Ying's ideas of easy Chinese home-cooking

Steamed Chicken with Cantonese Sausage

廣式臘腸蒸雞

I had been having nightmares these recent days and according to old Cantonese medicine theory, there must be ‘heat’ in your body. Well, mum always blame me having too much hot and spicy food. Cantonese wouldn’t have hot food in the old days. Light and mild seasoning was more preferable. Though spicy Szechuan cuisine has been very popular in most of the Chinese regions in recent years and younger generation of Cantonese, like me, had adapted it in my daily home-cooking, elder generation, like my parents, still stick on the traditional ways of Cantonese cooking.

Among all, steaming is one of the key Cantonese cooking techniques. It is a very gentle cooking technique ideal for cooking seafood, fresh meats or other delicate foods. Cantonese has been blessed to have natural produces in high quality thus people prefer to use the simplest cooking method to keep original taste and more nutrients.

Steamed chicken is one of the most popular and easiest home-cooking dishes. Dry shiitake mushroom and Cantonese sausage are the two essential dry food in most Cantonese families. The combined aroma of these three, soy sauce, Cantonese rice wine, is the smell of any old Cantonese towns in dinnertime, the taste of home.

Ingredients – (all ingredients can be easily obtained in any Chinese grocery stores)
Chicken thighs, 2, or half a chicken, about 350g. Try using fresh chicken in good quality;
Dry shiitake mushroom, 2-3, medium size;
Cantonese pork sausage, 1;
Ginger, 10g, peeled;
Light soy sauce, 1tbsp;
Oyster sauce, 1tbsp;
Cantonese rice wine, 1tbsp, or any cooking wine;
Sugar, 1/2 tsp;
Cornstarch, 1tsp.

How to do –
1. Chicken chopped into chunks, you may ask your butcher for help. You could debone the chicken but meat with bones taste better I must say. Marinade the chicken with ginger slices and all seasoning ingredients, mix well and keep in fridge for at least half an hour;

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2. Dry shiitake mushrooms need to be soaked in water till tender, especially those thick ones may need hours, so do it in the morning or overnight. Slice when they are tender enough. Cantonese sausage also sliced;

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3. Mix the chicken with the mushrooms, place in a deep plate, place the sausage on top;

4. Bring a big pot of water to boil in high heat, then steam the chicken for 20 mins. If you use a small steamer or with a flat lid, there is big possibility the steam would drop on the plate and affect the taste of the food. There are some ways to avoid this – use a big steamer or a wok; wrap the lid with cotton kitchen towel; cover the plate loosely with cling film or tinfoil;

5. Sprinkle some finely chopped spring onion on top when hot and serve with steamed jasmine rice. Though not a kid anymore, I still love to mix rice with sauce.

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