I am more of a rice than noodle person. Comfort food to me is usually a bowl (ok, I use a plate) of hot steaming rice topped with a mouth-watering curry or stew.
And this was what my friend had in mind too when she invited us over to her place for dinner.
She had promised us chicken mushroom stew (the Chinese kind), and when we sat down to eat, she brought out this big black curvaceous pot, which as we soon found out, was filled with tender chicken pieces, juicy mushrooms and aromatic gravy or “chap” as we Hokkiens say. This we poured over fragrant rice…. and of course we had several servings.
I chased her for the recipe, which she gave only after many weeks cos she had to translate all her “aggaration” into proper measurements.
I have tried this recipe twice. First time, I used shitake mushrooms and thick sweet black sauce. The result was that the gravy became a bit too sticky and the mushrooms of course were not so juicy.
I switched to dried Chinese mushrooms the second time and used the normal dark soya sauce. The consistency was better and the dish of course had a more authentic flavour with Chinese mushrooms.
I don’t think I got very close to what she served us. Still, my versions both times round were good enough, so here’s the recipe.
Note: 2kg of frozen chicken seems like a lot! Make sure your wok is big enough to fry them. But they will shrink when cooked.
2kg frozen chicken wings (cut into 2; wings & drumlets. Sadia brand is preferred by my friend)
10-15 pcs of Chinese/Jap Mushrooms (soaked, then pressed & drained of water)
3 tbsp Light Soya Sauce
1 tbsp Dark Soya Sauce
4 tbsp Oyster Sauce
2-3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp Sesame Oil
1-2 tbsp Chinese Wine
3 thumb-sized ginger (grate two-thirds for the juice, & slice up the remaining one-third & set aside.)
1. Marinade the chicken pieces for at least 4hrs. Overnight would be even better.
2. Heat up pan/work. Add 1tbsp oil & 1tbsp sesame oil into it (to prevent too much smoking of the sesame oil). Stir in the sliced ginger pieces. After a few min, the edges of the ginger pieces would brown up nicely.
3. Add in the mushrooms and stir-fry for about 3-5min. Remove from pan/wok.
4. Turn up the heat, and add in the drained chicken pieces (ie. without the marinade liquid). When the chicken pieces are sufficiently browned (about 5-10min), add in the mushrooms & the remaining marinade liquid. Add sufficient water to submerge about 70% of the meat & mushrooms.
5. Cover the pan/wok. When it starts to boil, lower the flame and let simmer for 1-1.5hr.
6. Just before turning off the flame, check the taste of the sauce. You may want to adjust with sugar and salt. Or thicken it with cornflour mixture.
7. Alternatively, you can use a Thermal Cooker to reduce the amount of cooking over the stove. The chicken pieces would also tend to stay intact. Adjust taste first before putting into cooker. Also, add lesser water; about 50%. (trial & error on your own thermal cooker!)