Yes, that’s right, breaking news – Coke can also be used in cooking. I discovered that one day in university, when I detected a lovely smell coming from the common kitchen I shared with a couple of people, so mouth-watering and appealing that it lured me from my room into the kitchen. I was amazed to find out my Chinese flatmate was using Coke as the sauce for her chicken dish.
Did you know, the Coke actually breaks down the muscles of the meat and makes it tenderer? Also, the sweetness of the Coke adds an interesting sweetness to the recipe, which somehow seems more flavourful than adding normal sugar. Boiling the Coke is similar to the caramelising process, which gives the chicken a tempting, shiny and sticky coat. This coke chicken drumstick is perfect for leftover flat Coke, or for lazy days when you want something quick and delicious with little effort.
So, have a small experiment cooking with Coke. I find that adding a splash of Coke to homemade barbecue sauce also makes it pleasantly delectable.
- 4 chicken drumsticks or 2 large chicken legs (with bones)
- 1 can of regular Coke, not Diet Coke or Coke Zero (we need the sugar in the Coke)
- Soy sauce
- 2 – 3 garlic cloves, or garlic powder
- 1-inch-piece (about 2.5 cm length) of ginger, or ginger powder
- Black pepper
1. If you use chicken legs, cut them in half – make the cut through the joint between the thigh and the drumstick so that it is easier to separate the two pieces.
2. Marinade the chicken with 3 tbsp soy sauce, 5 tbsp Coke, ½ tsp ginger powder, ½ tsp garlic powder (or finely chopped garlic and ginger) and black pepper. Set aside for about 30 minutes.
* 1 tbsp = 15 ml, 1 tsp = 5 ml.
3. Add ½ cup of Coke + ½ cup of water into a pan (so that the chicken is partially submerged). Bring it to a boil and remove any unwanted foam. Reduce the heat to medium and keep simmering (pan is covered by a lid) until the chicken is cooked through (about 15 minutes).
* 1 cup = 240 ml
4. Remove the chicken drumsticks from the pan and put them onto a plate with kitchen towel (the kitchen towel helps absorb excess water from the chicken). Keep the remaining sauce for later use.
5. Heat about 3 Tbsp oil in a non-stick pan on high heat. Fry the chicken drumsticks till their skin turn golden brown. The purpose of this step is to give the chicken a nice golden brown color and to make its flesh become a bit more crunchy. As the chicken has already been cooked, this step will only last about 2 – 3 minutes for each side of the drumsticks. Once done, remove the pan from heat.
6. Put the chicken into the pan with sauce that is remained in step (3). Cook on high heat. Flip the chicken regularly so that both sides are covered by the sauce. Add more soy sauce or sugar to your taste. Normally, I only add a bit more soy sauce as the sugar in the Coke should be enough for the sweet taste.
As we cook, the sauce will get thickened, creating a glossy and flavorful “coat” around the drumsticks. Remove the pan from heat when the sauce has reduced to about 2 – 3 Tbsp. You can let the sauce evaporate completely. However, I prefer to save some to drizzle onto my steamed rice later on (it tastes super super super good ).
Serve this chicken hot with steamed rice and steamed vegetables of your preference. To save time, you can boil the vegie while waiting for the chicken to be cooked in step (3). Then the meal can be ready in about 30 minutes.
Cold leftover chicken can be pulled from the bone and make for delicious sandwich fillings.
- Recipe & Photos: Linh Trang
- Written & Edited by: Thảo Đan