I do not exactly remember when do I start liking my mother’s food. Among some Hakka dishes, my mother would cook this steamed chicken for every festive dinner and I would always wake up in the mornings filled with aroma of ginger, garlic and coriander. She is a Cantonese, so her dishes are normally a mixture of Hakka and Cantonese.
I could still remember my fondest memory would be receiving freshly prepared lunchbox from my mother during recess, inviting looks of envy from classmates, inside it was usually some steamed chicken and my mother’s special dipping sauce.
The other day when my sister came from KL to visit my family, especially to see my baby, we mentioned my mother’s specialities and our trials to re-create the same taste, this is one of them. After that I have such a strong craving for it and I called my sister for guidance. As this dish is steamed, it required really fresh chicken (not frozen) so I went to Boon Lay market to buy kampong chicken and lots of coriander and spring onions, and I want to try making my sister special dipping sauce.
I am writing this down so that my daughter can cook this dish in the future and remember her grandmother as such a good cook.
Chicken, 1.3kg and above, max 2kg. It must be free range or organic, or else you can’t really enjoy its –‘chickeny’ taste. Do cut the thickest part of the drumsticks so that it can be cooked thoroughly later, about 2 cuts.
1-2 Tbsp salt
3-5 litre of water, depending how big your pot is
- In a big pot, pour in water (enough to submerge the whole chicken) and 1-2 Tbsp to create a salty pot of water. Let it boil.
- After boiling, put the whole chicken inside (breast side down) to cook 8 mins for a 1.3kg chicken, 10-11 mins for 2 kg chicken. Covered the pot with lid. Do not open lid.
- When the time is up, off the fire, let it continue cooking in the hot salty water for one whole hour, with lid covered.
- Prepare ice water. After an hour, take the chicken out, bath with the ice water to stop cooking so as to create tender chicken meat.
- Cut it into pieces before serving.
Bowl = rice bowl
3 inch old ginger, minced into 3/4 bowl.
1/2 to 3/4 bowl of minced garlic
2 bowl of chopped coriander and spring onions, I bought $6 of coriander & spring onions. The spring onions should be slightly and more than coriander, roughly cut into 1-2cm. Separate the stem from leaves for even cooking
2-3 Tbsp good quality of light soy sauce
2 Tbsp Oil
- Heat oil (very high heat), fry ginger first and then garlic until fragrant, about 1 to 1.5 min.
- Pour in stems, stir fry a few times, then leaves in. Stir a few times, pour soy sauce in from the edge of the wok (important), a splash of water (only if the leaves can't be cooked through), off the heat. Take out and serve as dipping sauce or condiment for the steamed chicken.
MY sister dipping
1/2 bowl of thinly sliced shallots
A bowl of mint leaves, roughly chopped
A bowl of coriander, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp Sesame oil
1 Tbsp Oil
1 Tbsp of good salty dark soy sauce
some light soy sauce (optional)
- Heat oil & sesame oil (medium high heat), fry shallot till brown.
- Turn to high heat, put coriander leaves and mint leaves in, stir a few times, pour dark soy sauce.
- Take out, taste and put light soy sauce (optional).