Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The resurrection of Shantamama Chicken

It should aptly be called wonder sauce instead of oyster sauce. That is the simple magic behind this hearty chicken recipe (originally from my aunt, Shanta whom I lovingly call Shantamama) but I've changed this version slightly. This old recipe saw the light of day at a recent dinner party we hosted and was served with hot Sambal Prawns, S&P squid, Chinese-style mixed vegetables and steaming white rice.

To serve 4 (or 3 big eaters) gather round:
  • 500g of chicken pieces on the bone (half a whole chicken cut into small pieces will do)
  • 4 shallots chopped (you can use white or yellow onions but shallots seem tastier)
  • Good chunk of fresh ginger, sliced
  • 2 fresh red chillies, chopped
  • Wonder sauce (oyster sauce) - about 3 generous table spoons diluted in about 1.5 cups of warm water
  • some fresh chives, chopped (you can use spring onion leaves if you like)
  • thick soy sauce, just a dash
  • sesame oil, also only a dash
  • good quality corn or rice bran oil for shallow frying, about 3 or 4 tablespoons
  • salt and freshly cracked black pepper, as required. A good donation of pepper does wonders.
Heat the oil in a fry pan on medium-high and shallow fry the chicken pieces till about 60% cooked. They should be turning nice and golden brown on the outside. Remove chicken pieces from the pan and drain them on a plate lined with a paper towel.

There will probably be enough oil left in the pan, if not, add a tad more. Saute the chopped onions and ginger for a few minutes at medium heat till soft and the onions start to caramelise then add chopped fresh chillies. You must be getting this awesome aroma right about... now!

To this, return the fried chicken and stir fry. Pour in diluted oyster-water mix (hear for the noisy sizzle that dies down quickly) and mix well. Add just a tiny dash of thick soya sauce and stir through for a richer colour and flavour. At this point, add in chopped chives and check the seasoning and add salt as required. Cover and cook for about another 8-10 mins, until the chicken is done.

Turn off the heat and add a dash of sesame oil and freshly cracked black pepper. Mix well - and then all that's left to do is eat.

Wonder sauce is truly wonderful.

"Simple joys of meals,grateful am I indeedNever worry how next it comesBut always hope for a delicious feed"

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