A Chinese braised dish is what I call the epitome of traditional Teochew home cooking. It’s like one of the classics that every Teochew family would know how to make. If you’ve been following my blog since its early days, you’d notice the first recipe I shared was a Tau Yu Bak Recipe (Braised Pork in Soy Sauce) that I learned off my maternal grandma.
When I was in my 20s, I was the eat-out-every-meal kind of person who also sold my life to my events management job 24/7 so I could get away from everything happening at home that were depleting my zest for life. My folks’ house wasn’t the most conducive environment for me to do whatever I wanted. All of these motivated me to cook when I moved to my current home after getting married. I think nothing beats coming home to a freshly made, warm and comforting homely meal. And I also want to relive those special moments of my childhood when Gran would be in the kitchen whipping up my favourite dishes. That was what home and family truly meant to me. I want to do exactly like what Gran had done for me. Although the best stage of my growing up years was short, it was nonetheless unforgettable and heartwarming too. I can’t help but still feel sad over the loss at times but I take comfort in the fact that I ever had Gran in my life. My paternal grandmother, my most favourite person in the world who had always loved me and stood by me through thick and thin. I’m grateful for that.
Right, maybe I should just stop watching Korean family dramas. Sometimes they just trigger the wrong button in me.
Now back to the recipe…
These were what I used to give the braising sauce a ‘spiced’ flavour, just to add a little more depth to it.
Also, do not add too much dark soy sauce than what is indicated in my recipe as it will make the sauce taste unpleasantly bitter. That was what happened during my first attempt at braising meat – really screwed up the whole pot.
According to Grandma, the winning formula of this recipe lies in the caramelisation of sugar at the beginning that really gives the braising sauce a richer flavour so make sure it doesn’t burn.
Enjoy! And be well, folks.
Chinese Braised Chicken Recipe
Ingredients (serves 4)
8 chicken drumlets
2 pieces firm beancurd (tau kwa) approx. 400g, cut into cubes
100g beancurd puffs (tau pok), cut into small triangles
12 whole dried Chinese mushrooms, soaked in hot water for half hour & stalks removed
4 hard-boiled eggs, shelled
4 bulbs garlic, unpeeled
1.5 inch thumb-size galangal, peeled
1.5 inch thumb-size old ginger, peeled
3 tbsp white sugar
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1.2 litres hot water (actual amount depends on the size of your pot, so adjust accordingly to ensure all ingredients are covered in water)
3 stalks lemongrass (use side of knife to bruise stalks slightly)
1 cinnamon stick
5 star anise
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp chicken seasoning powder
1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
1. Heat oil in pan and add sugar. Stir fry over low heat till the sugar caramelises.
2. Add hot water (be careful as water might splash when on contact with hot oil) and dark soy sauce. Stir to combine, ensuring the caramel mixture totally dissolves in the water.
3. Add in the rest of the ingredients except eggs, firm beancurd and beancurd puffs and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes till chicken drumlets are tender. Once done, you can adjust the taste of the sauce to your preference with more light soy sauce or chicken seasoning powder.
4. Add in eggs, firm beancurd and beancurd puffs and simmer for another 15 mins.
5. Serve hot with steamed rice.