Friday, 18 June 2010

Chicken with oyster sauce

I’m getting tired of people ragging on my phone camera, so i’m trying out a different tact. Please tell me if this suits or not. Personally, it doesn’t suit me, as i spent almost two hours and developed accute RSI on the above picture, and using my trackpad for anything remotely intricate is a little like herding a blue whale with an eyelash.

Here is a sturdy recipe from my chinese back catalogue. It’s relatively simple, incredibly edible and will show off some interesting technique you don’t really find in oher cuisines. J'adore real chinese food, as opposed to the shit that often gets passed for chinese food in our takeaways and all-you-can-eats, and defy anyone who tells me the pork scratching with strawberry jam dishes can even be mentioned in the same breath as this.

Some of the ingredients here might make you feel like you don’t want to make it. Perhaps you feel like buying a bottle of oyster sauce just for one recipe is madness, or ten pounds for shaosing wine is an outrageous price to pay. But these ingredients are the building blocks to a cuisine. with them, you can make endless other dishes. Essentially what i’m saying is that they’re an investment, like gold bullion, except you can eat them, and you can’t eat gold. Unless you’e this man.

You’ll need…


tablespoon of oyster sauce

tablespoon of sesame oil

tablespoon of light soy sauce

tablespoon of shaosing wine/dry sherry/omit because you’re cheap/recovering alchaholic


the rest:

chicken thigh, boned and sliced thin

spring onions

half a thumb sized piece of ginger

garlic clove

a pepper

1 bok choi/pak choi


half a cup of chicken stock with a teaspoon of cornflour stirred in

1 tablespoon oyster sauce

We need to start with the marinade, but a marinade with a difference, in that it’s really velveting the chicken. This just means it’s marinating with cornflour, which gives the cooked meat a soft, velvety texture and helps the seasoning stick to the meat. To velvet, add the chicken and marinade ingredients to the bowl with enough cornflour to thicken the liquid ingredients into a paste. Set aside in the fridge while you continue prep. It should be in there for half an hour or so.

Thinly slice the spring onions, the garlic and ginger and cut the peppers how you like. Wash the pak/bok choi and seperate the leaves.

To cook, we need to get the pan really hot. All your previous attempts at chinese food were failures because (1) you don’t cook at a high enough heat and (2) you don’t follow my recipes. So get a solid frying pan or wok and let it heat until the metal starts to smoke. Open your kitchen window. Add sunflour oil and when it starts to shimmer, just on the brink of smoking, add your meat to the pan. Shimmy it around a bit and allow it to form a nice little crust, then take out the chicken and set aside on a plate. Into the same pan, add the spring onion, ginger and garlic and swizzle it around until the garlic starts to colour a little, then add the peppers. Push that around, add the stock and turn the heat down to medium. Add the chicken back in, the oyster sauce and finally the pak/bok choi, and allow to bubble for a short time or until the sauce reaches the thickness you desire.

Serve it over rice, or better, cooked noodles you’ve allowed to cool and then deep fried; a bit like this. Or just phone a takeaway and don’t bother you lazy prick.

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