Wednesday, May 29, 2013

sesame oil chicken 麻油鸡

Sesame oil. How I love sesame oil!

During my confinement, I ate sesame chicken almost everyday. It was the one dish that I really did not mind eating on a daily basis.

I love the smell of sesame oil.
It reminds me of my childhood.
It reminds me of my mom.
It reminds me that I am Chinese.

And I love how the smell lingers for a while in the house even after the dish has been eaten. HMMMM :)

As with most things I cook, my recipe for Sesame Chicken is fast and easy. The dish can be left in the slow cooker over-night, or for the day while you are out at work and it slowly finishes cooking.

When I was single and still in the teaching profession, I would place the chicken in the slow cooker and turn it on before I went to work. When I got home, all I had to do was to cook rice and I had a yummy dinner and enough to bring to work for lunch the following day.

I started by marinating the chicken. While I believe that at most times, marinating the chicken for an hour or so improves its flavour, it really is a step that you can omit here if you do not have the time. I really do not think it makes that much difference to the end result in this case.
Since I had some time, the chicken was left marinating in the fridge for about an hour.

After which, all I had to do was to peel and cut the ginger into large slices so I could fish them out later.

In a heated wok, I added sesame oil. You need quite a bit of oil for this. It is not called "Sesame Oil Chicken" for no reason. Forget what they say about going easy with sesame oil because it is so strong, so pungent, blah-blah-blah. Be brave and pour the whole lot in, I say!

Once the oil was hot, add the ginger and garlic. The oil will start bubbling.
Which is a good sign.

Fry the ginger and garlic for about 3-5 minutes.

Add the chicken all at once. You need to use a chicken that has been chopped into pieces for this dish. The chicken bones add to the flavour of the dish. I have tried using only the drumlets or the thighs but the flavour was nowhere as good.
Stir to combine and added the soy sauces and the pepper.
Add the water. You can either place everything into a slow cooker and cook on AUTO for about 4-6 hours, or continue cooking in the wok (stirring occasionally) with a lid on for about 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through, and the sauce has thickened.

That's it!

Serve the chicken with rice. And slowly savour the wonderful flavour of the sesame oil.

Sesame Oil Chicken 麻油鸡 (Serves 4)

1 chicken, chopped into bite-sized pieces (skin on)
1 piece ginger, about the size of your thumb, sliced
1 tbs garlic, minced
1/2 cup sesame oil
2 tbs light soy
2 tbs dark soy (more if you prefer the sauce to be darker)
2 cups water
1/4 tsp white pepper, grounded

To marinate chicken:
4 tbs oyster sauce
3 tbs light soy
1 tbs sesame oil
1/4 tsp white pepper, grounded

NOTE: If you do not marinate the chicken, then add the marinating ingredients to the sauce.

1. Heat wok and sesame oil. Add ginger. Fry until fragrant.
2. Add minced garlic. Fry for 1-2 minutes.
3. Place chicken pieces in wok. Stir to combine.
4. Add all the sauces, and white pepper.
5. Stir until well mixed. Add water.
(a) Place everything into a slow cooker and cook on AUTO for 4-6 hours
(b) Put a lid on wok, cook on a medium fire for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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