Disclaimer: This is not a food blog. I am in no way fit to offer cooking advice, nor should you accept any if offered.
Contender: Coca Cola chicken wings, and fried egg with tofu.
Level of Difficulty: Non-existent.
In an effort to learn how to cook Chinese food, I’ve decided to try a recipe every so often from a cookbook given to me by a friend for my birthday. Even though the cookbook is completely in Chinese, I’ve decided to go ahead anyway and of course, share my damage reports along the way. This time, it’s an already-been tested recipe for coca cola chicken wings, and a new recipe with fried egg and tofu.
Step One: Materials
“So, I have a confession,” my friend said. I had invited her to my apartment to cook food, and had noticed that she was bringing milk tea, which she knew was my favorite drink, along with…
“Is that sushi?” I asked.
“Yeah. See, I actually am really bad at cooking and so thought it would be a good idea to bring some…just in case.”
I had no complaints.
We drank our milk tea and ate the sushi while plotting our next move. I explained the star-ratings, and we both agreed that we should stick with single-star recipes.
“But we also want something delicious,” she conceded, which became more and more difficult with each bland and easy recipe we saw. Then I remembered something stupidly easy I’d already made: coca cola chicken wings.
“Seriously. If I can make it, you definitely can,” I said.
She found a recipe that called for fried egg and tofu, we went to the corner market to grab our ingredients, and then returned to get started.
Step Two: Preparation
Here’s how stupidly easy coca cola chicken wings are: boil water, stick frozen chicken wings in, and then when they’re cooked, pour out water, replace it with coca cola and some soy sauce (the kind for meat, not the kind for vegetables) and poke poke until it’s more or less congealed or evaporated or something like that. Basically no prep whatsoever, aside from opening the coca cola can.
My friend, who insisted on making the tofu and fried egg, had more prep in store for her. She had to chop up the tofu, and then crack open the eggs and then chop some carrots “because they look pretty.”
All things considered, though, that’s pretty painless.
Step Three: The Cooking
I cooked my dish first, which involved, as previously mentioned, a series of heating up liquids and poking the chicken. As I was poking the congealed combination of coca cola and soy sauce, it was this alarming color of dark sludge-brown, which I chose to ignore and pretend was normal. In fact, I had forgotten what had happened the last time I had made this, but assumed that it was fine, since I had decided to make it again. Every so often, I would add a little bit of salt, which I’d read online was good to counteract the assault of sugar from the coca cola.
My friend poked her head in. “Wow, smells so good!”
“Does it? Well, that’s good.”
Poke poke…and then I sifted out the chicken from the sauce and put it on a plate.
“If someone were to look at this, they might not know it was meat,” my friend said with a laugh. “But I’m sure it will taste fine.”
Then she gave me a pitiful look before taking her tofu and egg combo into the kitchen. I’d washed the pan, and from what I could tell, all she had to do was fry everything together. She gingerly added some soy sauce to the very-white dish in the pan in tiny increments. And then she took it out and put it on the table.
It was time to own up to our creations.
Step Four: Collateral Damage
“Mmm!” she said, eating the chicken. I thought she was flattering me, but took a bite and was pleased. Sweet and salty, and a little saucy, too. To anyone reading this: you should make this dish. It is stupidly easy to make, and delicious, too.
Then we tried the tofu.
“It just…it needs something, but I don’t know what,” my friend said. She put her chopsticks down. “It was a good thing I brought the sushi.”
Step Five: Clean-up
“You’re not really going to save that, are you?” my friend asked as I picked up the tofu dish and put it in the fridge. “You really shouldn’t. I know Americans don’t like to waste food but…are you really going to save this?”
I really was.
“Oh, Hannah,” she said. “I am such a bad cook!”
I told her that it was the recipe’s fault, which to be fair, she had followed exactly.
I decided I could find a use for it.
Of course, the next day, when I tried to add that “something” that my friend said was missing, I ended up with nothing more than a weird distraction from the noodles I’d try coupling it with. In the end, it was the trash can that enjoyed it the most.
Result: Good, if it tastes like chicken.
The Winner: I call it a draw.