Tuesday, October 8, 2013

3 Cup Chicken

I got home earlier than expected, which meant I had a lot of time to make dinner.  Unfortunately, a quick look in the fridge and freezer yielded only a pack of boneless chicken thighs (yes, time to go to market!) and some shitake mushrooms.

Off I went to look for a recipe.  There were actually lots to choose from, but I wanted to pick a recipe from one of the Chinese cookbooks (a Chinese or Asian published Chinese cooking cookbook, that is) but given the limited ingredients I had in the kitchen, there really wasn't much choice.  I'd almost given up hope until I saw this recipe for 3 cup chicken.  It was relatively simple, and cooking time was just 20 minutes or so!

The dish was so named due to its 3 major ingredients, which, if tradition is believed, to be a cup each of soy sauce, sesame oil and rice wine.  Personally I think a cup of each is too much unless the meat component is truly plentiful (a couple of kilos at least!) after all it would take too long to cook for the sauce to reduce if that were the case!

Anyway, here's my dish:

The recipe is from this book:

It's from my mom's collection, published in 1989 in Taiwan.  Apparently my mom bought it from National Bookstore for Php169.75 (the sticker was still stuck to the original plastic covering)!  The book is still in relatively good condition but the plastic covering had shrunk so I had to take it off to keep the front and back book cover from warping.  And when I opened the pages, the binding had "weakened" so I took out my handy-dandy glue and tried to fix it (in my amateurish way).

Anyway, while I was pretty faithful to the recipe, it has an ingredient (a Chinese herb) that I had no idea about so I just skipped it.  Here is what I did:

1.  After defrosting the 1 kilogram of skinless chicken thighs, I cleaned, trimmed, and rinsed the pieces then patted them dry.  Then I sliced them into bite-sized pieces, about 3 to 4 cuts per piece.

2.  Then I sliced 10 thin slices of ginger and smashed 1 whole head of garlic - not chopped just smashed whole, skins removed, of course.

3.  I also sliced a stalk of leeks, green part only.  And got out 3 pieces of dried chili.  And a large handful of shitake mushrooms (about 15 small pieces thereabouts).

4.  Then I measured the 3 major ingredients... sort of...  I thought a cup of each was too many so I tried 3/4 cup of each.  Except that my sesame oil only came up to about 1/3 cup so I filled the rest with canola oil.  I also used glutinous rice wine, and for the soy sauce I used partly thick soya sauce and partly light soy sauce.

The cooking part is easy too...

5.  Place a flat casserole dish on the stove.  Layer the ingredients:  ginger first, then garlic, then mushrooms, then chicken pieces.  Pour in the oil, rice wine and soy sauce.  My liquid ingredients covered everything.  Toss in the chili pieces.  Cook over high heat (uncovered).  When the pot boils, lower the heat and simmer about 15 to 20 minutes, until sauce is greatly reduced (I've seen this dish in restaurants with virtually no sauce but we like our dishes saucy, simply because we pour sauce over our rice!!!).  Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.  Serve hot, garnished with sliced leeks.

I liked it, but hubby commented that it was a bit too "soy sauce"-ish.  Hmmm... maybe next time I'll just use the light soy sauce and skip the thick soya sauce...

But this is a dish that I will definitely make again... perhaps with squid next time...

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