As a creative person, there’s a constant need to be inspired. As a chef one of the ways I stay informed, updated and inspired is by watching the work of other chefs. Apart from living on the internet and soaking in every information I can about my craft I also watch the food channel all the time. Sports lovers and weepy day time TV fans should not judge please, but Food Network rocks yo!
So Pok Pok….
Pok pok is a restaurant in Portland Oregon, America. The owners of the restaurant travel to Thailand 3-4 times a year to experience Thai Street then come back to reinvent those dishes from the inspiration they got from eating what they saw on the streets. This restaurant caught the attention of Unique Eats TV Show on the Food Network (which has to be the best thing on TV right now) and when I was watching I saw the “Fish Sauce wings” and without a question I said to myself “I have to make those”. They were wings marinated in garlic water and fish sauce then dredged in rice flour, deep fried and tossed in caramelizing palm sugar served hot!!
I knew they held some ingredients back so I decided to think like a chef act like a cook! So, I thought of all that was Thai relatable… I picked out the coriander, spring onions, coriander seeds, chillies, ginger, garlic and fish sauce which was the main ingredient here. I didn’t find palm sugar so I substituted with soft brown sugar. I also imagined there was some sort of dipping sauce. I thought of making my red bell pepper vinaigrette with more of the thai influences and making it as vinegary as possible so it cuts against the sweetness of the sugar.
I was also tickled to pickle something and I made the ginger you’ll find at sushi bars I felt it would be great not really Thai but hey! it’s pickled.
The trick to this simple dish is to present it well. It takes it from “chicken wings” to “gourmet wings”. Make sure you get a nice plate and play with texture and colour to make it very impressive.
1 chilli pepper (ata rodo)
3 green chillies
2 table spoons coriander seeds
3/4 cup fish sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
A knob of ginger
4 large cloves of garlic or 2 tablespoons pureed garlic
2 tablespoons brown vinegar
2 tablespoon light or 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon tom yum soup paste (substitute red curry paste if you don’t find)
A sprinkle of salt
2 cups rice flour
3 tablespoon chicken seasoning
Oil for Deep Frying
1 Table spoon palm or brown sugar
1 teaspoon garlic
1 tablespoon brown vinegar
A splash of water to deglaze
Place all the marinade ingredients in a blender and blend till everything is pretty smooth and pour over the wings then allow to sit for at least an hour. (If you have the time to allow it sit overnight then go for it)
If you don’t have time, poke the wings with a knife so the marinade gets in faster and sit for 30 mins.
After it has sat in the marinade transfer to the bowl that has the rice flour and chicken seasoning mix and dump the wings there and toss properly in the dredge mix and transfer to the hot oil you must have set ahead and fry till its golden and done. Don’t overcrowd the pot you’re frying in you don’t want to drop the temperature of the oil too much. Let me state here that rice flour is ideal here as opposed to regular flour its much lighter and the results are way crisper!
In another pan add the sugar garlic and vinegar, place on a medium heat and allow it slowly turn into caramel. Add a splash of water, move the pot around, when it becomes a semi thick liquid add the chicken wings and toss or turn with a spoon making sure all the wings are coated evenly. Add a splash of water if the caramel is getting to sticky. Be careful here so you don’t burn the sugar do this on a low heat so you have control and keep a constant watch on it.
For the Slaw
I decided to add a garnish of a fresh coriander slaw with mango, cucumber, sesame seeds, green chillies and pickled ginger. The ginger sat in shot pickle mixture of 2 tablespoons salt and sugar to a cup of plain vinegar that had one chilli and 1 tablespoon coriander seeds and a small beetroot to give it its pink colour. The ginger was sliced thin on a mandolin. If you don’t have one just slice into thin julienne matchsticks.
This is the crowning part of the dish. It could work for the slaw and an amazing dipping sauce for the chicken.
1/4 cup brown vinegar
4 small tatashe pepper (or long chillies)
3 green chillies
1 teaspoon tom yum soup paste
1 teaspoon garlic
1 teaspoon ginger
1 tablespoon sesame oil
a small bunch coriander
2 tablespoon sliced spring onions
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/2 cup olive oil
In a blender place all the ingredients and whizz on the highest speed till its smooth. Whizz again and through the tiny hole at the top of the transparent cover slowly pour the olive oil. Check for seasoning and it should be emulsified and slightly thick. Garnish with chillies and some more olive or sesame oil.
So there you have it an ode to the Unique Pok Pok Restaurant.
At this point i would love to thank Demilade Banwo for being such an amazing photographer. He made me and my food look so good. Please follow him on twitter @franksinatre
You may actually stop at just the fried part and serve just like that if you’re not into sweet chicken and add more chillies of you want a hotter dressing.
Before I sign off, I would like to remind you all that “Chef Fregz Special” is finally here. On Sunday the 29th of July at the Get Arena, Oniru, I’d be cooking the following things.
Prada Eba Lamborghini Okro
Gnocchi Shaped Eba Pieces with luscious spoons of rick seafood Okro with fish pieces, jumbo prawns, crab claws and shrimps. It comes with a special Ata dindin garnish [3,500]
Kukere! I dey Chop Chef Fregz!
An Open face long sandwich with layers of lettuce, tomato slices, slices of succulent roast beef and a good dousing of chilli con carne sauce. Served with chilli crisps! This comes with the option of cheddar cheese [3,000]
Too Much Senrenre
Juicy Chicken Kebabs grilled and basted with a coriander sauce with a fresh salsa served with turmeric rice finished with a earthy morrocan style tomato sauce. [N3,000]
A Crepe topped with banana flambe with a Nutella/chocolate sauce and cream [ N1,500]
Kel’s A Meringue sandwich of strawberries and cream topped with strawberry sauce [N1,500]
It starts at 12noon. Tell your friends, lovers and enemies… Good food is profitable to all!
I am also doing a giveaway of t-shirts courtesy of @giddimint. To win just tweet “Im coming for #ChefFregzSpecial #BNReader”
Of course you have to be there to redeem your shirt if you win!
Hope to see you there and may the Food Force be With You….