Chinese Braised Chicken with Suan-Cai

酸菜雞煲

Published: July 12, 2021

Cantonese Chicken Pot is one of my favourite dishes. I particularly like to serve it as hotpot with a portable hob in cold seasons. But in summer, I would reduce the sauce, stir-fry a lot of garlic, ginger and chili to boost their aroma, and serve the dish in a hot, sizzling pot. Cantonese call such cooking method ‘啫啫’, pronounced ‘jue-jue’ in Chinese Cantonese. This cooking method is very popular in Cantonese regions. Moreover, I also add pickled Chinese leafy mustard, suan-cai. The sourness, sweetness and saltiness from it can boost your appetite.

Check my other Cantonese braised chicken recipes –
Cantonese Chicken Casserole
Cantonese Sizzling Fish Maw and Chicken Pot

What is suan-cai

Suan-cai is translated sour vegetable while pao-cai is vegetable soaked in brine. Both of them are the general names of Chinese pickles. There is a large variety of Chinese fermented vegetable depending on different vegetable used and methods of production. They are used in different Chinese cuisines and can be served with rice, noodles, rice congee, or be braised with meat or fish, or in hotpot, even in soup. Napa cabbage and leafy mustard are the two commonly seen vegetable in Chinese pickle. In this recipe, I would use Teochew style pickled leafy mustard. It’s not very salty and sour but a little sweet, unlike the usually seen Sichuan style suan-cai. No matter which suan-cai you obtain for this recipe, I would suggest soak it in water for about half an hour to reduce the pungency.

Another recipe using suan-cai –
Braised Whole Fish with Pickled Chinese Mustard (suan cai)

Ingredients – for 4 serving

  • Chicken, 1, about 1kg
  • Suan-cai, about 250g, use any suan-cai you can obtain in Chinese grocery store
  • Ginger, 20g
  • Garlic, 10 cloves
  • Thai red chili, 5
  • Chinese celery / leaf celery, a small bunch. If it’s unavailable, use cilantro
  • Light soy sauce, 2tbsp
  • Dark soy sauce, 1/2tsp
  • Sugar, 1tsp
  • Cornstarch, 1tsp
  • Cantonese rice wine / Cantonese mi-jiu, half cup. This recipe requires a larger amount of rice wine. After cooking, only fragrance remains. I use my homemade sour plum wine to build up a better layer of sourness but it’s not essential.

How to do –

  1. Marinade the chicken – chop to big pieces; in a mixing bowl, add in 2tbsp of light soy sauce, 1/2tsp of dark soy sauce, 1tsp of sugar, 1tbsp of rice wine, mix well and marinade for 15 minutes;

2. Rinse suan-cai in running water and soak in clean water for 15 – 30 minutes, then cut to bite size;

3. Heat a little oil in hot wok, sauté chicken till golden brown but don’t add in the remaining sauce;

4. Heat a little oil in a clay pot or cast-iron pot, stir-fry garlic, ginger and chili till fragrant. If you don’t want it too hot, don’t cut the chili apart;
5. Put in suan-cai, stir-fry away the moist;

6. Transfer the chicken pieces into the pot and mix well;

7. Put in the remaining marinating sauce, half cup of water and half cup of cooking wine, lid on and bring to boil in high heat, then keep braising for 10 minutes in medium heat. I don’t add more seasoning, it’s savoury enough, but you could have a taste to adjust;
8. Add the Chinese celery matchsticks in and it’s good to serve right away.

用料 –
  • 鸡 1只,约1千克
  • 酸菜 250克
  • 姜 20克
  • 蒜 10瓣
  • 小红辣椒 5粒
  • 唐芹 1小把
  • 生抽 2汤匙
  • 老抽 半茶匙
  • 砂糖 1茶匙
  • 生粉 1茶匙
  • 广东米酒 半量杯
做法 –
  1. 腌鸡肉 – 鸡选肥一点的待会把油煸出来会比较香;剁大块;2汤匙生抽、半茶匙老抽、1茶匙糖、1汤匙料酒、1茶匙生粉,抓匀,腌15分钟;
  2. 同时处理一下酸菜。虽说潮州酸菜不咸,但我还是会泡一下水把味道泡淡一点,泡好后切成大块;
  3. 热锅放一点油,放鸡块煎至金黄。煎的时候不要把腌汁也倒进去;
  4. 用一砂锅或铸铁锅,放一点油把辣椒、姜片、蒜煸香。不需要太辣的朋友不要把辣椒切开;
  5. 放入酸菜,炒干水份;
  6. 鸡块回锅,和其他材料翻炒均匀;
  7. 倒入腌鸡的腌汁,半杯水、半杯酒,盖锅盖大火烧开转中火烧10分钟即可。如果不放水可以多放一点酒更香;
  8. 最后放入唐芹段翻炒均匀即可。这是一个快手菜,鸡肉已经煎至七成熟,放酒后大火烧至酒精挥发后香气出来就可以。

Chinese Braised Chicken with Suan-Cai

酸菜雞煲

Preparation time: 40mins
Serving: 4

Ingredients

chicken 1kg

suan-cai 250g

ginger 20g

garlic 10cloves

Thai red chili 5

Chinese celery 1bunch

light soy sauce 2tbsp

dark soy sauce 1/2tsp

sugar 1tsp

cornstarch 1tsp

Cantonese rice wine 1/2cup

Instructions

1.Marinade the chicken – chop to big pieces; in a mixing bowl, add in 2tbsp of light soy sauce, 1/2tsp of dark soy sauce, 1tsp of sugar, 1tbsp of rice wine, mix well and marinade for 15 minutes;

2.Rinse suan-cai in running water and soak in clean water for 15 – 30 minutes, then cut to bite size;

3.Heat a little oil in hot wok, sauté chicken till golden brown but don’t add in the remaining sauce;

4.Heat a little oil in a clay pot or cast-iron pot, stir-fry garlic, ginger and chili till fragrant;

5.Put in suan-cai, stir-fry away the moist;

6.Transfer the chicken pieces into the pot and mix well;

7.Put in the remaining marinating sauce, half cup of water and half cup of rice wine, lid on and bring to boil in high heat, then keep braising for 10 minutes in medium heat;

8.Add the Chinese celery matchsticks in and it’s good to serve right away.

What do you think? Share your ideas below.

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