They say too many cooks spoil the broth so with me behaving like a bulldozer in a China shop in the kitchen, I stood out of the way and enthusiastically watched whatever my new mother-in-law was doing.
My sole contribution to this cooking fest was using eye power and documenting the recipe so that I may one day cook this dish on my own when Mr Mode and I have our own home.
Nothing beats home-cooked food, really. That feeling of coming home from work, and being told “dinner’s ready” is the best thing one can hear, every day. So while I am still living with my parents-in-law, let me learn all I can!
This Steamed Herbal Chicken with Huiji Tonic is surprisingly easy to make!
Ingredients: (serves 4)
- Half chicken
- Sesame oil
- Ginger slices
- Black fungus
- Lily buds)
- Huiji Waist Tonic
As you can see, there are absolutely no measurements for the spices and condiments coz when mothers cook and you ask them how much to put, they say ‘agak-agak’.
I tried to press it out of my mother-in-law and she finally said ‘maybe about half teaspoon for the sesame oil and pepper, one teaspoon of ginger slices’. (How to measure ginger slices in teaspoon?)
You also need to soak the dried black fungus and dried lily buds in water to soften and rehydrate them before use.
Go to the market and buy half a chicken, request to have it chopped into smaller pieces (it’s only at markets that you can do personalized requests). I learnt that if you want to cook curry chicken, you need larger pieces. For this dish, use smaller pieces.
Wash and marinate the pieces with sesame oil, pepper, salt, ginger slices, and Huiji Tonic. My mother-in-law left it for 15 minutes. Actually I think the longer the better, maybe next time I’ll try 1 hour, or even overnight as shown by some recipes online.
Then mix in the black fungus and lily buds.
I must confess this funny fact. I asked her what is the name of this (holding up lily bud) and she said something in Hokkien. Lol. So I wrote down ‘vegetable that is tied in a knot’. Then I Googled this whole term ‘vegetable that is tied in a knot’ and discovered that it’s called ‘lily bud’. Lily buds are also known as golden needles, which is called ‘gim zam’ (金针) in Hokkien.