Text and Images by Sheere Ng @ Makansutra
Ginger is an old native of Asia, no wonder is it featured, prominently and discreetly, in so many Asian cuisines. In Chinese cuisine, it is used as appetisers (pickled ginger with century egg) to desserts (ginger soup) and snacks (candied ginger). Samsui (Sanshui of Guangdong province in China) Chicken is one particular dish where the ginger sauce is more important than the meat and can make or break the dish.
1 whole chicken 80 g ginger 10 cloves garlic
Put ginger and garlic into a plastic bag and bruise them with a cup or pounder. Prepare a pot of water, deep enough to submerge the whole chicken. Add ginger and garlic into the water and boil over medium high heat. Holding on to its neck, dip the chicken into the boiling water and then lift it up slowly (this is to firm up the skin and minimise or prevent tears). Repeat this thrice and then gently lower the chicken fully into the water. Cover the pot and leave the water to boil for a minute, then turn off the fire. Leave chicken in the pot for 35 to 45 minutes (depending on the chicken’s size, no lighter than 1.5kg). Remove chicken from the pot, rinse it under running tap water, strain all the hot water trapped in crevices and then soak it in an ice water bath for about 10 mins. Chop and debone the chicken into in chunky bite-sized portions.
To make sauce 80 g of young ginger 80 g of old ginger 1 bulb of spring onion, chopped finely (no more than 1cm) 180 ml sesame oil 20 ml Shaoxing wine 1 tbsp sugar 1½ tbsp of light soya sauce / ½ tbsp salt
Blend old and young ginger until minced (not smooth). Take 2 tbsp of the sesame oil and heat it in a pan over small fire. Add chopped spring onions and stir-fry for about 15 secs till fragrant Add blended ginger and stir-fry gently for about 5 mins. Add the remaining sesame oil, sugar and salt. Stir-fry for another 3 minutes. Taste the mixture, and add more salt if it’s not salty enough, or sugar if you find the ginger too stinging for you. Just before turning off the fire, add Shaoxing wine and stir well. Switch off fire.
To serve Lettuce leaves, cut into wrap size pieces
Place chicken on a lettuce leaf, lay a spoonful of ginger sauce atop, wrap the lettuce and pop the thing in your mouth!