It’s been more than 10 days since my last post. Yikes! I really don’t have any excuses. Sorry. I shall hang my head in shame now.
I have been cooking though! I just haven’t been taking any pictures because the weather has been so grey and depressing. That translates to poor light so I didn’t even bother to take any pictures. The skies finally cleared yesterday and I could take a couple of semi-decent pictures of this drool-worthy dish.
As you may or may not know, my parents came to visit a couple of weeks ago and I took them to one of the more authentic Chinese restaurants I know in Bern. It was there that I tried Ko Shui Ji (口水鸡 ) for the first time. And boy, was I glad I tried it. Hand on my heart, it’s the ONLY way I eat boiled chicken anymore (I’m sure it’s just a phase). My mum could not contain her amusement while she watched me devour the dish.
So what is it? The name does not give away much. Literally translated, Ko Shui Ji means Drool/Saliva chicken. Eeeew!!! Who came up with that name?? I know, right? But the story goes that someone in Sichuan came up with this name because the mere thought/sight of the dish would trigger a free flow of drool. Another explanation I found is that it’s so spicy, you can’t stop the drool flow. I can tell you from experience that both explanations have been proven right. Although, they could have come up with a less disgusting, albeit hilarious, name.
The dish itself is very simple. Have you ever noticed that the simplest dishes are the tastiest?? It’s just boiled chicken smothered in a soy-vinegar-chilli oil sauce. But oh my god!! Seriously, try it.
So you know I’m lazy, right? And also, I don’t have access to a lot of ingredients. So more often than not, I’ll substitute with whatever I have on hand (instead of going out to buy it). The red chilli oil recipe calls for chilli powder and I honestly didn’t know what kind to use. There are SO many!! So I put a handful of dried chill in the food processor and blended them as fine as I could without burning the motor out. This gave me the heat I was looking for but not the colour. I needed something finer for the intense red. This is where my genius kicks in (I can be so full of myself sometimes). I added Korean hot pepper flakes and it was perfect. I swear I did a happy dance in the kitchen.
*edit: DanS suggested making this with turkey in keeping with Thanksgiving and I have to agree. Drizzle the sauce over leftover turkey and voila! Drool Turkey! Yeah, it still doesn’t sound right. I bet it’d taste just as awesome though.
Ko Shui Ji 口水鸡
Adapted from Tzu-I Chuang
- 1 whole chicken leg
- 2 slices of ginger
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 stalk green onion, cut into 4-inch pieces
- 2 Tbsp Shaoxing wine
- 1 cup bean sprouts, picked
- 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
- 1 tsp crushed peanuts
For the sauce:
- 3 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp Chinese black vinegar, NOT balsamic
- 1 tsp sugar
- ¼ tsp grated garlic
- ¼ tsp grated ginger
- 2 Tbsp red chilli oil (see below)
For the red chilli oil:
- 1 cup of rapeseed oil (or any neutral tasting oil)
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2 slices of ginger
- ½ stalk green onion
- 2 Tbsp chilli flakes (from blending dried chillies)
- 1 Tbsp Korean hot pepper flakes
- 2 tsp szechuan pepper
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- ¼ tsp salt
Red chilli oil:
- In a small heavy-bottomed pan, slowly heat the oil on medium heat. When the oil is hot, but NOT smoking, add the garlic, ginger and green onion and leave it to simmer until garlic & co. start to turn golden. Remove from heat and leave to cool for about 1 min.
- In a small bowl, combine chilli flakes, pepper flakes, szechuan pepper, sesame seeds and salt. When oil has cooled, add in the chilli/pepper mix and stir well. You’ll see the oil slowly turn red. Leave to infuse for about 10 minutes.
- Strain the oil into a separate bowl and set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the sauce and set aside.
- Bring a pot of water to boil and add the bean sprouts. Boil the sprouts for 1 – 2 mins until just tender. Fish out the sprouts and place on serving plate. Set aside
- In the same pot, drop the chicken leg into the boiling water along with the garlic, ginger, green onion and wine. Cook, covered, for 10 mins. Turn off heat and leave the chicken to sit in the pot for another 8 mins.
- Remove the chicken from the pot and plunge it in a bowl of ice water. This sets the skin and gives it back its elasticity.
- Remove chicken from the water bath and if you like, de-bone it before slicing into bite-sized pieces.
- Place chicken slices over the bean sprouts, drizzle sauce all over and garnish generously with crushed peanuts and roasted sesame seeds.