• Prep Time 40 minutes
  • Cook Time 30 minutes
  • Serving For 4 People
  • Difficulty Normal
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Recipe Description

Ingredients

Soy-braised shiitake mushrooms with silken tofu:
2 cups master stock (see recipe below)
12 Chinese dried shiitake mushrooms
2 tbsp mushroom soy sauce
1 knob ginger, sliced
½ tsp sesame oil
250g fresh silken tofu*
v3 green onions, washed, trimmed and cut into 5cm lengths
1 packet fresh oyster mushrooms

Master stock :
2 litres water
1 cup light soy sauce
1 cup shao xing wine
150g yellow rock sugar, crushed
1/3 cup ginger, sliced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
6 green (spring) onions, washed and trimmed
½ tsp sesame oil
4 star-anise
2 cassia bark or 1 cinnamon stick
3 pieces dried mandarin peel or orange peel*

Soy-braised chicken :
1 x 1.7 kg free-range chicken
2 litres master stock (see recipe at left)
8 pieces lotus root*
1 bunch bok choy
jasmine rice, to serve

Method

Soy-braised shiitake mushrooms with silken tofu:

  • Soak the shiitake mushrooms in hot water for 1 hour. Drain, and cut off and discard the stems, which will not soften. Heat the master stock in a pot with the shiitake mushrooms, soy, ginger and sesame oil. Bring to the boil and reduce to a gentle simmer for 45 minutes.
  • Slice the tofu into 6 rectangular pieces and gently slide on to a plate. Place in a steamer over boiling water and cook for about 10 minutes, or until hot.
  • Add the green onions to the braised mushrooms and simmer for a few minutes until wilted, before adding the oyster mushrooms. Cook for a couple of minutes, then check the seasoning; you may need to add a little water if it has become too reduced or some soy if it needs salt.
  • Slide the tofu on to a serving platter and pour the braised mushrooms around the outside. Serve with fresh egg noodles or rice, or as an accompaniment to whole steamed fish, roast chicken or lamb or even a beef stir-fry.

* Silken tofu can be found in the refrigerated section of Asian grocers, and at some supermarkets

Master stock :

  • Combine all the ingredients in a large pot and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and gently simmer for 30 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse.
  • Use in recipes such as those given here, or simply strain, cool and freeze. The flavours will deepen and improve with each use. Every so often, add some more of the same ingredients to replenish the stock.

* The peel should be without any bitter pith and dried slowly in an oven on very low heat.

Soy-braised chicken :

This dish needs the freshest, best chicken you can find and a delicate approach, as the flavours are subtle and the tenderness of the chicken relies on a very gentle simmer. Enjoy the chicken hot, warm or even cold.

  • Rinse the chicken in cold water and remove any excess fat.
  • In a pot large enough to fit all the liquid and the whole chicken, bring the master stock to the boil.
  • Peel and slice the lotus root and immediately add to the master stock (to avoid discolouration). Carefully lower the chicken, breast side down, so it is fully submerged in the stock. Allow the liquid to just come to the boil, then reduce to a very gentle simmer. Skim the surface and cook for 45 minutes, then remove the pot from the stove. Cover and allow the chicken to steep in the hot stock for 2 hours. This will complete the cooking process, deepen the colour of the skin and intensify the flavours.
  • Using tongs, gently remove the chicken to a chopping board, being careful not to tear the skin. Remove the thighs and cut in half through the bone, then slice the breast meat into pieces.
  • Reheat a little of the stock in a pan with the lotus root; add the chicken pieces and gently warm them.
  • Meanwhile, cook the jasmine rice according to the instructions on the packet and steam the bok choy until tender. Serve immediately.

* Lotus root is the bulb of the Chinese lotus or water lily, and has a mild, sweet flavour, crunchy texture and a very pretty appearance. It can be found fresh or frozen in Asian grocers.

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