Monday, October 18, 2010

Salty Ginger Scallion Chicken

Two things happened the other weekend:
1. I craved some Chinese home cooking
2. I realized that I don't know how to cook chicken. Like, at all.

What better way to spend Sunday night than to combine #1 and #2 into a dinner and call it a day? Coming off our Chinese wedding banquet reminded me of one of my favorite banquet dishes, salty chicken. Sounds kinda weird, huh? But it's the tastemaker sauce that makes it a fave.

Here are the main players:
  • ginger 
  • scallion 
  • 1 whole quartered chicken
  • sea salt (not pictured) 
  • Jasmine rice
I bought the chicken fully quartered at whole foods. All bone in. Pictured here is 3.5 lbs that ended up being 4 servings.
didn't end up using the garlic
First, start the rice cooking process (I like Jasmine rice). Keep the rice heated while you cook the chicken.

Ginger Scallion Sauce
This is not really a sauce as much as it is similar to a pesto. Chop up 2 whole scallions and about 1.5 inches of young ginger. The one I got was kinda old and dry and ended up being stringy in the middle. While it didn't affect the taste,  might as well get a fresher one if you can. 

Heat up a few tablespoons of oil (olive or veg works). When nice and hot toss in the ginger to cook for approximately 30 seconds. Then add the scallions for a few more seconds (you want the scallions to cook off a bit of the sharpness). Turn off the heat and scoop everything (oil, ginger, scallion) into a bowl. Add salt to taste - be a little heavy handed here since this is the main thing flavoring the chicken.

Big Bird Gets Salty
*note the lack of pics since I was concentrating on not over (or under) cooking the chicken*

Immediately out of the package, season the chicken pieces (both sides) with salt. If you rinse the chicken, make sure to pat it dry with paper towels before seasoning. Set aside until ready to cook. You could also de-skin the chicken to be healthier but since I was just steaming it, figured the fat would be tastier.

Heat up more oil in the wok. Sear the chicken pieces on one side. Turn over after a couple minutes to do the same on the other. After searing, add 1.5 cups water to just cover the bottom of the chicken. Place the wok lid on and let the meat steam / boil. (Edit: I'm sure this can be done in a regular pan as well).

Question: When is the chicken DONE? 
Answer: I honestly don't know. My mom said if your chopstick goes into the meat easily around 8 minutes then it's done. I didn't trust myself so not only did I poke it with a chopstick, I cut the middle of most pieces to see if it was still pink. I think it took 8-10 minutes.

When the chicken is done, set aside on a plate. Keep the cooking liquid because that's concentrated chicken stock (of course if you use it later, it's probably best to skim the fat off). 

You've Been Served.
Serve atop a heap of jasmine rice. 

Mmm. Traditionally this type of chicken is served at room temperature (and also as a whole chopped chicken on a giant banquet platter) so no worries on timing it right off the stove. This dish satisfied my craving for salty meat and I like the freshness of the ginger/scallion combo. It also made for good next day leftovers, cold or reheated on plain rice.

Forgot to time this one. The whole process took about an hour but mostly because I was slow at prepping. If you can do the ginger/scallion ahead of time, it only takes <20 min to prep and cook the chicken & rice.


BigAppleNosh said...

Yum! I've never made a whole chicken either (only chicken parts. sorry, chicken), so this is encouraging. I was going to do a roast chicken yesterday but...chickened out.

lobster said...

@BigAppleNosh Stay tuned for my adventure in roasting (or not roasting) another chicken. It's a less encouraging post but I soldier on!

lavenderpug said...

yum, this looks really good! i love ginger.

Anonymous said...

I love anything with ginger!

Jennie said...

i could go for some chinese!

Alice said...

Love your blog because it offers Chinese home cooking, which I cannot cook for the life of me. Your recipes are my inspiration! Thanks!!