Saturday, December 27, 2008

Chicken with Gai Lan

I have been reading Barbara Fisher's blog Tigers and Strawberries for a long while now, a big shout out to her, and have wanted to make some of her recipes she's posted, this is the first that I have got to, and I must say that it worked out really well, and even better the second time, as I completely forgot to put in the fermented black soybeans in the first time, despite buying a container of them especially for the recipe; the black bean taste gives it a great flavour. We were even thinking of making this for our Christmas dinner with our relatives. The Shao Hsing wine gives it an interesting flavour too. Gai Lan is also known as Chinese broccoli. Light soy sauce can be found in most Chinese supermarkets, though you have to search for it; the Shao Hsing wine and fermented black soybeans (look for preserved soybeans, usually in salt) are easier to find. I've posted her recipe here, though I have made some changes to the directions, that make it more understandable to me.

Chicken with Gai Lan
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast or chicken thighs cut into thin 1″x1/2″ slices
1 tablespoon Shao Hsing wine or sherry
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons canola or peanut oil
1-1/2 cups thinly sliced onions
1 tablespoon fermented black soybeans
1-1/2" cube fresh ginger, peeled and minced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon Shao Hsing wine or sherry
1 large carrot, peeled and thinly sliced into diagonal, oval-shaped slices (about 1/8″ thick)
1 pound gai lan, bottoms of stems trimmed and thick stems sliced thinly on the diagonal, thin stems and leaves cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup chicken broth or stock
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Toss chicken meat with the first measures of wine or sherry and soy sauce. Sprinkle with cornstarch, then toss with your hands to coat the
chicken pieces thoroughly.

Heat wok until a thin ribbon of smoke coils up from the hot metal. Add oil, and allow to heat for about another thirty seconds. If using a heavy-bottomed pan, heat oil in pan on medium-high heat until hot, then reduce heat slightly. Add onions, and cook, stirring, until they turn golden and translucent. Add soybeans and ginger, and keep stirring for thirty seconds. Move the onion to the edges of the wok or pan to make room for the chicken. Add chicken, and spead out over the bottom of the wok in a single layer. Sprinkle the garlic on top of the chicken and allow the chicken to cook undisturbed for a minute or until the meat browns well on the side touching the wok. Start stirring and cook until most of the pink is gone. Add soy sauce and wine and cook, stirring for thirty more seconds.

Add carrots and thick stem slices of gai lan and cook, stirring until the chicken has no pink showing and the vegetables are tender, about one minute. Add the broth or stock and the thin stem and leaf pieces of gai lan, and cook, stirring, until the gail lan leaves wilt, and the sauce reduces to a nice, thick brown glaze, about another minute.

Remove from heat and drizzle with sesame oil and serve immediately with steamed rice.

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