While the recipe calls for chicken wings, this recipe could work just as well with drum sticks, thighs or breast, on the bone or as fillets, skin on or skinless. However, going boneless and skinless will affect the final product a little, making it a little less flavourful and have a little less of that lip-smacking richness to it. Also, the cooking time will have to be adjusted during the pressure cooker/simmering stage (step 13) to allow for the right amount of time for the meat to cook through. Naturally, small to medium sized chunks will work better than whole pieces and take less time to cook.
The recipe calls for 5 small waxy potatoes, though large waxy potatoes are fine so long as the chunks are of similar size, about the size of a table tennis ball give or take. You could go with smaller pieces but then you’ll have to add them to the pot at a later stage, otherwise they would likely overcook before the chicken is sufficiently tender.
If you’re not familiar with waxy potatoes, they’re the ones that tend to hold their shape better than the starchy potatoes, which end up with a fluffy texture and are better suited to things like baked potatoes and mash. Waxy potatoes go by many names but if you’re in Australia, the red skins potatoes such as the Desiree or Red Delights are a couple of examples of potatoes best suited to this recipe. While you could use other potatoes, you’ll have to keep an eye on them, as they may tend to break apart, which won’t look as nice from a presentation point of view but also will also affect the texture of the sauce.
During the development of this recipe, I went out to purchase a Filipino brand of soy sauce to keep the flavours as close to what you might expect within their native homeland. Unsurprisingly (at least to me), the flavour of the soy sauce, whilst soy-like, is unlike other soy sauce products from Japan, China, Korea and the like. Much the same way that soy sauce from each of these countries taste different to each other. Feel free to use whatever soy sauce you have on hand, though if you’re able to, try and purchase a Filipino brand for this dish e.g. Datu Puti. This was the brand I’d used while testing this recipe.
While on the subject of soy sauce, the saltiness of the sauce can vary considerably between different brands and countries so make sure to bear this in mind when adding it to the recipe. For instance, try tasting the sauce between tablespoons to see whether or not it needs more or less. If it gets too salty at step 9, you could not reduce the sauce as much but at the expense of its thickness and richness.
Substitutions & Omissions
With regards to omissions, you can certainly omit the potatoes, particularly for those that live a very protein-centric, carb-phobic lifestyle. Even with the potatoes, there’s a generous amount of sauce, so you could do away with the potatoes and add probably up to an extra 500g of chicken wings. In this fashion, the chicken could be served as finger food rather than as a stew served with rice. Just drain off most of the sauce from the chicken right before serving and pour the excess sauce into a small bowl to used as an additional dipping sauce.
The chicken bullion powder is entirely optional and the recipe is still good without it. It just won’t have that subtle dimension of flavour to it. You could also if you wanted to replace the water entirely with chicken stock or use some mixture of stock and water to cover the chicken and potatoes. I didn’t think the recipe needed it but if you want to try it out, I’d love to hear how it turned out.
If you don’t have access to star anise, you could do without it, though the chicken and sauce with lack that subtle, earthy aroma to it. You could also substitute the star anise with around a half to a whole teaspoon of Chinese five spice, which has star anise as one of its core components. It’ll still have that mild earthy aroma to it, though the aroma and flavour will differ a little.
As for the butter, the recipe lists a preference for unsalted butter, as the salt in regular butter will affect the seasoning i.e. saltiness of the sauce. In my mind it’s better to incorporate more soy sauce to unsalted butter, which brings along with it extra flavour, than use salted butter and use a little less soy sauce. The butter is there to add a richness and glossiness to the sauce and it doesn’t contribute all that much in flavour. Stick with unsalted butter if you can but don’t worry too much about it if you only have salted butter. As with the soy sauce above, just be mindful of the seasoning.
With regards to the liquid component of Chicken Asado, from the bit of research that I’ve done via the Internet, it seems recipes vary considerably regarding the amount of liquid that’s left in the stew. Some were almost soup-like in their consistency while on the other hand this recipe opts for a thicker, richer sauce. As indicated in the recipe, reduce the sauce down until it reaches a consistency similar to the image above where it coats the back of a spoon without it running or bleeding into the space made when your finger runs through it. If you’re familiar with the French culinary term nappe, this is what you’re after.
Ok that’s it for this recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. Please feel free to like and share this recipe and leave a comment below to let me know what you think of the recipe, ask questions or share stories of your experience with this dish.
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