Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Malaysian Chicken with Shitake Mushrooms

To be honest, I haven't got a proper name for this recipe. Many moons ago I had a Malaysia girlfriend who cooked the most amazing dishes. When you're 21 you're quite impressionable, no more so than this which I still enjoy it now. Of course it doesn't taste quite as good as her version and I've probably got the ingredients and method wrong, but it's still a great dish and you won't find it in any take away this weekend.

Essentially the dish is a type of stew. The star ingredient though are the mushrooms which despite being quite expensive just ooze flavour as they soak up the sauce. With such strong flavours, it's best to serve with some simple pak choy and steamed rice.

Ingredients (for four) : whole chicken cut into pieces or a pack of thighs and drumsticks, 6 garlic cloves thinly sliced, 5cm stick of ginger finely sliced, handful of dried shitake mushrooms, 3 tbsp mushroom soy sauce, 2 tbsp oyster sauce.

1. Soak the mushrooms in about half a pint of hot water for about 20 minutes. In the meantime, toss the chicken pieces in 1tbsp of soy sauce.
2. Remove the mushrooms from the water and retain the liquor. Squeeze firmly until all of the water is out. The stems may still be hard and woody so trim. Chop roughly so that you have some sliced and some halved or even whole mushrooms.
3. Heat a casserole dish and add the garlic and ginger. Fry gently until fragrant, then add the chicken. Seal the meat and stir fry until nicely coloured.
4. Add the mushrooms and the remaining soy sauce and the oyster sauce and mix together. Then add the mushroom liquor and place lid on dish.
5. Simmer for about 30 minutes. Taste the sauce and season to taste by either adding more soy or a little water.
6. To serve, remove the meat and pour over the sauce which should be dark and rich.

The Pak Choy by the way is fried in a hot pan of oil infused with ginger for 2-3 minutes. You then add 50ml of chicken stock, 1tbsp of mirin and a pinch of sugar. Simmer for a couple of minutes and remove to a heated plate. Drizzle some sesame oil over the top.

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