Saturday, April 7, 2012

Swiss Sauce Chicken Drumsticks


For clarification, Swiss sauce has nothing to do with Switzerland. It is a kind of sweet soy sauce marinade originated from Guang Zhou in China. So how did the name came about? According to urban legend, a westerner came across a dish at a local restuarant (sweet soy sauce chicken wings), and asked the waiter what it is. The waiter told him that it's "sweet wings". The foreigner misinterpreted "sweet" as "Swiss". Since then, people have been referring to this sweet soy sauce as Swiss sauce. 

It doesn't say Swiss Sauce in English on the label,
but this is the Swiss sauce sold in
Chinese supermarkets.
Although this sauce is widely available in major Chinese supermarkets, it is so easy to make from scratch that I never saw a point in buying it. Swiss sauce is basically 1-2-3-4-5: 1 part dark rice wine, 2 parts sugar, 3 parts black rice vinegar, 4 parts soy sauce, and 5 parts water. Most people would make this recipe with chicken wings, but I wanted to try something new so I did mine with drumsticks instead. 

How to Make Swiss Sauce Chicken Drumsticks

Main ingredients - black rice vinegar (may replace with balsamic vinegar), dark rice wine (may replace with white wine), soy sauce, and chicken drumsticks with skin on. 


In a bowl, mix dark rice wine, sugar, black rice vinegar, soy sauce, and water. This will be the Swiss sauce for simmering the chicken. 

Heat a deep skillet with vegetable oil. Place drumsticks with front side down and pan-fry for 10-15 minutes on medium-low heat, or until golden. Flip the drumsticks to the other side and pan-fry for 10 minutes. 



Pour in the Swiss sauce and bring it to a boil with high heat. Turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 20 minutes on one side, and another 20 minutes on the other side. Close the lid during simmering. 



Turn to high heat and let the Swiss sauce reduce. The high sugar content in the sauce will caramelize rapidly under high heat, so it's important to stir the drumsticks occasionally to avoid burning. Turn each drumstick and make sure every single side is saturated with the sauce. Repeat the stirring and turning action until the sauce becomes bubbly and sticky. Turn off the heat and the dish is done. If you are not confident with using high heat for sauce reduction, you may use medium heat. It will take longer but you will have more control over the caramelization. 


These chicken drumsticks are sweet and salty with a hint of rice wine. The sauce is very sticky, so prepare to get your hands dirty!


Ingredients: 

1 tbs dark rice wine (may use white wine)
2 tbs sugar
3 tbs black rice vinegar (may use balsamic vinegar)
4 tbs soy sauce
5 tbs water
6 chicken drumsticks
1 tbs vegetable oil

Directions:

1. In a bowl, mix dark rice wine, sugar, black rice vinegar, soy sauce, and water. This will be the Swiss sauce.

2. Heat a deep skillet with vegetable oil. Place drumsticks with front side down and pan-fry for 10-15 minutes on medium-low heat, or until golden. Flip the drumsticks to the other side and pan-fry for 10 minutes. 

3. Pour in the Swiss sauce and bring it to a boil with high heat. Turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 20 minutes on one side, and another 20 minutes on the other side. Close the lid during simmering. 

4. Turn to high heat and let the Swiss sauce reduce. Stir the drumsticks occasionally to avoid burning. Turn each drumstick and make sure every single side is saturated with the sauce. Repeat the stirring and turning action until the sauce becomes bubbly and sticky. Turn off the heat and the dish is done.

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