Thursday, September 23, 2010

Poached White Chicken and Sweet and Sour Fish

I went to my collection of Chinese cook books to come up with a new chicken dish for tonight.  As is my practice often, I am kind of combining two recipes to make one dish.  The simplicity of this chicken highlights the quality and flavor of the chicken.  So choose a good one!


Poached Chicken 
1 small organic chicken, preferably about 3 lbs
4 scallions
4 thick slices of ginger, smashed
1/4 cup rice wine
1 1/2 tbsp salt


Rinse and clean the chicken and trim off any excess fat from the cavity opening.  In a braising pot, bring enough water to cover the chicken to a boil, about 8 cups.  Carefully place chicken in the pot, breast side up.  Add the scallions, ginger, wine and salt and return to a boil.  Simmer the chicken, covered, for 20 minutes.  Turn off the heat and let the chicken cool in the pot for 3-4 hours, without lifting the lid.  This way of cooking the chicken results in very moist and tender meat.


About 30 minutes before you are ready to serve, remove and drain the chicken.  Remove scallions and ginger from the cooking liquid and use the liquid to make a side of rice. 
For the rice:
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp ginger, minced
Saute ginger and garlic in a little oil until fragrant.  If you are cooking your rice on the stove, add rice and water to the pot.  Use a ratio of 1 cup rice to 2 cups liquid.  If you have a rice cooker, add the ginger and garlic to the rice cooker, and stir together with the rice and cooking liquid from chicken. 


While rice is cooking, cut the chicken into bite sized pieces with a cleaver.  I like to cut the chicken into sections and then cut it into smaller pieces.
Serve the chicken with these two dipping sauces:
Ginger Scallion Sauce:
3 scallions, finely chopped
1.5 tbsp finely minced ginger
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp vegetable oil
Mix together scallion, ginger and salt.  Heat vegetable oil to smoking hot.  Let cool slightly, and pour over the ginger scallion mixture.  


Soy Chili Sauce:
1/4 cup light soy sauce
4 red thai chilies thinly sliced
1 tsp sugar


The chicken was indeed moist and very tender.  The sauces made the chicken complete.


Sweet and Sour Fish
Sweet and sour fish is often made using a whole fish.  For ease of eating for my kids, I chose to do fish fillets.  
1 1/4 lb firm white fish, skin removed ( I used black cod)
1/3 tsp salt
1.5 tbsp rice wine
1 egg, beaten
4 tbsp flour
cold water
1 scallion, white part only, finely chopped
1 tsp finely minced ginger
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tbsp light soy
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp rice wine
3 tbsp rice vinegar
corn starch and water mixture (1 tsp corn starch 2 tsp water)
1/4 tsp sesame oil
cilantro to garnish



Dry fish and cut into 1" x 2" pieces and marinate in the salt and rice wine for 15 minutes.  
Mix egg, flour  together to make a smooth batter.  Add enough cold water to make it the consistency of heavy cream.
Heat oil in a heavy pot or wok to 350f.  Add the fish piece by piece into the oil.  Stir gently to make sure they don't stick together.  You may have to do this in batches.  Fry for 2-3 minutes until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels.


In a clean wok, heat 1 tbsp oil and add ginger and scallion and stir until fragrant.  Add the stock, soy sauce, wine, sugar and 2 tbsp of the vinegar.  Mix well and let simmer for a couple minutes.  Add fish and remaining vinegar and toss quickly.  Stir in the cornstarch mixture to thicken the sauce and drizzle a little sesame oil on top.  Garnish with cilantro leaves.


We loved the sauce on the fish.  It was fabulous!  One thought on the batter... I will not use an egg the next time.  The batter was soft after frying.  I will stick with flour and water.  

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