Yes, the you read the title of this post correctly. One of my favourite recipes that I have is Chicken Wings braised in Cola Sauce. It was one of the first recipes that I learned from my mother as a young boy. It’s an easy recipe to teach a 10-year-old kid who was taking care of his 3 younger siblings while both parents are working in order to put their kids through school and have food on the table (the joys of being an immigrant family!).
Anyways, this recipe is fairly simple!
3-4 cloves of garlic
2-3 tbsp of salt
2 lbs of chicken wings
2 tbsp of soy sauce
enough cola to cover the chicken wings in the pan for braising
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The preparation of this dish is fairly simple, chop up the garlic into small pieces, throw the garlic into a hot pan of oil and slightly brown the garlic and add the chicken wings. At this point, add some salt, add some soy sauce, add your cola. It’s a fairly simple and straight forward recipe. The key point is to ensure that the cola covers the chicken wings to allow it to braise.
Because we are braising the wings in cola, there are acids and sugars that are in the cola that will: 1) break down the meat of the chicken wings; 2) naturally sweeten the savoury dish. As the cola sauce reduces, it will naturally thicken due to the collagen that is in the chicken wings making it a nice viscous sauce that covers the chicken wings.
I can’t tell you how many times I would make this dish as a kid and as a teenager simply because it was SO easy to make.
I have to point out that this dish is not exclusive to Vietnamese cooking; I’ve seen it also in Chinese cooking and some Caribbean cuisines as well. So if this is not something that is exclusive to Asian cuisine, then how did people start cooking with Coca Cola?
Perhaps in its attempt for imperial conquest Coca Cola had disseminated its diabolical drink to the masses and convinced us that it is is the nectar of the gods and should be used in cooking? A little far-fetched of a notion isn’t it?
I think the answer is that in most “Third World” countries, Coca Cola is more naturally available and cheaper than other cooking ingredients such as vinegar, cooking wines, or cooking sauces, and as such, households found an ingenious way to make use of the inexpensive drink in their culinary arts!
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I’m trying to blog more regularly and video tape my food adventures, so please keep an eye out for that much demanded “How to Make Pho” post that will come… at some point…!