I’ve always preferred Asian cuisines. It’s herbs and spices are always enticing to my nose and taste buds. To me, the more pungent the flavour the better the dish. My mother, on the other hand, loves testing my tolerance level when it comes to herbs. She’ll increase the dosage each time she cooks. These days when she gets busy in the kitchen (to boil me some soup), she would tell me that her kitchen stinks and that it is larger due to me.
So today I decided to put together some simple dishes for the mother, the husband and my visiting grandmother. Since I’m the cook, I get to decide what we would be having for dinner 🙂
I think I have pre-planned a great dinner menu. Reason being, it’s been raining the entire day! Something herby with some sauce would be perfect.
I have in my cook bag the following dishes:
1. Spinach with my sauce mixture
2. Emperor’s Chicken
3. Onion eggs
4. Sunny side-up (only for me)
5. Steam rice
6. Mum’s chili
I’m used to washing my meat with cold water and salt for two purposes: flavouring and in my view, to eliminate bacteria (thought I read that it doesn’t work this way and this step is not needed).
Once that’s done, massage the chicken with the typical chinese seasoning. We’re looking at sesame sauce, oyster sauce, hua tiao jiu, light soya sauce and a dash of pepper. I think that most home-cooked chinese cuisine always follow the standard use of sauces. Anyhows, I game the chicken a one-hell-of-a-good-massage while chatting with the family this morning and once that’s done, put it right into the fridge for about two hours or more (if time permits) 🙂
Top left: Dang Shen
Bottom left: Yu Zhu
Top right: Huai Shan
Bottom right: Gan Cao
Top left: Hong Zao
Bottom Left: Chuan Xiong & Dang Gui
Right: Qi Zi (Chinese wolfberries)
While waiting for the chicken to absorb the flavours, rinse the herbs and soak in luke warm water for about 15 minutes. According to my mother, it’s to ensure that the herb flavours are ‘activated’.
Once that’s done, give the chicken a few slits around it’s body followed by a good massage for the second time! Go crazy and rub the herbs with love. Stuff the garlic and some of the herbs into the chicken. Once satisfied, put it back into the fridge for another two hours or more.
Wrap the chicken with cling wrap and foil and toss it into the steamer for a good 90 minutes over slow fire.
And dear friends, here’s the final product.
A mental note to self: To include more water to the chicken dish before steaming in future.
Chinese Herbs – $9.50
1.2kg Whole Chicken – $8
2 Bundle of Spinach -$4
Total: $21.50 for 4 persons