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
Preparation time: 30-40 minutes
Cooking time: 30-40 minutes
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.