutch oven.
Reheat the oil in the pan and add the broth, soy sauce, sherry, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, brown sugar, pepper, and cold water. Stir well. Bring the sauce to a boil. Add the chicken and hard-boiled eggs, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and stir.
Continue to cook for 15 minutes longer. Remove 1 piece of chicken and probe with a fork. If the meat is still firm and tight, the chicken needs to cook a little longer. If the chicken breaks apart and falls off the bone, it has been overcooked. The desired consistency is somewhere between both of the above. Serve at once.
by Stuart Chang Berman
Line drawings by Dora F. Lee
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created June 2004