I know this is a food blog, but since is my blog, so I am pretty sure I can write whatever I want. So today, I am going to talk about being gay in this modern society. Recently, I was back in Toowoomba, the little town I lived in when I first arrived in Australia to study twenty years ago. I was actually invited by my old uni, University of Southern Queensland to be a guest speaker for the Bookcase writers’ festival. It was fascinating to see how much Toowoomba has changed, the downtown itself has grown and developed beyond recognisable. But at the same time the town is still stuck in a time warp in many aspects. Toowoomba is still very homophobic, for instance. I wasn’t at all surprised to be honest. Not that I will go and scream gay openly in public, but I’ve been told best to stay low and keep myself out of trouble.
Flash back to twenty years ago, I used to join the guitar class at the uni when I was still a student. One day, my guitar teacher Marilyn asked me to stay back after lesson so we could chat. Well, I don’t know how she picked up the gaydar from, then she told me, “Well, I am not sure you heard of this group at the uni called PLUS, which means People Like US. It is a social group for gay and lesbian uni students. Since Toowoomba is a small town and many of the gay students are still in the closet, so it is very difficult for them to actually run the group as they don’t want to be recognised by the locals. So Billy, since I know you are from overseas and no one knows who you are in this town, would you like to be the president of PLUS?”
“Err… ok.” I agreed to it.
And the rest was history.
To be honest, it saddens me to think that some of us still have to live discreetly and in fear in these modern days. I do hope the society will gradually be more tolerant, more accepting and less discrimination in the future.
End rant. Let’s have some fried chicken!
These sweet, salty and spicy chicken wings are actually finger-licking good. The chicken is marinated in garlic, fish sauce and chill – the holy trinity of Thai flavours. These wings are also make great party food, especially when washed down with a cold beer (keep it Thai and go with Singha beer).
- 1 kg chicken wings
- vegetable oil, for frying
- 8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 265 g (11/2 cups) rice flour
- 60 g (1/2 cup) tempura batter mix (optional) (see note)
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha hot chili sauce
- handful roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
- handful coriander leaves, to garnish
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) fish sauce
- 115 g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
- 1 large red chilli, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- First, to prepare the wings. Cut off the wing tips, and discard, or they can be saved to make stock for other dishes. Then cut the wings in half, into the drumette and mid-joint wing. Rinse and pat dry. Put chicken in a large bowl.
- To make the marinade, mix ingredients together in a small bowl. Pour half cup of the marinade over the chicken. Rub marinade into chicken well. Reserve the remaining marinade in the refrigerator for later use. Cover chicken with plastic wrap and transfer to refrigerator, let it marinate for at least 4 hours, ideally overnight. Stir the chicken every hour or so.
- Heat about 2.5 cm of oil in a small saucepan over a medium heat, fry garlic until golden, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low if the garlic browns too quickly. Drain fried garlic on paper towel and set aside.
- Remove wings from marinade and place on wire rack over a tray to drain off excess liquid.
- Mix rice flour and tempura mix in a large bowl. In batches, toss wings in flour mixture until coated evenly, pat wings to remove excess flour and place them on a clean tray ready for frying.
- Use a deep fryer if you have one. If not, fill a wok or large deep saucepan with vegetable oil about a third full and bring the oil temperature up to 180C over a medium heat. In batches, fry wings for 10-12 minutes, turning occasionally until evenly golden browned and cooked inside. Transfer to a wire rack over a tray to catch the excess oil.
- Meanwhile, heat 125 ml (1/2 cup) water, Sriracha hot sauce and the reserved marinade in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil over medium-high heat. Simmer until the sauce has reduced by half and is thick in consistency, about 10 minutes.
- Place wings in a large bowl and drizzle the thick sauce all over, toss to coat wings evenly. Sprinkle fried garlic and toss to mix. Sprinkle roasted peanuts on top and garnish with coriander.
- You can find tempura batter mix at major supermarkets or any Asian grocers. The tempura batter makes the chicken wings extra crunchy.
This recipe is from ManFood cookbook. Order here.