Saturday, April 26, 2008

Bring on the aftertaste

I have been dying to do a food post for a while...

When I was little, the meal I always requested for my birthday was my mom's Ginger Chicken. The highlight of the meal was the sauce, which when made it gives an exuberant crackle as ginger and green onion meets hot oil. We would put this sauce on everything for that meal and would even eat it in spoonfuls straight up.

I have not been to a Chinese restaurant that can even come close to my mom's dish. I can never understand why I don't see it in some or any Chinese menus. Maybe it is because the flavors are strong. Maybe because the authentic dish isn't battered, deep fried, and served with unnaturally colorful sauces (why do they make sweet and sour sauces so pink?!) Whatever the reasons may be, it really is too bad because you don't want to miss this.

Well, okay I suppose I can think of some good reasons why you don't see it on too many menus - the combination of ginger and green onion is enough to flavor your breath for... a while. And it is purposely salty. And we all know that at Chinese restaurants they hand out fortune cookies instead of breath mints (hhmmm... mint flavored fortune cookie anyone?) But if you are a fan of ginger and green onion, you should try it. I had an immense craving for it yesterday as it was my first day back home and even though I thoroughly enjoyed this dish when I was younger, while I was away I didn't dare introduce it to a bunch of kids who aren't used to this level of intensity at mealtime.

I also made the mistake of telling my sis-in-law the wrong quantity in salt but this time I got it right as I forced myself to do some actual measurements. This is one of the easiest Chinese dishes I know of - actually it almost seems embarrassingly easy as there are hardly any ingredients. Just think of it as more of a peasant dish.

Ginger Chicken
serves 4

1/2 whole chicken, or 3 small chicken breasts
1 mediumish bunch green onion, ends trimmed and discarded
1 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled
1 tsp salt
5 Tbs oil, canola or vegetable

Boil chicken until completely cooked but do not overcook. Cut off bone and skin and slice chicken. Set aside.
In a food processor, mince green onion and ginger. Mix in the salt.
In a skillet or wok, heat the oil until slightly steamy. Immediately add the oil to the green onion and ginger mixture - this should crackle a bit and if it doesn't your oil was not hot enough. Stir.
Serve ginger sauce on top of chicken slices over a bed of hot Jasmine rice.

*I usually like this served with stir-fried baby bok choy.


  1. Oh yum, that sounds SO good! I think I know what I'm making for dinner tonight...

  2. Wow! Sounds yummy and easy! My favorite combination :)

  3. It sounds delicious. I will have to make it this week. Have you ever thought of making a cookbook? I would definitely buy a copy! Seriously...consider it please :)

  4. Want to come cook for us. I don't think I'm brave enough to try it, but if you came and cooked it for me I'm sure it would be a hit :)


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