Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Recipe: Poached Chicken with Ginger-Thai basil sauce 白斩鸡

Poached white chicken, also known as 白斩鸡 (pak cham kai in Chinese) is a dish I grew up eating. Literally translated to "white chopped chicken", a whole chicken or desired chicken parts are placed into boiling water and simmered for 10 minutes, before turning off the heat and steeping for a further 10 minutes, until cooked and then chopped into bite-size pieces. This produces very smooth chicken, which is also relatively healthy, especially if like us, you use chicken breast meat.


Usually this style of chicken is served with soy sauce/sesame oil/oil but our family has a special sauce that we serve the chicken with. For me, it is THIS sauce that makes this dish so appealing to me. It is made with a mixture of finely grated ginger, Thai basil leaves, garlic, shallots, soy sauce, oil and chillies (optional, can be omitted for kids). How good is it? Hubby who did not like eating ginger prior to this, had this and loved this dish so much, that he sometimes puts in requests that I make this for our dinner. What makes it unique is the Thai basil, which gives a very nice fragrance and flavour to the sauce. We always have a pot of Thai basil growing in our garden, so we can easily get some whenever we want to make this dish.

Ginger-Thai basil sauce


Thai basil from our garden (this is the same herb/leaf you find in your Vietnamese pho)


The water used to steep the chicken can be used to make a simple chicken soup - you can add some Chinese cabbage to sweeten the soup. Slice some cucumbers, serve with a bowl of rice and there you have it - a complete Chinese meal. The most time consuming part of preparing this dish would be grating the ginger, but everything else is relatively quick and easy.


Just make sure you make lots of sauce, you'll want to dip your chicken in it or drench the meat with the sauce, because it really is good. Bon appetit!



Poached chicken with ginger-Thai basil sauce 白斩鸡
Recipe by Baby Sumo
Preparation time: 30-40 minutes
Cooking time: 30-40 minutes
Serves 2-3

For the chicken
400g chicken breast meat, whole (about 2 pieces)
900ml water (or enough to cover the meat)
4-5 drops of sesame oil
1 Japanese cucumber, sliced thinly (to garnish)

For the soup
3 Chinese leaf cabbage, cut into 3 cm pieces
Salt, to taste
Coriander, to garnish

For the ginger-Thai basil dipping sauce
120g old ginger, finely grated
25g Thai basil, leaves only, finely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 tbsp cooking oil
4 drops sesame oil
3 cili padi
3 tbsp light soy sauce (or more, to taste)

1. In a large pot over high heat, add water and sesame oil and bring to the boil. Once the water is boiling, reduce to low heat and add the chicken. Simmer for 10 minutes and then turn the heat off. Leave the chicken to steep in the water for another 10 minutes, then remove and cut into bite-size pieces. (Note: If making soup with Chinese leaf cabbage, just keep the chicken aside, and blanch in the boiling soup minutes before the soup is ready to "reheat" the chicken and then only cut the chicken for consumption). Serve chicken with sliced Japanese cucumber.



2. You can start preparing the ingredients for the dipping sauce before you start cooking the chicken. Using a fine grater, grate the old ginger - this will take a while to do. Place the grated ginger in a bowl, along with the Thai basil leaves, as well as half the raw shallot and garlic.



3. In a frying pan, heat the cooking oil over medium high heat and add remaining shallot and garlic, and fry until golden brown, for about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and pour over the ginger mixture. Add the sesame oil, cili padi and light soy sauce and give the sauce a good mix. You can either dip your chicken into the sauce or pour some sauce over the chicken meat.



4. For the soup, simply bring the soup to the boil again after removing the chicken, then add the Chinese leaf cabbage and boil for 10-15 minutes until vegetable has soften. Season with salt, and serve immediately. You can garnish with some coriander leaf or daun sup. If not using Chinese cabbage leaf, another option is just to bring the soup to the boil, season with salt and add some chopped scallions (this will save you a little time. If you find that there is too much soup for 2-3 pax, you can just remove some into a small pot and make your soup. The remaining soup can be reserved to make chicken stock later).

A simple chicken soup with Chinese cabbage

Pak cham kai (白斩鸡)



*This recipe was featured on Asian Food Channel's FB page on 25 October 2012. 

34 comments:

  1. I love ginger.. so this is my fav! :D cook for me pleaseeeeee

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  2. I super love this...if eaten fresh. Not so nice if eaten later, say if I have it for lunch and then heat it up for dinner. Quite wary when having this outside...because it is moist (and may be easily contaminated)and often under-cooked with blood in the bone marrow and all (supposed to be best that way). May end up with food poisoning - happened to my missus in one five-star hotel...(I was ok even though we ate from the same plate of chicken) Tsk! Tsk!

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    Replies
    1. I don't like bloody meat also, hence we always only use chicken breast when we make this. It's also healthier.

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  3. Wow...I am loving this! Feeling hungry edi... :-p
    Gonna try it someday... I can oso use that boiled water to cook rice hor? Just like nasi minyak ... ;-)

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    1. Yeah, you so pandai!! Can cook the rice with the chicken stock at the same time as you make the soup. :)

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  4. That sauce looks so good! Makes me feel like having chicken rice for lunch.

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    Replies
    1. My mum's side of the family all eats their chicken with this sauce. It's really good!

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  5. ur recipe definitely takes it to another level !! i love it with lots of ginger

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    1. Me too! We always make a lot of sauce when we eat this. That's why we spend most of the time grating ginger. Haha!

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  6. the basil in your garden looks like it's growing really beautifully! i can almost smell its aroma *sniff sniff* :D

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    Replies
    1. Thai basil is extremely easy to grow, we have quite a fair bit growing in our garden now ;)

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  7. I love the soup from cooking the chicken, naturally flavorful~

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  8. Wau, looks so yummy, perhaps I should try to cook it someday!
    Btw, I think the Chinese name should be “白斩鸡” instead of "白砍鸡“ :)

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    Replies
    1. Hi there, thanks for the correction. My Chinese is not too good and obviously Google translate is wrong this time :P

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  9. Looks perfectly poached.. yummy dipping sauce too

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  10. I love poached chicken and next time I definitely want to make your dipping sauce.

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    Replies
    1. What do you usually have in your dipping sauce?

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  11. That is one flavorful dish ! Reminds me of Hainanese chicken rice ! :D The sauce itself sounds delicious !

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    Replies
    1. For me, it's definitely the sauce that makes this so good. Maybe it's becos I grew up eating it like this!

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  12. Hi, Yen, next time, I also want to try your ginger dipping sauce as I really like the idea of adding basil leaves into the sauce! I hardly make this dish at home becoz my MIL will make us the Hainanese chicken rice every now & then. She is Hainanese. Love it!

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    Replies
    1. Remember to use Thai basil yeah, not sweet basil. The Thai basil got this very nice "fragrance". I rmbr got once we made this sauce without the Thai basil as we just moved here and didn't have the herb... wasn't as good.

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  13. This is such a comfort dish for me! I love your version with Thai basil though-I'll try that next time! :D

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  14. Hi Baby Sumo,delicious, delicious...... I love this. Your poached chicken look so good. I love the dipping sauce too, make this very often too. I dip this with pan mein, very appetizing.

    Have a nice week ahead.

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    Replies
    1. Oh you eat this with pan mee too? I must try next time hehe.

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  15. We ipoh girls love this pak cham kai! Never heard of using thai basil with the ginger sauce, but sounds good, i will definitely try to make this the next round. Thanks for sharing this Yen, something unique to go with an old favourite dish.

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    1. The Thai basil is something that my mum's family always add to their sauce. When I have pak cham kai now, I cannot leave it out.

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  16. oo.. I love the idea of the Thai basil and shallot.. will try this recipe cos I always make mine with cilantro, ginger, garlic and oyster sauce... so this would be a great change! :)

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  17. I'm so going to try this recipe this weekend!

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  18. wow using fresh herbs from your garden...must be such a joy!! Loved it.

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