Monday, November 9, 2009

Braised Chicken in Fragrant Sauce Recipe

Home-cooked Braised Chicken in Fragrant Sauce
Home-cooked Braised Chicken in Fragrant Sauce

Remained unrivalled in taste, this dish is reminiscent of "Bak Kut Teh", a nourishing herbal soup that Malaysian proclaim as our national fare. The rich broth is flavorsome with mishmash of aromatic herbs and spices essence, dominated by sweet licorice aroma of the star anise and licorice (or liquorice).  This hodgepodge of sweet-woody fragrance of cinnamon stick, pungent-sweet aroma of cloves, aromatic-astringent aroma of cardamons, bitter taste of dried tangerine peel, citrusy-earthy aroma of the galangal, spicy heat of white peppercorns, unique lemony aroma of Szechuan peppercorns are nicely imbued with sweet touch of rock sugar, are all harmonized into a distinctive taste which is perfectly subtle on the tongue, providing a lingering after-taste. The chicken is falling-off-the-bone tender and has been soaking up all the herbal goodness from the broth. Simply nourishing!

Here's the recipe for braised chicken in fragrant sauce for you to replicate the store-bought "Bak Kut Teh" pre-mixes. The recipe is calling for one whole chicken, but if you don't have such a big appetite or only have limited number of guests or family members to serve, then you should consider to prepare the chicken proportionally.

Ingredients :
1 whole chicken, approximately 1.2kg, cleansed
3 eggs, cleansed thoroughly
A dash of sesame oil

Stock ingredients :

Star Anise, Cardamoms, Cloves, Cinnamon Sticks, Galangal

5cm cinnamon stick (??)
2 star anise (??)
8 cloves
3 cardamons, lightly smashed
2 slices licorice / liquorice (??)
2g dried tangerine peel (??)
2.5cm knob galangal (??), smashed  [Substitute : 2 times amount of fresh young ginger]
2cm knob old ginger, smashed
4 cloves garlic with skin, lightly smashed
1 tsp white peppercorns, smashed
1 tsp Szechuan peppercorns (????)
25g rock sugar
150ml light soy sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 litres water

Method :

1. Bring half a wok of water to a rolling boil. Hold the chicken by the legs and head and dip into boiling water. Allow the water to seep into the chicken cavity, then the water being pour back into the wok. Repeat this 4 to 5 times to thoroughly clean the cavity. Discard the water.

2. Combine all stock ingredients in a deep stockpot and bring to a boil. Put in the chicken and 3 eggs. When the stock reach a rolling boil, reduce the heat and simmer over a medium heat for 1 hour or until the chicken is tender. Remove the egg halfway through, crack the egg shells and then return the eggs to the stock.

3. Leave the chicken to soak in the stock for another 20-25 minutes, then turn off the flame. Remove the chicken and leave it to cool before chopping into bite-sized pieces. Then halve the eggs. To serve, pour some stock over the chicken and drizzle a dash of sesame oil over.

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