Author Notes: This recipe is one of my childhood favorites from my mother's Taiwanese kitchen. It's a recipe my mother would simmer on the stove on lazy weekend afternoons. The house would be warmed with the scent of sesame oil and fresh ginger, and we could barely wait until dinner, when we’d have my mother’s glistening chicken wings, garnished with bright green scallions over steamed white rice. The flavor of the rich sauce soaked into the rice was incredible. An abundance of scallions cut on the diagonal were an essential bright note on this dish. This is where my father comes into the story.
My father didn't spend any time in the kitchen, but he did have a knack for teaching me and my brother Life Lessons. His most often repeated lesson was on frugality. Nothing could go to waste– he would routinely inspect my trash can and remove items which I was ready to discard, but he felt still had some life left.
Decades later, I thought I had come a long way. Now living in San Francisco, a city with a goal of “zero waste,” I have become quite skilled and dogmatic about recycling and composting. We produce very little trash for my father to inspect when he visits. On a recent visit, when I was done with the scallions I was using in a dish, I automatically began to put the cut off roots into my composting pail.
True to form, my father said, “You waste too much.” Seeing as I was an inadequate role model for his version of “zero waste,” my dad used the scallion roots as an opportunity to teach my daughters how to be less wasteful than their mother, and also how to grow their own food. They were excited to plant the roots in the mini potted herb garden just outside our front door. Magically, and within days, we had more scallions! These are the everlasting scallions that are the grace note to one of my favorite dishes from my mother's kitchen. These are delicious hot, but cold leftovers make a fine contribution to a picnic as well. —Beautiful, Memorable Food
pounds chicken wings
cup Asian sesame oil
cup soy sauce
quarter sized slices of fresh, peeled ginger
teaspoon ground white pepper
tablespoon canola oil
scallions, greens only, cut into 2 inch pieces on the diagonal
- Combine sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, white pepper and sugar in a mixing bowl.
- Add chicken wings to the sauce and marinate for 30 minutes.
- Heat canola oil in a skillet over medium heat. With tongs, remove wings from marinade and place into heated pan. Allow to brown for a few minutes on each side.
- When wings are browned, add 1 1/4 cups water and the marinade, bring to a simmer, and then lower heat and cover skillet. Stir occasionally so that the chicken skin remains intact. Cook for a minimum of 20 minutes, until the chicken starts to fall off the bone. When half of the sauce has reduced, turn off heat, add scallions and allow them to wilt.
- Serve hot, over steamed white rice, with a side of stir-fried greens. Drizzle sauce over wings and rice. Also great cold for a picnic.