Chicharo, those sweet crunchy peas in a pod, happens to be my 14-year-old daughter’s favorite non-leafy vegetable the top favorite leafy vegetables among my kids are cabbage and kangkong (water or swamp spinach). The legume chicharo is known as snow peas in some countries, and snap peas in others. Some say that snow peas and snap peas are two different varieties of peas. Sitsaro or chicharo come in different sizes. When you buy some, choose the smallest pods they are crunchier and sweeter. They are easier to prepare too. No need to cut them into smaller pieces. You just snap off both ends and pull off the fibrous threads that run along the edges and they’re ready to cook.
If I’m not mistaken, there is an older recipe in my archives that is very similar to this one. There is a big difference in the way I cooked this chicken and vegetables stir fry, however. I only stir-fried the vegetables, not the chicken. I grilled the chicken pieces in the convection oven (works the way a turbo broiler does) and I tossed them with the rest of the ingredients after the vegetables had been stir-fried.
I can pretend to be health conscious and say that I chose to grill the chicken to cut down on the fat but I won’t. I was doing some serious writing and I didn’t want to stay in front of the stove while the chicken cooked. That’s what would have happened had I decided to fry them. Grilling them instead meant I could leave them and I’d have about 20 minutes of free time. The chicken turned out better for the grilling. Because they didn’t touch the sauce until the last minute, they didn’t get soggy.
I used four drumstick-thigh-back pieces of chicken, a total weight of approximately 400 grams. You can choose any part of the chicken, of course, although I won’t recommend the breast which will most probably dry up during the grilling process. Wings would be good although they aren’t too meaty. If you have a pack of chicken thighs, they would be ideal.
Cook the quail eggs in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain. When cool enough to handle, shell them. If you are in a hurry, place them in cold water after draining to speed up the cooling process. Crush and finely chop the garlic. Peel and cut the onions into wedges. Wash and trim the chicharo. Cut the chicken through the bones into smaller pieces. To give you an idea about the size, a regular-sized chicken thigh can be chopped into three pieces. That should be a rough guide about how big (or small) they should be.
Place the chicken pieces in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Let rest for about 10 minutes. Arrange them on a baking tray, side by side, skin side up. Grill in a pre-heated 190oC convection oven (or turbo broiler) for 15 to 20 minutes. How long you need to grill them depends on the size of your chicken pieces. 15 minutes would be the minimum so take a peek and check if they are nicely browned. That’s what you want to get them nicely browned. When they are done, turn off the oven and open the door partially. Leave the chicken inside so they stay warm.
Heat the cooking oil in a wok (or frying pan). Stir fry the chicharo and onion wedges together for about 30 seconds. Add the garlic and stir fry for another 15 seconds. Add the quail eggs, soy sauce, oyster sauce and sugar. Stir a few times. Pour in the starch solution and cook, stirring, until the sauce is clear and thick. Turn off the heat.