“What’s Cooking” – Chicken

Now and then I will be wondering what am I going to cook with chicken. I mean it is such a versatile meat, like any other meat. I would argue that chicken is one of the most widely consumed meat in the world. Or is it goat, or pig? Anyone disagree can let me know. My reason for suggesting chicken is that China and India are the most populated nation in the world.

Most meat lovers in China are likely to consume chicken as it is the least expansive meat to breed. Many villagers breed free range chicken roaming in their villages for their meat and eggs. In India, I will probably suggest goat as the most common meat; again, free range in the villages, which are bred for their meat and milk. In both countries based on religious belief such as Buddhism and Hinduism, cow is regarded as sacred. Thus, consumption of beef is regarded as a no-no. Most believers or followers of Buddhism are vegetarians. But, some are non-vegetarian and will eat meat except on certain religious festivities. One such festivity is the “Wesak or Vesak Day” – also known as Buddha Day. This is the day when Buddhists celebrate the Buddha’s birthday, enlightenment and death. It is the most significant day in the Buddhist calendar.

In my earlier post I have bought some chicken thigh fillets from the supermarket. Ninety-nine percent of the time, I choose thigh over breast meat. It is juicier and does not dry up if overcooked like breast meat. The other reason is that most Chinese cook with chicken thigh. In contrast, Thai and Indian cooking prefers chicken breast. I think it depends on what our mum cook for us when we grow up. Thus, we are accustomed to our kind of meat, produce and food. Incidentally, my mum does not cook with herbs such as basil and coriander (which are more Thai style). So my style of cooking has evolved since I started learning how to cook with my mum. I love fresh green herbs. Basil and coriander are my two favourite green herbs.

I cut the chicken meat into small bite pieces and marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil, pepper and salt. Add a bit of corn starch if you like, for a nice silky coating on the meat. I have 1/2 kg of meat, which I made into 2 dishes. One Thai style – Chili Basil Chicken, and the other Chinese style – Stir Fry with Broccoli, Chinese Straw Mushroom and Bamboo Strips. I used the chicken to flavour the Chinese stir fry. If you are a Vegan or Vegetarian, you can use the same recipe without the chicken meat.

Chili Basil Chicken

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This recipe is somewhat similar to my other recipe on Garlic Chili Chicken post. The difference is that I have varied this one by having more Thai basil leaves, more chilies, add 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce (thus, the darker colour) and no oyster sauce. In cooking, it is about adjustment to suit your own taste. I do not use a measuring cup or spoon. I cook using my own judgement, or what my mum always said to me “Kaki Agak Agak” (that is Hokkien, literally translated in English as “Ownself Estimate Estimate”). That is why this recipe and the earlier recipe may sound the same but taste a bit different.

Chinese Chicken Stir Fry with Broccoli, Straw Mushroom and Bamboo Strips

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Ingredients

Broccoli

Straw Mushroom (either fresh or canned)

Bamboo Strips (either fresh or canned)

3 cloves garlic

1 thumbsize ginger

Coriander leaves (for garnish)

2 tablespoon oyster sauce

1/2 tablespoon light soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine

Salt and sugar to taste

Preparation

1. Cut broccoli into bite pieces. Set aside.

2. Drain the liquid from the can and rinse mushroom and bamboo shoots once or twice. Set aside.

3. Chop garlic and ginger finely. Set aside.

4. Peel some fresh coriander leaves for garnish. Set aside.

Cooking

1. Heat some oil in a hot wok. Add garlic and ginger. Fry until fragrant.

2. Add chicken pieces. Stir fry until chicken is cooked.

3. Add broccoli. Stir fry for a few minutes until broccoli is almost cooked. Add mushroom and bamboo shoots. Continue to stir fry.

4. Add all the sauces. Continue to stir fry. Season with some salt and sugar to taste. Add a bit of corn starch mixed in water to make a bit of gravy.

Enjoy your Meal!

4 responses to ““What’s Cooking” – Chicken

  1. Hi Victor, I remember you saying once to m ethat Chicken is your ab fave meat to eat & cook with.
    Having just eaten a loverly chicken dinner tonight I am in agreeance with you. I particularly enjoy a simply roasted chook & most of all the wings!
    There is something very comforting about the humble chook & I belive you are right, it appears to be the most consumed meat in Oz. When making anything braised, stewed or slow cooked I always use thigh meat for the reasons to stated. Breast meat really only lends itself to the more immediate methods of cooking, a lovely crispy crumbed fillet stands amongst the greats in ways of preparing & eating it. Recently Stickyfingers(food blogger extrordinaire) gave me a whole chook that she had prepared in the style of her chinese heritage-it was a revellation, sweet, moist, fragrant with star anise & a salty tang of soy, in a word Yum

    • Hi Steve – what a chicken treat from Stickyfingers! I wonder if it is roasted soy chicken. Makes me hungry again. Does Stickyfingers also make “Drunken Chicken”? Best with “kampung” free range chicken. You have just given me the inspiration to try something new this week with my Growenewold (did I spell it correctly?) free range chicken (still in the fridge).

  2. Hi Victor
    Drunken chicken sounds divine.
    I once had drunken prawns in Singapore.
    Live prawns.
    It was a fabulous dish.
    Steve and I will be there whenever you call for us to witnesss the spectacle?
    S

    • I have only done a Drunken Chicken once, Stephen. You will be glad to know it is not a “live” chicken! 🙂

      I know what you meant about live prawn. We had a similar experience at a beautiful seafood restaurant in Bangkok. We had live prawn cooked in beer right at our table! It was quite a shock. We didn’t expect them to cook at our table. I heard a Sydney restaurant, Mathew’s Peacock Garden at Crows Nest, did the same at the table, until they got into trouble with the Food and Health regulator. So now they cook in the kitchen.

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