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
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
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).