Three-Cup Chicken 三杯雞

This is a simple Taiwanese dish.  It is a folk recipe that calls for one cup each of sesame oil, soy sauce and rice wine but its name is a bit misleading because in reality you don’t actually cook it that way.  It is my favorite chicken dish in Taiwan.  Its sauce is incredibly aromatic and goes really well with rice.

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Ingredients:

1/8 to 1/4 cup sesame oil *
1/4 cup rice wine
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 Tbsp sugar
2 lbs chicken – thighs and wings, cut into pieces
One inch piece of fresh ginger, thinly sliced into rounds
12 medium garlic cloves, peeled
1 – 2 fresh red chilis, seeds removed and cut into halves
1 bunch of Thai basil leaves (optional)

* I modified the original recipe to use less than 1/4 cup sesame oil and discovered that it didn’t compromise too much on the taste.

Method:

  1. Heat the sesame oil in a frying pan. Add ginger, garlic and chili and stir fry until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  2. Add the chicken to the pan and stir fry for about 5 mins until they are cooked.
  3. Add rice wine, soy sauce and sugar and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to cook the chicken thoroughly.  Add in Thai basil leaves and serve with rice.

 

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Chicken in Tofu Cheese

Tofu Cheese? It’s fermented tofu (腐乳 or “fu yu” in Cantonese), sold in little glass bottles in Asian grocery stores. It’s a form of preserved tofu, made from soybeans. The other ingredients on the bottle list salt, rice wine and sesame oil. There’s a regular version and a spicy version which has bits of chili in the brine.

Tofu cheese is commonly used as a condiment for porridge or to stir fry kangkong vegetables (空心菜 “kong xin cai”, water convolvulus) but it makes a delicious savory marinade for chicken.  It is unbelievably easy – just be sure to marinate the chicken with it long enough, so that the flavor gets into the meat.  Deep fried chicken wings marinated with tofu cheese are incredibly tasty too!

Chicken in Tofu Cheese
I don’t deep-fry (too lazy to clean!), so here’s the healthy pan-fried version. I used the regular version of Tofu Cheese. I realized the chicken came out a bit pale in the photo – I should have fried it a bit longer to give it a more golden color.

Ingredients:

Fermentedchilibeancurd
Tofu Cheese

2-3 cubes of Tofu Cheese (regular or spicy), mashed into a paste, using a fork
1 teaspoon of the brine from the Tofu Cheese bottle
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
2-3 pieces whole chicken legs
dash of salt (optional – Tofu Cheese is naturally salty)
1/2 teaspoon shrimp paste (“belacan”) – optional

2-3 shallots, peeled and chopped, for frying
3 tablespoon cooking oil

1 stalk of spring onion, washed and cut into 1 inch pieces (for garnish)

Method:

1. Cut the chicken legs into smaller pieces, rinse and pat dry with a paper towel.

2. Mix the marinade ingredients in a bowl.  Using your fingers or the back of a spoon, thoroughly coat the chicken pieces with the marinade and let sit it for a few hours, preferably overnight, in the fridge.

3. Heat the cooking oil in a frying pan. Fry the shallots for 1-2 minutes, then add in the chicken and stir fry until golden brown.

4. Dish up the chicken and garnish with spring onion. It goes really well with steam rice and vegetables.

(Tofu Cheese on spoon, photo credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fermentedchilibeancurd.jpg)

Grandma’s Chicken Soup

This chicken soup will make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. As the soup simmers, a rich, mouth-watering aroma wafts through the air, teasing and testing your patience against the clock. Imagine supple chunks of chicken, flavorful red wolfberries (attractive and also nourishing to your body!), and black shiitake mushrooms in a clear golden broth.

Whenever the whole extended family gets together to celebrate festive occasions like Dragon Boat Festival or Winter Festival, my mother-in-law will prepare this soup with a whole chicken; a very big pot for 10-12 people! For the kids and I, Grandma’s Famous Chicken Soup is no ordinary soup but is synonymous with feeling of the love and warmth of family reunion. Here’s how to cook the delicious broth in a small kitchen using 3 big chicken thighs (with attached drumsticks).

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Ingredients:

3  chicken thighs with drumsticks

2 – 3 pieces dried scallops (soaked overnight)

2 pieces of dried shiitake mushrooms (soaked overnight)

1 small piece of pork, about 30 grams, cut into smaller chunks

a handful of wolfberries (washed and drained)

10 cups of water

2 stalks of spring onion

1 small piece of fresh ginger, about the size of a quarter (25 cents coin)

 salt to taste

Method:

1.  Wash and soak the dried shiitake mushrooms overnight.   Throw away the water in which you soaked the mushrooms. Cut the mushrooms into small cubes.

2.  Wash and soak the dried scallops overnight in a cup of water.   Keep the water in which the dried scallops are soaked, it can be added to the soup.

3.   Remove the chicken skin by peeling it back over the drumstick and pulling it out at the leg bone part.  Wash and put the chicken pieces aside.

4.  Cover the pork in a bit of water and parboil it for a few minutes to get rid of the blood and scum.  Throw away the water.

5.  Put the chicken pieces into the pot with the pork.  Add all the other ingredients, 10 cups of fresh water and the water in which you soaked the dried scallops.  Cook over medium high heat for half an hour or until it becomes a rolling boil.   Reduce the heat and boil for another 1 hour.

6.  If necessary, add in 1 – 2 more cups of water towards the last half hour of the cooking period if you noticed that too much water had evaporated.

Hint:

If you had forgotten to soak the dried shiitake mushrooms or the dried scallops the night before, you can soak them in hot water (separately) at least 2 hours before cooking and it would be almost as good. Enjoy! 🙂