I’ve always been fascinated by recipes that use coca cola. There’s something a little naughty about cooking with a drink my mother wouldn’t let me drink as a child. Maybe it’s also the fact that it’s such an artificial but addictive flavour that makes it seem just a little edgy. A glass of orange juice may be just as sweet but wouldn’t seem half as wild.
To be honest, I don’t often drink cola and when I do I usually have the diet versions, but for cooking you need the sugar that’s in the real thing. I have no idea what it would be like made with Diet Coke but I’m not going to risk spoiling a meal by having a go. If you do, please tell me.
In essence, this is a Chinese style dish with a sweet and sticky sauce like so many Chinese dishes have. The only difference is where the sweet and sticky sauce comes from. The dish doesn’t actually taste of cola but it does give a rich flavour to the sauce. It is sweet, but not too sweet luckily as I’m not a fan of sweet savoury dishes, which makes me question why I wanted to cook with cola in the first place. It must be that rebellious streak in me.
I’ve read a lot of cola recipes online over the last few years but this was the first one that I read and then went out and bought a can of coke just so I could make it. I found it on Milk and Honey and not only did it sound fantastic, the pictures were amazing too. I’ve adapted it a little by adding more vegetables, more coriander and a little less soy sauce so please do have a look at the original recipe too.
Ingredients – Serves 2
300g chicken, cut into thin slices
1 tbsp cornflour
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 birds eye chilli, sliced
1 thumb-sized knob of ginger, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 can Coca Cola
Large handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped
Handful of cashew nuts
About 300g vegetables – I used sugar snap peas and baby corn
1 tsp cornflour mixed with 1 tbsp water
How to Make Coca Cola Chilli Chicken
1. Put the chicken, cornflour and soy sauce in a bowl. Stir well and put in the refrigerator for at least an hour before you make the rest of the dish.
2. Put a little oil in a pan and add the chilli, ginger and garlic. Fry them for about a minute and then add the chicken.
3. Keep stirring the chicken so it doesn’t stick and when it is beginning to brown, add the cola. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 10 minutes.
4. While the chicken is simmering. Heat a dry frying pan and dry fry the cashews. Keep shaking the pan so they turn over and don’t burn.
5. Add the vegetables and most of the coriander to the pan with the chicken and continue to simmer for about 3 minutes.
6. Add the cornflour and water mixture and stir to thicken the sauce.
7. Serve with rice and top with the cashew nuts and the extra coriander leaf.