3 tbsp. vegetable oil
8 skinless bone-in chicken thighs (about 2.5 lbs)
1 tsp. salt, additional for seasoning
15 cloves of garlic, smashed and peeled (You should be able to get 15 cloves out of 1 bulb. Not knowing this, I made the mistake of buying 15 BULBS! I guess I'll be set for a while.) ;)
2 bay leaves
2 cups water
3/4 cup distilled white vinegar
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. crushed pepper
1 tbsp. cornstarch mixed with 1 tbsp cold water
Hot cooked rice, for serving (optional)
* Tip from the author: Rather than chopping, breeze through 15 cloves of garlic in no time by smashing them with the flat side of your knife.
1) Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil. Pat chicken dry and season with some salt to taste. Add the chicken smooth side down and cook until brown, about 4 minutes. Scatter the garlic and bay leaves around the chicken, then add the water, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, black pepper and red pepper. Bring the liquid to a boil; adjust heat to maintain a simmer. Cook, uncovered, turning the chicken occasionally, until tender, about 25 minutes.