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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Braised Chicken with Mushrooms and Fried Tofu Puffs 香菇豆包焖鸡肉

This braised chicken with mushrooms and fried tofu puffs makes a classic home-cooked dish. So classic you can hardly see it printed in the menu, let alone served in most Chinese restaurants. But this is a dish commonly seen in typical Chinese homes. Probably not the exact version, but definitely one closely resembling this in one way or another. Simple ingredients with nothing much fancy, this makes a very appetizing dish that will definitely remind you of your childhood and all the home-cooked meals you used to have growing up at home.

There can be an endless variations to this. Apart from the fried tofu puffs and shiitake mushrooms, their places can be well taken by tofu, fried bean curd sticks or the wood ear fungus even . With the light soy sauce being the main ingredient constituting the gravy, it comes balanced with a tad of sweetness coming from the sugar and of course, the natural sweetness from the chicken. This dish goes exceptionally well with a bowl of rice. That tames the saltiness, counterbalancing the overall flavor. This is a case where simplicity is truly at its best! Whether to include a small bundle of the glass noodle is optional. But do try incorporating a small amount of these carbs into the dish. You will be amazed by how well they taste as they absorb the gravy so packed with flavor and taste. 

Braised Chicken with Mushrooms and Fried Tofu Puffs 香菇豆包焖鸡肉
Serves 3-4
3 chicken thighs, skinned and fat trimmed, chopped into 3-4 smaller pcs each 
16 fried tofu puffs
5 fresh shiitake mushrooms (or dehydrated shiitake rinsed and soaked to soften), thickly sliced
2oz glass noodles, soaked in warm water to soften
1" ginger, skin removed and sliced thickly
4 cloves garlic, skin and hard parts removed then crushed
3 stalks spring onion (just the white parts), cut in 2" sections, lightly crushed
1 tsp light soy sauce
a pinch of sugar
1/2 tbsp cooking oil
3 stalks spring onion (the remaining green parts), chopped for garnishing

oops, the garlic just decided to go missing in action :p

Meat marinade
5 dashes of white pepper powder
2 tsps light soy sauce
1/2 tbsp Shaoxing wine
1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp corn starch

Seasoning (mix in a bowl)
3 tbsps light soy sauce 
2 tsps Shaoxing wine
1 tsp dark soy sauce
2 tsps rock sugar
2 cups water 

1. Marinade the chicken slightly ahead of time. Leave refrigerated until cooking time.
2. Bring a pot of water to boil. Bring in the fried tofu puffs. Using a pair of chopsticks, compress and deflate each fried tofu puffs. This will lightly remove the oil layer coating these tofu puffs. Briefly blanch them for about a minute and remove from heat. The tofu puffs should have soaked up plenty of the water by now. To drain, working on one puff at a time, place it in between two Chinese spoons. Press down lightly and squeeze as much water out as possible. Set them aside.

3. Heat a pot with the cooking oil on high. Once well heated, add in the ginger, garlic and the white parts of the spring onion. Let fry until they are fragrant and lightly browned.
4. Add in the chicken next. Stir to mix and cook until they are at least half done.
5. Pushing the contents in the pot to one side, bring in the mushrooms followed by a tsp of light soy sauce and a pinch of sugar. Briefly stir before tossing to mix with the chicken. Bring the fried tofu puff back into the pot.
6. Gently pour in the seasoning, stir to mix and bring to boil.
7. Cover and turn the heat down to medium-low. Let simmer away for at least a good 30 minutes. 
8. Just right before serving, add in the drained glass noodle. Let the noodle soak up the gravy undisturbed for a few seconds. Toss to mix everything well. Refrain from adding more seasonings at this time. The flavor will start to intensify naturally as the water reduces and the content a little drier.
9. Dish up, garnish and serve. 


  1. I had this dish (Or something similar) before a while ago and remembered it for a while, but didn't know how to make it. Oh my god, I made this recipe tonight for dinner and it was DELICIOUS!! Even better than what I remembered. It's so comforting and simple to make. And also, I think this recipe was perfect, I followed it to a t and wouldn't change anything. I think your advice to not over-season at the end is good, the flavor does really develop after it sits for a little while.

    1. I'm really glad to hear that! Thanks for making my day with your feedback! :)


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