Shoyu Chicken Mainland Style by Paul Cedrich Matthyssen
It’s been several years since we left the Hawaiian Islands but memories a shoyu chicken plate lunch, the best being bought from the lunch wagons, still causes salivary glands to go into overdrive. We cannot hope to reproduce the exact same here for we lack the sweet scent of the plumeria blossom, the windward and mauka showers, sensual movements of a hula dancer, warm tones of a slack key guitar, the dark reddish brown dust drifting in from the pineapple fields, the salty air of the trade winds and of course the generous scoops of Aloha.
But from the Bella cucina of Elvis Nigeria comes a recipe which in no way can compare to the delicacy offered by the roach coaches but is still delicious and satisfying.
Firstly you’ll need a half dozen juicy thighs, chicken that is. Free range is preferred but if it is the in-laws that are coming over for dinner then the ones injected with growth hormones and God know with what else, are available at your local super Mercado. Prep the bird, some prefer to leave the skin on, I say take it off, take it all off. Meticulously remove all that yellow fat and don’t forget those membranes. In a heavy skillet sear the thighs in a wee bit of olive oil, this is done to add some color. Now sweat some chopped onions and garlic, how much is up to you but we say you can never have too much sweaty onions.
The next ingredient is critical and it may take some effort on your part to obtain it and that is shoyu, a Japanese style of soy sauce made with wheat and soy. Most large metropolises have oriental food stores where it can be purchased but for those of you living in Podunk, dunno whatcha’ gonna do. We prefer Aloha Shoyu (brewed in the islands) the low sodium version supposedly better for you.
You’ll need several pieces of fresh ginger, cut them fairly large so you can later find and remove them as you do not want to bite into them. A little wine is next, oh go ahead and uncork that bottle of Barolo Monfortino that has been languishing in the wine cellar but then again, your ever criticizing mum-in-law won’t know the difference so just use that seven dollar Pinot Noir.
Place all the afore mentioned ingredients in a heavy pot along with a cup of water, use bottled water, we cannot guarantee the purity of the stuff that comes out of the faucet here in Southern California. The quantities of shoyu and wine are dependent on the results of your experimentation, but do add a table spoon of sugar and a splash of apple vinegar to bind all flavors together. Simmer for an our or so, till the fowl is just about to break loose from the bone
We’ll need cooked rice, today its brown but if a lowered metabolism is not one of your problems by all means go with the white. Steam a plate of Brussels sprouts so you won’t be lying when you tell your Auntie in Honolulu you are eating healthy. Serve with a dollop of Indonesian Sambal Badjack, (warning; bad jack says it all) recipe sent on request. Finish with a desert of haupia (Google this one) and leave your guests satisfied, content and for while perhaps, your name will not be slung around like mud at the beauty parlor. After she’s left, then break out the Primo beer.
Oh, while you are waiting for your grub to come together
Check out this fine art!