Thursday, 27 October 2011

Mum's Sesame Oil Chicken



Unfortunately, things haven't gotten better since I last posted about the power of a warm pot of chilli. I've finished one project, but am onto two new ones. It has now even started raining these days and the skies are perpetually grey. There are some things that you just crave when you feel cold, stressed, and blue, and for me, that's usually soups, stews, and my mum's cooking.

When I first came to London, I got pretty homesick in the first few months. My mum used to send me ridiculously large parcels which I complained about because the fact that they were ridiculously large meant that, for her, they were ridiculously expensive, and for me, they were ridiculously heavy (I had to carry them from the post office in the snow). Secretly though, these parcels of love made things just a little better, and though most of the things were pretty useless (she sent me toothbrushes once), some things I've still kept as treasures, one of which is a handwritten list of some of her recipes. Sesame oil chicken is one of them.



Extremely detailed instructions in a mix of Chinese and English, with tons of annotations

Mum's Sesame Oil Chicken
serves 2
Ingredients
2 chicken legs, cut into thighs and drumsticks (you can use whichever parts you like, but they must be bone-in)
1 tbsp ginger juice (peel, smash/grate ginger, squeeze. reserve the ginger.)
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 tbsp soy sauce (traditionally brewed and fermented)
1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
1 tsp unrefined cane sugar
1 tsp white pepper
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp groundnut oil

Method
1. Marinate the chicken in the ginger juice, sesame oil and soy sauce, for about 1 hr, or even longer.


2. To a medium hot wok/pot, heat the oil, and add the reserved ginger, fry till aromatic.
3. Add the chicken pieces, drained of their marinade, to brown slightly, about 1 min, then add in the Shaoxing wine, followed by the marinade, and cook for a few more min.

4. Add in the water, cover and let simmer on low heat for 30 minutes. Serve warm with rice.




The ingredient list is really simple, just Chinese store-cupboard essentials, and the method's really simple too. But the results are so worth it. While cooking this, the kitchen filled up with the familiar heavenly aroma of ginger, sesame oil and Shaoxing wine, and the end results are just as therapeutic- tender braised chicken sitting in that fragrant broth. Thanks mummy (:

Note, you can sub the rice wine for hard liquors like DOM (especially 'warming' and great for post-natal recovery according to traditional chinese medicine, just fyi).

28 comments:

  1. What a lovely post. You and your Mother sound very loving and very close, a precious relationship! Simple, comforting food (so often the best kind) I bet it smells delicious.

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  2. Your posts are so charming. Enjoy your mum while you have her. If you have any extras in your packages you may send them to me.

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  3. I love reading your post...so much personality. Love those old hand written recipes, they are always a keeper!

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  4. Shu Han this looks AMAZING. The rain and thunder hasn't stopped for days and days here, so despite the heat (27* only, cold huh?!), it feels more like autumn and this recipe reads like the perfect antidote. Will be trying it out very soon!

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  5. Beautiful recipe Shu Han - I love things like this - I didn't have shaoxing wine in absolutely ages either - if I remember it correctly it was a little bit like sherry, but less sweet. I gotta say that whenever I'm feeling blue I crave cake and junk food. It's a real bad habit. Scarfing pizza, burgers, deep-fried this and that... at least your food cravings won't end up turning you into a giant round ball :D

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  6. SHu Han, that is what we called "MUM",always worrying about their kids.I think I also like that....hehehe. My eldest 15 years old le,if she study abroad , I'll be like your MUM too and that's also why I blogging,so she can get recipe when she needed.
    Your sesame oil chicken , looks sooo tempting,delicous!!!

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  7. Your parcels' story reminds me of someone (although I have never received a toothbrush). Thank you for including your mum's handwritten recipe. I multiplies its value and taste at least 100 times. I love sesame oil and sesame seeds (I put them everywhere, e.g. I have just had them for lunch), so I have almost jumped when I saw the title :-) I am sure I would love this chicken dish.

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  8. shu han, this is one of my favourite dishes. During one time, my neightbour was in confinement period and was cooking this everyday, yeah..i could just smell it from my house, i just cldnt stand it longer that i hv to cook it immediately. Haha! read abt that toothbrush..yeah sometimes not that they think you couldnt get it there, they just think it might be inconvenient for you to go to the stores to get them especially during cold weathers..great mum!

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  9. Your mom is fabulous! She even hand written some recipes that she thought you might enjoy and parcel it to you. I love this recipe too, just love the fragrant of ginger and sesame oil mixed together. Thanks for stopping by my blog. ;)

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  10. Shu Han, I love your mom's hand written note and the chicken looks delicious!

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  11. This looks delicious! And I love that it is your mother's recipe, it makes it all the more special! I think I have most of these items in my pantry so I'm all set! :-)

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  12. That is so sweet of your mom...those parcels make all the difference. When I was living away from home and got letters and packages, I always felt closer. I agree with you, being blue calls for warm comfort food...this recipe looks delicious and is sure to do the trick. Hope you feel better soon.

    xo

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  13. The parcels story reminded me of my own memory. When I first came to the US, I didn't have a car and I couldn't go to a Japanese store so my mom would sent me so many stuff which could cost way more than what we can buy here. But I guess that's what mom would do naturally and I learned after becoming a mom. Your mom is so sweet sending the packages along with recipes. The recipe along with the memory of this will be treasure in your life. Great chicken recipe!

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  14. I love this home recipe! And wow, a hand written recipe from your mom is really sweet!

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  15. Your mom sounds so sweet and this chicken looks amazing!

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  16. This post alone can make one homesick! :O....oh gawd!

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  17. wendy: thanks(:

    pear tree log: thanks! i love my mum (:

    stephen: hahaha are you running out of toothpaste?

    lyndsey: thank you! i really treasure these handwritten recipes!

    little macaroon: aw, what's with the weather EVERYWHERE! i'm glad that gives you the chance to try this out though!

    charles: haha, funnily i've never actually CRAVED junk food, i always crave familiar food.

    yummylittlecooks: hehe i guess it's the kind of thing i'll only fully understand when I become a mum myself!

    anna: thank you!

    katherine:great, let me know how it turns out!

    emily: yes comfort food (:

    nami: exactly! the postage alone costs more than the price of the items! but i do treasure these parcels of love (:

    mycookinghut: thank you!

    farine: thank you!

    tigerfish: It makes one homesick, but at the same time, it's an antidote to the blues I guess ):

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  18. wok bubbling away, just waiting for my rice to cook... my recipe book now contains "Shu Han's Mum's sesame oil chicken"! (and I've used my duck fat instead of olive oil - lusciously indulgent!)

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  19. There's nothing like home cooking to make you feel better when you are a long way away. And this looks delicious. Hand written recipes are a treasure to store and keep, I just wish I had more. Maybe I'll have to get on the phone to my mum ;)

    And it all looks fairly straight forward too. I love the use of the ginger juice in the marinade with the flesh being saved for later in the cooking process.

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  20. little macaroon: ah! I'm so pleased you're making it too (: i wholeheartedly approve of the duck fat. i sometimes do this with chicken fat from when I make stock, but it's not always available ):

    the grubworm: that sounds like a good idea. maybe i should call her up and whine for more. yup, the ginger juice helps to tenderise the chicken too!

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  21. yes, served with white rice is great comfort food. i like to make a big crockpot of this to last me a few days...

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  22. I love your blog -- and it keeps getting better! The photo of the recipe made me smile.

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  23. This looks great! I have chicken in the fridge now and I'm going to save a couple of the legs to try this way. Thanks! I love the story along with the photos. Your mama was so sweet to send you the recipes that way.

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  24. I saw several recipes of sesame oil chicken that cook the chicken for a while only and without marinating it. I tried this recipe twice and really love it! It is so flavorful due to the marinating and simmering for 30 mins! Thanks Shu Han!

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    1. Thanks Yixi! Yes that's why this recipe is really quite special; Mum really knows best!

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  25. Thanks for the recipes. Can i ask when do you add the sugar? :#

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    1. oops left that out! with the marinade!

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