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Monday, October 22, 2012

Chinese Cilantro Scallion Dipping Sauce 芫茜姜葱油

This is a dipping sauce that I have come to love ever since I first had it at the house of my brother's mother-in-law. She made this to serve alongside the poached chicken that she made for dinner that very night, more commonly known as the 白切鸡 in Chinese, literally means the white sliced chicken. While I have never been a big fan of chickens served that way, I definitely had a little more than my fair share that very night, all thanks to the dipping sauce that paired so very well with the dish. My perception towards the dish took a change for the better that night after, and noticing my change in taste, mom soon started re-creating the same at home, which I truly loved all the same, if not any more. 

Cilantro is one of the many things that I have come to accept and adore only many years later in my life. I definitely had hated them when I was a kid, for a while too long in fact. As with plenty others - the eggplants, bitter gourds, beansprouts, cockles, green beans (man, that really is a lot! lol), cilantro, ginger and a whole lot other spices especially those with distinct pungent flavors are those that I had never learned to appreciate then. I probably can never explain what changed me over time, or more specifically my taste perceptions towards these. Whatever about them that disgusted me back then, they certainly no longer are these days. Acquired taste? Very likely indeed.

Moving here, both poached and steamed chickens are some of the few that I do enjoy making every now and then at home. I had since been trying endlessly to re-create this dipping sauce myself, having gotten verbal instructions from mom through the phone even. Sadly each time they were not even close to the one that made me fell in love with in the very first place. So with each try and disappointment, adjustments were done and after bouts of trials and errors, this is what I could finally bring myself to agree with. 

cilantro, spring onion, ginger and garlic
Having reserved a big half portion of the poached chicken I made earlier for the Ipoh Bean Sprouts Chicken 芽菜鸡, this dipping sauce was all that I needed to prepare to serve alongside the leftover chicken, creating yet another scrumptious meal on another night. With just a few basic ingredients, chopping was probably what took the most energy and time out of me to get this done. With that taken care, everything else came easily after that. Apart from the usual ginger garlicky dipping sauce that is often seen served with chickens prepared these ways, this is one that will guarantee a satisfaction, definitely worth a fair try.

Chinese Cilantro Scallion Dipping Sauce 芫茜姜葱油
Makes about 1 cup
1 handful big bunch of cilantro, roots trimmed off, rinsed and drained then chopped finely
2 stalks spring onions, chopped finely
7 cloves garlic, hard parts removed then chopped finely
1½" ginger, skin peeled and chopped finely
1½ tbsp soy sauce
a pinch of sugar
2½ tbsps cooking oil

finely chopped cilantro, ginger, garlic and spring onion

1. Heat up about 2 tbsp of cooking oil in a skillet. Begin with putting in the chopped ginger to fry. Once fragrant probably after a minute or so, add in the garlic and continue stirring well.

2. Bring in the spring onion next. Stir to mix well before introducing the cilantro into the skillet. Continue to stir for another minute or two.
3. Add in the soy sauce by slowly dripping them down a little at a time around the skillet for a more even distribution.
4. Pinch in a bit of sugar, drizzle in the rest of the cooking oil, stir well and dish up.  


  1. i see only five cloves of garlic in your picture. =P


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