It was from my mother-in-law that I first learned about Chicken 1-2-3 but I didn’t know at the time that it was a Filipino dish. Later on, I would find several versions of the recipe in various cookbooks by Filipino authors.
In The Philippine Cookbook by Virgina Roces de Guzman and Nina Daza Puyat, the dish is called Ely’s 1-2-3 Chicken. The contributor is one Eligio Teehankee so I suppose he is Ely.
I’ve cooked this dish countless times using different parts and cuts of chicken. I’ve used drumsticks, wings and even thigh fillets. While any part of the chicken can be used, I’m going back to my original preference. Chicken drumettes. They’re just the right size and the thickness of the meat is ideal.
Rice vinegar, subtly sweet and much less acidic than other vinegars, was used in this recipe. As a result, there is no sharp mouth feel often associated with vinegar.
We’re a family of four and a kilogram of chicken is just enough for a meal (with rice, of course). Multiply the ingredients in the recipe if you intend to cook for more people.
- 1 kilogram chicken drumettes - about 12 to 16 pieces
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 two-inch piece ginger - peeled and grated
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons rice wine - I used mirin
- 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 6 tablespoons soy sauce
- sliced scallions - to garnish
- Wipe the chicken drumettes with paper towels.
- Heat the cooking oil in a frying pan.
- Lay the chicken drumettes in the hot oil in a single layer.
- Cook the chicken over high heat until the skins are browned.
- Give the chicken drumettes quarter turns to brown the all sides evenly.
- Turn down the heat to medium.
- In a small bowl, stir together the grated ginger, sugar, rice wine, vinegar and soy sauce, and pour over the chicken in the pan.
- Braise the chicken in the sauce, uncovered and turning them over every few minutes, until the sauce is thick and reduced to about three tablespoonfuls.
- Scoop out the chicken fillets and transfer to a shallow serving bowl.
- Spoon the remaining sauce over the chicken.
- Sprinkle in the scallions, and serve.