Tales of Spain: In which some sexy legs are revealed


Chicken and Scallion RisottoBilbao is home to some of the best food I have ever eaten in my life (I have yet to be disappointed here– something that I cannot apply to all the cities I’ve been to).  But sometimes I crave something a little more . . .  homey.

So when my roommate, P, and I were wandering around one Sunday looking for food like idiot Americans who didn’t know better (see the previous entry to note that no self-respecting Spanish shop would be open on, God-forbid, a Sunday), we discovered a shop with, gasp, ASIAN FOOD.  Specifically?  Soy sauce, oyster sauce, Sriracha, and . . . instant noodles.

P was in heaven.  She immediately bought two packages of Shin Ramyun.  Sadly, it came out to be almost US $4.00.  Eek.  I am not such a huge ramen eater, so I opted for a huge bottle of Soy Sauce (from Taiwan, too!  Woot!).  And with soy sauce, I can make my mother’s fabulous braised chicken legs!

I also made a very simple risotto to go with the chicken.  Lucky you!  Both recipes are below.

Chicken and Scallion Risotto - focus on the risotto

Soy Sauce Braised Chicken Legs


  • chicken legs (I used two, but this number really just varies on the size of pot you have to work with, as well as how many people you are feeding)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3-4 thin slices of ginger
  • water


  1. Wash the chicken legs, then place them in a heavy bottomed pot.  Turn the heat on high.
  2. Add the soy sauce and sugar (you can play with the ratio to get a taste you prefer– saltier, sweeter, milder, etc.; sometimes people add rice wine at this point, too, but I prefer not to).
  3. Fill the pot with water until the chicken is completely covered.  Add the ginger.
  4. Allow the liquid to come to a rolling boil.  Allow it to boil, uncovered, for five minutes, and then turn the heat down and allow the liquid to come down to a softer boil (somewhat higher than a simmer).
  5. After approximately half an hour, turn the heat to medium low and allow the chicken to simmer, partially covered, for a few hours, until the liquid has reduced to a relatively thick sauce (think gravy visocity).  That sauce is delicious over rice, with bread, etc.  I could just drink it by itself . . . YUM.
  6. Serve, hot!


Scallion Risotto

So I had only really made risotto once before, and this is actually not “real,” Italianstyle risotto.  Rather, it’s my take on it.  Hey, I can have license to create what I want, right?  Besides, I don’t have access to everything quite yet– I’m still slowly assembling my kitchen here.  Too bad apartments don’t come with fully stocked kitchens!  And nice pots/pans (ours stick to pretty much . . . everything.  Yechh…).

Remember, it’s not difficult to make risotto– the steps are fairly straightforward– the problem with risotto is that it takes time (you have to constantly stand over it and stir it).  But once you’ve done it once, it’s no big deal to do it again and again.  And the results are delicious, so you will definitely want to keep making this over and over!


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup of large, starchy rice (not Jasmine, although it does not need to be Arborio)
  • 1 pat of butter
  • 2 stalks of scallions, sliced in small pieces
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 cups (or more) of water


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan, and then add the rice, uncooked and unwashed (risotto needs to be starchy, and washing rice will just wash away much of the starch you want).  Stir with a wooden spoon (or wooden spatula, which is what I used) consistently and constantly until the rice becomes rather translucent.
  2. Add the butter, then the scallions.
  3. Continue stirring.
  4. Add the first cup of water, as well as the tbsp of soy sauce (water first, then the soy sauce!), and keep stirring.  From now on, no more soy sauce.  The risotto can be seasoned with salt and pepper later, to taste.
  5. Once almost all the water has been absorbed into the rice, add the second cup.  Continue stirring.
  6. Repeat.  Taste the risotto periodically to see if you’ve reached that nice, al dente texture that is idealized in risotto (read: soft but not too fall-apart mushy).
  7. The amount of water to be added will vary depending on the type of rice being used.  Use my recipe as guidelines, and then move on to developing your own version!
  8. Serve with the chicken!

3 Responses to “Tales of Spain: In which some sexy legs are revealed”

  1. That’s a nice simple version of soy sauce chicken it must be good 🙂 I like to make it but I make that “Lo Shui” type braise, like same thing except I use a whole chicken, rock sugar, soy sauce and some dark soy sauce (for more color I guess) and I like to add cinnamon stick, cloves, star anise, orange peel, and sichuan peppercorn in addition to the ginger (sometimes garlic and onion which is totally unecessary but I like that too). Then remove chicken, cut it, and strain the sauce.

    You can pour some sauce over the chicken, so good with rice, and just a simple vegetable side.

    You can actually freeze the leftover sauce and use it to braise another chicken, or braise eggs in it, etc. whatever. Like I like to add hard boiled eggs to stretch out the dish sometimes.

  2. just star anise is good too or cinnamon, star anise, and clove.

    or heck if u don’t wanna buy the whole spices some five spice powder.

    It works with any meat.

    (except that when I do pork, I like to melt the sugar in the oil, add the pork belly’s cut in pieces with the whole spices, the ginger, dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, then water, more sugar to taste etc. )

  1. 1 In which Jeanne stops studying and makes risotto « Pineapple Bread

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