Soy-braised Chicken – An improvised version

In Asian cooking, usually stir-fry is my favorite, however the other uncommon styles of Asian cooking are neither less interesting. Braising is one of them. In short, braising means first deep-frying and then prolonged cooking in a water-based broth. Today I planned to cook Soy-braised chicken which is a very common and popular delicacy in China. But I have not kept the recipe traditional, rather I improvised a bit to make it interestingly different. I am sure you will love it.

Take a whole chicken with skin weighing tentatively 900 gm to 1 kg. Clean it properly and rub it both inside and outside with 2 tbsp of minced ginger and 1 tbsp of ground black pepper. Note, traditionally I should have used ground Sichuan peppercorn instead of black pepper. But I wanted to make it slightly different. Now take 3 tbsp of light soy sauce, 2 tbsp of dark soy sauce, 3 tbsp of Chinese rice wine and 1 tbsp of light brown sugar to add to the chicken and cover the whole surface of the chicken with this mixture. Marinate for at least 3 hours. In every 40 minutes, keep turning the chicken to ensure uniform marination. After marination is completed, take enough amount of vegetable oil in wok to submerge at least half of the whole chicken and heat up the oil. Put the whole chicken into the oil and let it deep fry. Keep turning round to fry all the surface. After fried to brown, remove the chicken from wok and keep aside. Remove the remaining oil from the wok and add 6-7 cups of chicken stock, the leftover marinade sauce, salt and crystal sugar to taste. Mix well and adjust seasoning. Place the whole chicken back to the wok again. Now add 1 tbsp of whole sichuan peppercorn into the wok. Note, this is again an improvisation over the traditional recipe. Whole sichuan peppercorn adds a mild flavor compared to its grounded form. Whole peppercorn does not override the flavor of black pepper but adds a mild flavor. Let the broth boil up and cover with the lid. Keep turning the chicken in the broth in every 7-8 minutes of interval and cook like this for around 30 to 40 minutes. While being braised, add 1 tbsp of dark soy sauce again on the chicken. In the serving plate, make a bed of lettuce leaves and then place the chicken on it. Pour 2-3 tbsp of the broth followed by 1 tbsp of dark soy sauce over the chicken. The chicken should be allowed to cool down a bit and cut into pieces before serving. Also serve the remaining broth in a small bowl along with the chicken. This delicacy goes well with steamed rice or any mild flavored fried rice.

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