I probably should eat more tofu. It is packed with tons of protein.  Even though the taste is very bland, there is something wonderful about it that I love.  I used to have a lot of tofu dishes growing up.  One of the tofu dishes that I love is stuffed tofu.  Whenever I came across a street vendor that sold deep fried food, I would order a couple of the deep fried stuffed tofu.  It was crispy outside and soft and moist inside.  It was steaming hot and I almost burn my tongue every time eating that.  I could also find the same dish from dim sum restaurants.  The pan fried it instead.  Now that I’m on diet, I made the healthy steamed version instead.  Actually the tofu was usually stuffed with ground fish meat.  But I couldn’t find any ready made ground fish meat in regular American grocery stores.  And I wasn’t sure I wanted to try grounding it myself.  So, I decided to use shrimp instead.  I don’t have a food processor.  I was just chopping the shrimp into smaller pieces and then chop a lot more times to make it into a paste.  I remember seeing mom did that when I was kid. I know that is do-able.  I added some chopped onion with the ground shrimp meat.  It turned out very delicious.  I was proud of myself.  It’s an easy dish to make. I was happy that I’m eating healthier.

Mix chopped onion, ground shrimp and seasoning in a bowl
Cut tofu into thick slices
Spread shrimp mixture over tofu
Put the tofu into the steamer
Steamed Stuffed Tofu
Steamed Stuffed Tofu

Ingredients (Serves 2):

  • Tofu, 1 pack
  • Shrimp, ½ pound (You don’t need large shrimp, just get some smaller ones cos it is going to be ground anyway)
  • Onion, finely chopped, about 3 tablespoon
  • White pepper, a dash
  • Chicken powder, ¼ tsp
  • Salt, a dash
  • Soy sauce, 1 tsp
  • Sugar, ¼ tsp
  • Sesame oil, a few drops
  • Chopped scallion, 1 stalk (optional for garnish)

Steps:

  1. Finely chopped onion.  Put it in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Shelled and cleaned shrimp.  If you have a food processor, blend the shrimp into a paste.  Or you can just cut the shrimp into small pieces first, then keep chopping it until it turned into a paste.  It doesn’t take long, a few minutes will do.  Add shrimp to the mixing bowl.
  3. Add a dash of salt, white pepper and chicken powder into the mixing bowl.  Mix the shrimp, onion and everything together.  Put it aside.
  4. Prepare the steamer.  Put enough water in the steamer.
  5. While waiting for the steamer to get ready, cut tofu into thick slices about 1 inch thick.  Lay it flat on a plate that will fit into a steamer.  Or you can put it two pieces of aluminum foil like I did.
  6. Spread the shrimp mixture onto the tofu to make a thin layer.
  7. What the water boils, put the stuffed tofu into the steamer.  Steam with the lid on for about 8 mins.
  8. In a small bowl, mix the sauce: add soy sauce, sugar and a few drops of sesame oil.
  9. When the stuffed tofu is done, discard excess water from the dish.  Then drizzle the sauce over it.  Add a few diced scallion for garnish if desired.  Serve hot.

I was thinking about making wontons originally. I got the wonton wrappings, which are the yellowish ones, not the white wrappings.  I got some shrimp, some ground pork. I was ready.  But then I changed my mind.  Hm.. how about making steamed siu mei instead?  I actually have never made siu mei before.  But I thought the ingredients are kind of similar.  I was gonna be adventurous and gave it a try.  A friend of mine always says that there is always a first time for everything.  So true.  I did it!!  The wrapping or shaping of the siu mei was so easy.  There was basically 0 technique involved.  I made it last night, it was very good, and I made again tonight 🙂  And you know what?  As lazy as I am, I really think that the siu mei is much easier to make than wontons because I can just steam them after they are shaped, and 18 minutes later, they are done.  There is no boiling of wontons on one pot, and making another pot of soup, or checking if the wontons stick together or to the pot.  Well, may be when I got more time, I’ll make wonton from scratch.  For now, I enjoy the steamed siu mei.

Wonton wrappings
Put ground pork, chopped shrimp and mushroom in a bowl
Put generous filing in a wrapping
Fold the edge of the wrapping up like a cup cake
Put siu mei in a steamer
Steamed Siu Mei

Ingredients (Make about 15):

  • Wonton wrappings, 1 pack (Get the yellow wonton wrappings instead of the white ones.  The white wrappings are ok, they are just thicker)
  • Ground pork, ½ pound
  • Shrimp, about 1/2 pound
  • Dried shiitake mushrooms, 3 (or 5 or 6 fresh shiitake mushrooms)
  • Egg white, 1
  • Oyster sauce, 1 tsp
  • Soy sauce, 1 tsp
  • Chinese cooking wine, 1 Tbsp
  • Garlic, 1 clove
  • Sesame oil, 1 tsp
  • Chicken powder, 1 tsp
  • Sugar, 1/2 tsp
  • White pepper, a dash

Steps:

  1. Soak dried shiitake mushrooms in a hot water for 30 minutes or until they are softened. Or you can pre-soak them and leave them in the refrigerator overnight.  Or you can use fresh shiitake mushrooms instead.  Dried shiitake mushrooms have a strong mushroom taste.  I used the dried one here.  When they are softened, finely chopped them, and put them in a big mixing bowl.
  2. Finely chop garlic, add it to the mixing bowl.
  3. Add ground port into the mixing bowl.  Add soy sauce, oyster sauce, Chinese cooking wine, chicken powder, sesame oil, sugar and a dash of white pepper.  Mix it well.  Put it aside.
  4. Peel and clean shrimp.  Cut it into small pieces. You can then finely chop it if you prefer. That’s what I did.  It looks like a chunky paste.  Add the shrimp to the mixing bowl.
  5. Break an egg, and just add the egg white to the mixing bowl.  Mix everything well.
  6. Prepare a small bowl of water, put it aside.
  7. Prepare the steamer.  Add enough water in the steamer. Start boiling the water.
  8. Prepare a plate the can fit into the steamer.  Or you can use two pieces of aluminum foil and foil it like a container that will fit.  Spray oil on the plate/foil to prevent the siu mei from sticking.
  9. While you wait for the steamer to get ready, you can start wrapping the siu mei.  Get a piece of wonton wrapping, put it on your left hand.  Then put one tablespoon of filing and put it in the middle of the wrapping. Leave a little space on the edge.  Use your finger to dip a little bit of water on the edge of the wrapping.  Then fold the edge of the wrapping up like a cup cake.
  10. Put each siu mei on the plate.  For the best result, leave space between siu mei.  In my case, I was too lazy to steam them two times, there wasn’t much space between them. They end up sticking a bit. But that’s ok. I didn’t care. They still tasted good 🙂
  11. Put siu mei in the steamer.  Steam with a lid on for 18 minutes on high heat.  Serve hot. You can serve it with a little bit soy sauce or chili sauce on the side.  BTW, you can freeze the leftover wrappings.  Just defrost them before you use it next time.

It’s a lazy Sunday, and I’m not playing golf today.  I played yesterday, I totally sucked.  It’s alright, I’ll keep doing it cos I need some regular exercise anyway.  I weighed myself the other day, and I wasn’t happy about it.  I have to do something.  I am going to eat more fish or seafood and cut back on the meat.  I was so tempted to get a piece of steak at the grocery store yesterday but I talked myself out of it.  I haven’t made salmon for a long time.  So I got a piece of salmon, and some veggie.  I usually cook the salmon on a grill or pan fried it.  That was very yummy and juicy.  One time my coworker went to a grocery store near work.  He told me that we can get cooked fish from the fish counter. I was shocked.  We went there, we each picked a piece of fish (uncooked, of course), then the guy at the fish counter would cook it for us with no extra cost, either deep fried, or steamed.  I bought a piece of salmon there, and I had it deep fried.  I was worried that they steamed it too long and make it dry.  I have never had steamed salmon before. I wasn’t sure if it would be good or not.  My coworker had his salmon steamed with some spices.  He cut a small piece for me to try.  It was not bad, a little bit dry as I predicted. LOL.  Yesterday I thought I may try to steam the fish myself, and add some Chinese flavor in it.  I added some black bean sauce, and steamed it for just under 10 mins.  The fish was very moist.  I liked it.  This morning, I put some leftover in the congee.  It was really delicious and healthy.  Besides, I did kick my own ass and did an hour p90x. I felt GREAT!!

 SteamedSalmon1

 
Add black bean sauce mixture
Add black bean sauce mixture

 

  

Add scallion after the fish is cooked
Add scallion after the fish is cooked

  

Steamed Salmon with Black Bean Sauce
Steamed Salmon with Black Bean Sauce

Ingredients (Serves 2):

  • Salmon, about 1 pound
  • Black bean sauce, 1 tsp
  • Oyster sauce, 1 Tbsp
  • Soy Sauce, 1 tsp
  • Water, 1 tsp
  • Black pepper, a dash
  • Cornstarch, 1 tsp
  • Scallion, 2 stalks

 

Steps:

  1. Prepare the sauce first.  Finely chop the garlic. Put it on a bowl.  Add black bean sauce, oyster sauce, soy sauce, black pepper, water and cornstarch to the bowl.  Mix them well.
  2. Prepare a steamer:  Add enough water to a pot.  Bring it to a boil.
  3. If the fish filet is very thick (say an inch thick) like the one I got, you can use a knife to cut a few slit on the fish so that it will get cooked faster.  Put salmon on a plate that will fit into the steamer/pot.  I just fold a piece of aluminum foil as a container.  It works too.
  4. Pour the sauce onto the fish.
  5. When the water boils in the steamer, put the fish in the steamer and let it steam with a lid on for 9 mins.
  6. While the fish is steaming, cut the scallion into thin strips or dices.  Put it aside.
  7. After 9 minutes, add scallion to the fish.  Put the lid back on.  Count 30 seconds. Turn off the heat immediately and serve.

I came across a video that showed the fancy Wolf Integrated Steamer in the kitchen.  I wish I could afford a Wolf stove. But you know what? As fancy as this steaming device is built into the kitchen, it somehow looks complicated to me.  Steaming doesn’t need to be this complicated.  I’m not a gadget queen.  I stick with very basic pots and pans.  That reminded me that I owe my friend Sally a Steamed Water Egg recipe.  She asked me a few months ago when I just started this blog.  I made this dish last night.  It was a good timing for me to make more steamed dishes cos now I decided to exercise again and get healthy.  I literally translated the name of the Cantonese dish into English.  You can guess that it is a very basic dish – steam the water and egg mixture, that’s pretty much it.  But it is a very authentic and comforting Cantonese dish.  If you add sugar instead of salt to the dish, it’s like the egg custard, which could be a dessert.  I only learned how to make this dish a few years back from my mom.  She was fuzzy about the look of the dish, making sure that there were no bubbles when pouring the egg mixture to the serving plate for steaming….  Mom, I don’t care about these!  LOL.  I made this dish like a dozen of times now.  But I didn’t write down any recipe, so the results were inconsistent.  Sometimes the eggs get too overcooked, sometimes I added too much water,  sometimes the surface got too many bubbles, sometimes the dish was no taste,… So I made the dish again last night and it turned out very good, and I got to write down what I did.  I modified mom’s recipe.  I skipped the “getting rid of the bubbles” step. LOL.  I added some diced scallion on the surface.  The weight of the scallion killed the bubbles.  Pretty smart, right? ;p  The texture was very good too. It was like silken tofu.

Put eggs in a container. Use the eggshell as measuring unit.
Put eggs in a container. Use the eggshell as measuring unit.
Pour egg mixture in a serving bowl
Pour egg mixture in a serving bowl
Put egg mixture in a pot for steaming
Put egg mixture in a pot for steaming
Add soy sauce when it is done
Add soy sauce when it is done
Steamed Water Eggs
Steamed Water Eggs

Ingredients (Serves 2):

  • Large eggs, 3
  • Hon Dashi or chicken powder, 1 tsp (I used Hon Dashi last night. Hon Dashi is a Japanese Fish Stock powder)
  • Scallion, 1 or 2 stalks (optional, it’s perfectly fine if you skip this)
  • Water, 9 units (each unit is a half eggshell)
  • Salt, a dash
  • Cornstarch, ¼ tsp
  • Soy sauce, 1 tsp

 

Steps:

  1. Chop scallion into small dices, put them aside.
  2. We’ll be steaming the dish. You need to prepare a big pot with a lid, and a serving bowl that will fit into the pot.  If you have a fancy steamer, then you’ll all set.  Add sufficient water in the pot.  Boil the water first.
  3. While waiting for the steamer to get reader, prepare the egg mixture.  Use a large bowl or container, break 3 eggs and add them in it.  Save a half eggshell and use it as measuring unit.  For each egg, add 3 half eggshell of water to the container.  So we have 3 eggs here, total of 9 half eggshell of water.
  4. Add Hon Dashi or chicken powder, cornstarch and a very small pinch of salt to the mixture.  Mix it well.  Yes, you’ll see bubbles while mixing it.
  5. Get a shallow serving bowl.  Pour egg mixture to the bowl.  If you are fuzzy about the bubbles of the mixture, you can get rid of them with a spoon.  I didn’t do that cos it didn’t bother me.
  6. Sprinkle scallion dices to the surface of the mixture.  Put it aside.
  7. When the water boils, BE CAREFUL of the heat, put the bowl into the pot.  Cover it with a lid (or a piece of aluminum foil if you don’t find a lid that fits).  Let it steamed for 15 minutes on medium heat.  After 15 minutes is due, turn off the heat.  Let the dish sit in the pot with the lid on for another 5 mins before taking it out.
  8. To check if the dish is cooked or not, run a small knife through the mixture and pull the knife out.   The knife should not have any egg stick to it.
  9. Add a teaspoon of soy sauce to the surface of the dish.  Serve hot.

Rush rush rush… I rushed home after a long day, and got about 45 mins to cook and eat dinner before my conference call with my school mates at 8pm.  I could have been lazy and got pizza or take-out on the way home, but I talked myself out of it.  I really want to eat something healthy.  Actually, I was pretty of proud of myself today because I also talked myself out of having burgers and fries for lunch.  Instead, I got sushi at the cafeteria.  Despite that it was yucky (ya, what do you expect from a cafeteria??!!), it was still much healthier than greasy fries.   Tonight, I made Steamed Chilean Sea Bass.  It was sooooo good.  I’m not a big fish fan.  My mom made steamed fish for every meal when I was a kid, and I was sick of it.  She couldn’t go without fish.  Now that I realized how healthy it is and how easy to make it, I started to like it.  It took me about 20 mins to make the dish tonight!  I remember I asked one of my coworkers once how he keeps himself so lean.  He said he runs 6 miles per day, he eats fish and veggies , and no meat.  I can’t do the no-meat thing nor run 6 miles a day, but I could try eating more steamed fish.

Put ginger strips on the fish first
Put ginger strips on the fish first

 

Add scallion after the fish is cooked for 10 mins
Add scallion after the fish is cooked for 10 mins
Steamed Chilean Sea Bass
Steamed Chilean Sea Bass

Ingredients (Serves 2):

  • Chilean Sea Bass, about 1 pound (or you can use whatever white fish)
  • Ginger, 5-6 slices
  • Scallion, 3 steams
  • Soy sauce, 2 teaspoons
  • Dark soy sauce (optional), a few drops

Steps:

  1. You need to defrost the fish first if it is frozen.  I usually leave it out at the kitchen sink and let it defrost naturally a few hours before cooking.
  2. Prepare a steamer.  Add enough water to the steamer.  Boil the water with high heat.
  3. While you are waiting for the water to boil, put the fish on a plate/container that fits into the steamer.  Put it aside.
  4. Cut ginger slices into thin strips.  Put the ginger strips on the fish.
  5. When the water boils, put the fish in the steamer.  Use high heat.  Cover it and steam it for 10 minutes with the lid on.  Set your timer.
  6. Now the fish is in the steamer,  you can cut the scallion into thin strips.  Put it aside.
  7. When the time is up (ie, the fish is cooked for 10 minutes), put the scallion on top of the fish (see picture).  Put the lid back on.  Count 30 seconds.  Open the lid. Turn off the heat.  Take the fish out from the steamer. The 30 seconds is good enough for cooking the scallion.
  8. There may be a lot of water coming out from the fish in the plate.  Disgard most of it and leave a little bit (like 2 or 3 Tbsp) left.  That could dilute the soy sauce that we are going to add in the next step.
  9. Put fish on a serving plate if you prefer a different plate (whatever you like).  Then drizzle 2 teaspoons of soy sauce on the fish.  You can put less soy sauce if you prefer. Or you can mix 1 tsp soy sauce with 1 tsp of dark soy sauce, too.  Dark soy sauce gives a nice darker color.

MUST serve HOT!

February 21, 2010

It was nice to have a guest speaker in class today. I just wished she could have speeded up the pace.  I was sitting in class and thinking I would not be able to get out in daylight. It was so slow and boring.  I couldn’t help thinking of something else.  I started to write down a shopping list, things that I needed to get from a Chinese grocery store nearby.  I didn’t really make anything special to celebrate the Chinese New Year other than the Chinese Drunken Chicken dish.  I felt like I needed to make up somehow.  I made Steamed Garlic Shrimp tonight.  This is my sister’s signature dish.  She always make this whenever we have guests over for dinner.  One time I helped her prepared this dish while she made something else.  Instead of chopped garlic, I put a bunch of chopped ginger.   Of course, you can imagine how surprised and not happy she was when the dish was cooked.  I screwed up big time!  She didn’t trust me in preparing any dish for her after that 🙁

   

 

Butterfly the Shrimp
Butterfly the Shrimp
Lay shrimp on a foil
Lay shrimp on a foil

  

Put garlic and scallion mixture on top
Put garlic and scallion mixture on top
Steamed Garlic Shrimp is so yummy
Steamed Garlic Shrimp is so yummy

Ingredients (Serves 2):

  • Big shrimp with shell (pawn would be even better) 3/4 pound
  • Garlic, 2 cloves
  • Scallion, 1 stem
  • Salt, a pinch

Steps:

  1. Finely chop the garlic and scallion.  Put the mixture in a small bowl.  Add a pinch of salt. Mix it well.  Put it aside.
  2. Keep the shell on.  Devein the shrimp by cutting a small slit at the back of the shrimp, and pull out the vein with the tip of a small pairing knife or a tooth pick.
  3. Use a pair of scissors.  Trim off the legs of the shrimp.  To butterfly the shrimp, cut a slit in the center of the shrimp.  See picture. 
  4. If you have a steamer and a plate that can fit into the steamer, you are fine. You can put the uncooked shrimp on that plate.  Otherwise, you can try what I did.  Use a piece of aluminum foil, put the shrimps in one layer on the foil. 
  5. Use a small spoon, put a little bit of the garlic and scallion mixture on the shrimp. 
  6. Foil the edges up to make a rectangular container.  Add a second layer of the foil make the container more sturdy.
  7. Add enough water in the steamer.  Let the water boil first.
  8. When water boils, add the shrimp to the steamer.  Cover it with a lid and steam for 10 mins.  Check after 10 mins if it is cooked.  If not, cook it for another 2 mins.  Turn off the heat. Remove the shrimp from the steamer immediately cos you don’t want to overcook it and have rubber shrimp instead.

Serve hot.  Enjoy.

 

 

Kung Hei Fat Choi again 🙂 It’s still the week of the Chinese New Year. Yay, we celebrate it for a week. LOL.  I missed the Chinese New Year banquet at work.  So I decided to make myself a special dish – Chinese Drunken Chicken – to make up my loss.   This dish is so easy that you would not believe it.  You steam the chicken, make a wine sauce, soak the chicken in the wine sauce overnight. That’s it.  I made it once when I was in college many many years ago.  My American roommate tried it, and she loved it. I was so surprised. I assume most Americans don’t like steamed chicken meat or anything that doesn’t look cook.  My friend said her ABC brother (American born Chinese if you haven’t heard of the term before) doesn’t like steamed chicken because of the same reason.  Oh well.. to them, I can only say they are missing a lot of good dishes.  I’m making this dish because I want to start off a new year with healthy food.  Fatty needs to lose weight, no more excuse.  Traditional Drunken Chicken is made of whole chicken (with skin and bone). I’m showing you a fast + healthy version with boneless skinless chicken breast meat.

Put chicken breast on a foil ready for steaming
Put chicken breast on a foil ready for steaming
Make pouch for steaming
Make pouch for steaming

 

Creative steaming rack using two pairs of chopsticks
Creative steaming rack using two pairs of chopsticks

 

Soak chicken in wine sauce
Soak chicken in wine sauce

 

Drunken Chicken, yummy
Drunken Chicken, yummy

Ingredients (Serves 2):

  • Chicken breast meat, 1 pound (I used boneless Chicken finger meat just for convenience, you can use thigh meat, or even a whole chicken with bone and skin, that’s the traditional)
  • Chinese cooking wine, 1/2 cup (If you have the Chinese Rose wine, that’s the best)
  • Fish sauce, 1/4 cup (sorry, no substitute here)
  • Salt, 1/2 tsp
  • Sugar, 1 tsp
  • Water, 1 to 1.25 cup

Steps:

  1. We are preparing to steam the chicken.  If you have a steamer, that’s perfect.  I don’t have anything fancy, so I’m getting creative to make my own steaming device.  LOL…  Put chicken meat in a big piece of aluminum foil (see picture).  Then fold the edges to make a pouch.  Use a second piece of aluminum foil to wrap around the pouch. This will prevent water from getting into the chicken during steaming.
  2. Put enough water in the steamer.  Use high heat, boil the water first.  In my case, I put two sets of chopsticks in a pot as a steaming rack.
  3. When water boils, add the chicken in the steamer and steam it (with a lid on) for 25 mins.  Set your timer.   If you are not sure if you have enough water in the steaming, check it after 15 mins or so.
  4. Take the chicken out.  Be careful it is extremely hot.
  5. Cut the chicken into bit size pieces.
  6. Now make the wine sauce.  We need a container with a lid because we will be soaking the chicken in the sauce overnight in the refridgerator. 
  7. Mix the wine, fish sauce, sugar, salt and water in a container.  Taste it. It should be slightly salty, not too salty.
  8. Put the chicken pieces in the wine sauce.  Make sure the chicken pieces are fully submerged in the sauce.  Add a little bit of water if needed, and adjust the taste.
  9. Leave the chicken in the container covered in the refridgerator overnight, a good 24 hours would be even better.

Serve COLD.  YAY, this is one of weird cold dish. But if you are not ready to eat cold chicken, you can put it in the microwave for 30 seconds to make it room temperature.

Could be the stress or worries on my new job, I felt the need for something basic, something that gave me comfort and soothed my mind.  I turned to a few dishes that I loved when I was a kid.  Besides mom’s Steamed Chinese Chicken, I always love her Steamed Chinese Chicken in Black Bean Sauce.  It tasted so good that I had to lick the plate every time I had it.  Ya, I know, I was not supposed to do that. That was totally bad table manner.  Oh well, I was a kid.  What did I care?  LOL.  Anyway, this is a perfect dish to make when I am super busy.  All I need to do was mix the chicken with the sauce, then steam it.  I set the timer, and I could forget about it until it is done.  Hm.. does that soundslike some infomercial?  LOL.  Seriously, you would love steammed chinese dishes if you know how easy it is.   

 

Creative Steaming Rack
Creative Steaming Rack

 

Steaming Pouch
Steaming Pouch

 

Steamed Chinese Chicken with Black Bean Sauce
Steamed Chinese Chicken with Black Bean Sauce

Ingredients:

  • Skinless Chicken meat (dark or white) 1 pound.  I prefer skinless and bonelss thigh meat for this dish.
  • Red pepper, 1
  • Dried shiitake mushrooms. 5 whole mushrooms or a handful if they are pre-sliced.
  • Lee Kum Kee black bean sauce, 1 Tbsp
  • Sugar, 1 tsp
  • Chinese cooking wine, 1 tsp
  • Corn starch, 1 Tbsp
  • Soy sauce, 1 tsp

Steps:

  1. Put dried shiitake mushrooms in warm water in a microwave-able bowl.  Put it in the microwave for 3 minutes.  This is a fast version/short cut.  Or you can soak it in warm water for 25 minutes or so.  Remove the mushrooms, and slice them in thin slices. 
  2. Cut red pepper into small pieces, like 1.5 inches.
  3. Cut chicken into bite size cubes, like 1 to 1.5 inches long.
  4. In a big mixing bowl, put the chicken in it. 
  5. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl. Mix it well. 
  6. If you have a steamer, add enough water to the steamer, boil the water.  Put the chicken in a plate that can be fit into the steamer.  Wait until the water boils, add the plate inside the steamer and steam with a lid on for 30 mins.
  7. Note: if you don”t have a steamer. You can do what I did:
  8. Put two pairs of Chinese wooden chopsticks in a pot. I used the chopsticks I got from the Chinese take-out, see the picture.  Put enough water in the pot.  Boil the water.  If you don”t have a plate that fit into the pot, you can put the chicken on a large aluminum foil.  Then seal the edges of the foil to make a pouch.  Use a second piece of aluminum foil to wrap around the pouch to prevent water from getting into the chicken (see the picture).  Put the aluminum pouch in the pot on top of the chopsticks when the water boils.  Steam with a lid on for 30 mins.

Today, my coworker asked me when would I post receipes for Chinese comfort food.   I was like “hm.. do we have chinky comfort food?” LOL.  He was referring to dishes like Lop Cheung (Chinese cured meat sausage), Jing Yuk Beng (Steamed Minced Pork) etc.  Ya, those are good stuff.  And they also fit my category of the poor man’s food cos they are totally non-fancy family dishes.  To me, I would immediately think of my mom’s Steamed Chinese Chicken for comfort food.  This is one of the most common Chinese dishes.  If you have ever been invited to any Chinese banquet, like someone’s wedding, or birthday, Steamed Chinese Chicken would be one of the dishes, another one would be Steamed Fish.  Maybe I’ll post a recipe for Steamed Fish later.  Mom made Steamed Chicken probably once a week.  She used a wok to steam it.  When it was done, she put the cooked chicken on a round butcher block.  She put a newspaper on the floor, then lay the butcher block on it. She grabbed her Chinese cleaver, and cut the chicken in halves, and then raised the cleaver high in the air, and dropped it quickly to chop each piece.  The chopping was easier to watch than done.  Mom asked me a few times to cut the chicken when she was busy.  I tried to imitate her, but it would take me 2 or 3 cuts to separate each piece.  If I don’t get it in the first cut, then the second cut may not land in the same spot, which you can imagine some pieces were bigger, some smaller, some had a lot of broken bones….  These days, I would make a whole chicken sometimes, but I learned how to use a pair of scissors instead.   Here is a picture of the Steamed Chinese Chicken made by mom when I visited her last time.

  

Mom's Steamed Chinese Chicken
Mom's Steamed Chinese Chicken

Ingredients:

  • A whole chicken, about 3 or 4 pounds. You can substitute this with legs and thighs, or even breast meat. 
  • Scallion, 3 stems
  • Ginger root, a small piece, about the length of  your pinky
  • Salt
  • Sesame oil, 1 tsp
  • Cooking oil, 1 Tbsp

Steps:

  1. Prepare the dipping sauce ingredients: Cut the ginger root into thin slices first, then thin strips, then very finely pieces like puree.  Put it in a small bowl/plate.
  2. Cut scallions into small pieces, and then chop it finely.  Add it to the ginger root.  Put it aside.
  3. Rinse the chicken thoroughly, get rid of the internal organ stuff.  Use a few paper towel to pat it dry.
  4. This step is optional.  Sprinkle a pinch of salt on the chicken.  Use your hands to rub it evenly on the skin.
  5. If you are using a wok, put a metal or bamboo steamer stand in the wok.  Add water to about the level of the stand.  If you are using a steamer, make sure the steamer is big enough to fit the whole chicken. Otherwise, cut the chicken in halves before steaming.
  6. When the water boils, put the chicken in a plate and then onto the steamer stand if you are using a wok.  If you are using a steamer, put the chicken in the basket.  Cover the wok/steamer with a lid.  If you don’t have a lid, you can use aluminium foil and cover it tight.
  7. Steam for about 30 mins on high heat.  On the side, boil a pot of hot water just in case you need to add more water to the steamer/wok if the water level is getting low.  Check the water level after 15 mins.
  8. Carefully remove the chicken from the wok/steamer. It would be steaming hot!  Let the chicken sit for 5 or 10 minutes.
  9. Optional: Use a brush and brush a teaspoon of sesame oil on the chicken.
  10. When the chicken cools down a little bit, you can cut it into pieces.  If you don’t have much experience using a Chinese cleaver to cut meat with bones, I would recommend you to use a pair of kitchen scissors instead.  It’s much easier with the scissors.
  11. To prepare for the dipping sauce, heat up a tablespoon of cooking oil in a frying pan.  Use medium heat.  When you see steams/smoke, turn off the heat.  Add the ginger root and scallion mixture to the pan, you should hear a sizzling sound.  Add a generous pinch of salt to the mixture.  Put it in a dipping sauce bowl/plate.