How to make Chinese food Braised Chicken Rice?
we wanted to show you how to make a dish that’s become increasingly popular here in China, Huangmenjimifan – braised chicken rice.
Now this is a dish that’s originally from the Shandong province, and is at its base is basically some chicken braised with sweet
bean paste and soy sauce.
Recently though, there’s been a huge swath of Huangmenji joints opening up around the country, led by one chain in particular called “Yangmingyu”.
Their version’s a bit different than the very most traditional Shandong Huangmenji, but it tastes great and might as well go along
with the culinary zeitgeist, so today we’ll be making this fast-food version.
How To Make Chinese Food Braised Chicken Rice?
So right, to get started with braised chicken rice, you’ll need chicken.
Here we had 500 grams of chicken thigh – the traditional Shandong type would use a whole chicken, so you could just also do that.
Now, this is one of that Chinese poultry on the bone dishes – I’d heavily recommend just sucking it up and learning how to eat around bones, but if that prospect does scare you feel free to whole use chicken wings?
They’re a little harder to eat in the end but still work ok.
But assuming you’re ok with some cleaving, grab a thigh, cut off a couple of chunks of extra meat to make it more even, and with force chop it up.
If your cleaver ever sticks into the bone, just keep it in and smack the rest of the thigh down against your board.
Alternatively, if you want an easier time cleaving, you could also get some wings and just chop each part in half definitely
easier to start out with.
Now with those cleaved, marinate that with 1 tablespoon each of light soy sauce, liaojiu a.k.a. Shaoxing wine, and cornstarch.
Give that a real thorough mix, and set aside for at least 15 minutes.
Now, before we get into the other ingredients, I have a bit of a Mea Culpa.
This is Dacong – it’s one of the go-to aromatics in Northern China.
I’ve been calling it ‘leek’ because, you know, it looks a lot like leek and it’s what everyone else translates it as.
Dacong though is Allium Fistolum and much more closely related to scallion than a leek, which is Allium ampeloprasum (am-pel-o-pra-sum).
These’re used in Korean and Japanese cooking too, but if you can’t find them, just use the white part of some scallion instead.
One inch of Dacong should be equal to about one of these white portions.
So with that out of the way, we’ll be frying this with one inch of crushed ginger, about 5 inches of that Dacong, so you can sub with
5 scallion whites, and two-star anise.
Now this is the Jiangxiang flavor profile, which relies on two heaping tablespoons of Tianmianjiang sweet bean paste, which’s
interestingly neither sweet nor made from beans, two tablespoons of light soy sauce, and two tablespoons of granulated sugar.
Then for the braising liquid, this fast-food version usually uses the soaking liquid from reconstituting dried shiitake mushrooms – so
that was four mushrooms, reconstituted in a half a liter of hot boiled water for about one hour or feel free to use cool water and soak for eight, then tear the mushrooms into smaller pieces, and be sure to keep that liquid.
Now, some fast food Huangmenji joints – at least here in Shenzhen, seem to love to load up on the dried chilis and make this spicy.
Totally feel free to add a few if you want, but we personally prefer it with a more clean, isolated Jiang Xiang flavor, so the only chilis we’re adding are half a green and red mild chili cut into sections to just finish things off,and feel free to swap for the bell pepper instead.
Before stir-frying, we’re going to pass this chicken through oil.
Now I know a lot of people tune out whenever we do this step but this really doesn’t need that much oil.
It’s almost more of a shallow fry, two cups of oil would definitely be enough.
So get that oil up to a blistering 200 centigrade, and drop in the chicken pieces.
What we’re looking for is the exterior of the chicken to get to a sort of reddish-brown hue, so feel free to alternatively stir-fry
this chicken too, just make sure that it looks basically like this in the end.
For us, this was about three minutes over the max flame, so take out the chicken, and let the oil strain out.
Now, to stir-fry.
As always, first longyau – get you to wok piping hot, shut off the heat, add in the oil – here about two tablespoons – and give it a swirl to get a nice non-stick surface.
Flame on medium now, immediately go in with the aromatics and the star anise.
Fry those til fragrant, about forty-five seconds, then scooch them up the side of the wok and add in the tianmianjiang sweet bean paste.
Fry that for about thirty seconds until it ever so slightly starts to stick to the wok, then pour a tablespoon of liaojiu aka Shaoxing
wine over your spatula and around the side of the wok.
Give that a quick fifteen-second mix together, then do the same move with your light soy sauce.
Combine, then go in with the sugar and let that dissolve in, about 15 seconds.
Then, pour in your now-strained mushroom soaking liquid up your flame to high, add in the chicken, the mushrooms, and about a quarter teaspoon of white pepper powder, and get that all up to a boil.
Now, you can totally keep this going in here,but for wok seasoning management, we personally chose to swap this into a claypot.
But either way, cover, then keep at a heavy simmer for about 20 minutes.
20 minutes later, our liquid has reduced by about one quarter.
So because we wanted to really go all out and mimic those fast food joints, we chose to then transfer that to four individually
portioned clay pots.
I know you probably won’t walk that mile with us, so just keep things uncovered and boil on high until reduced by one half in
At that point, season with an optional quarter teaspoon MSG, and thicken with a slurry of teaspoon cornstarch mixed with a tablespoon of water.
Then nestle in your peppers, drizzle in a teaspoon of toasted sesame oil, cover, and serve.
Be sure to eat this alongside some white rice to sop up all that braising liquid, and with that, your Huangmenji braised chicken rice
So if you’re having this at fast food joints, you can choose to add more stuff to it, for example, you can do enoki mushrooms, potato chunks, tofu puffs, daikon, whatever.
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