A succulent chicken with delicious Chinese mushrooms is enough to make anyone’s mouth water…
This dish is not only easy to make, but it will look so delicious that no one will be able to say no to trying it and its explosive flavors.
This dish is inseparable from mushrooms. The authentic chicken stew with mushrooms combined with a hazel mushroom produced in the northeastern forest region of China is an unmatched flavor. The mushroom Armillaria Mellea live in the woods of middle and low altitude areas and is one of the few strains that are still unable to cultivate artificially. This is why these mushrooms are so sought after and so delicious.
I did not find hazel mushrooms, because they are so rare, and instead found an alternative, the French-made Black Trumpet. This funnel-shaped mushroom, like Hazel mushroom, has a very strong aroma. This is primarily used with chicken. Along with fried rice, the flavors are unmatched. The only draw-back, is these ingredients are sometimes expensive.
To make this dish more cost-effective, you can use dried mushrooms. Usually, shitake mushrooms are a favorite, but you can also use your preferred mushroom.
Every winter in the coldest time of December, Heilongjiang, in the northeast of China, is particularly cold. All the free-range chickens, ducks, and geese will be killed. The hens will not lay eggs unless moved to a warm room, and the rest have either been saved for Chinese New Year or frozen to be eaten.
To make an authentic dish, I choose to use corn-fed chickens that have also been raised as free range. The chicken meat will be a bit different in color, but do not fret- this is a natural and healthy chicken meat.
This is what I have found to be the most effective recipe for an all natural chicken about 1 kilo or less; and now let’s get our hands dirty!
Deboning and Cleaning the Chicken:
Step 1: First cut off excess fat and skin from the outside of the chicken. Use a sharp knife to align with the chicken’s thigh with the torso, and separate the legs. Then do the same and remove two chicken wings.
Step 2: Sticking your thumb down the neck of the chicken and grabbing the outside with your fingers: pull the meat out and cut down the joint with scissors. This will separate the chicken breast from the back of the chicken. Also, laying the chicken on it’s back, using a knife to slice down either side of its breast bone will separate breasts . Afterwards, use a knife to cut the joints of the chicken thighs and calves and cut them. Separate the two chicken legs and then cut the chicken wings into three sections.
Step 3: The cleaned chicken pieces are like this:
Next, we prepare the marinade for the chicken:
Step 4: To prepare the mushrooms, put all the dried mushrooms in a strainer, rinse with cold water, then put them in a large bowl, add warm water, and soak for 30 minutes. Pull them from the water, but don’t drain the water from the mushrooms and set it aside.
The next step is to Fry the chicken:
Step 5: The whole dish is based on the flavor of mushrooms and the chicken itself. There are not many spices used, so you will only taste red pepper, star anise, ginger and green onion. Before frying the chicken, slice the ginger (not more than one-third of the size of the picture) and chop the green onions.
Step 6: Take a large frying pan (because chicken has bones inside, do not use Teflon coated non-stick pan to avoid scratching the surface). Add a proper amount of vegetable oil after the pan has warmed up for two minutes so, so that the entire pan is covered with oil.
Step 7: Put the cleaned chicken into the pot and stir until the surface of the chicken is mostly turning golden color.
Step 8: Add the ginger, green onion, star anise, and red pepper. Stir well.
Step 9: Add 50 ml of dark soy sauce and mix. This will make the colors darken and more vibrant.
Step 10: Add about 5 grams of raw sugar to sweeten the chicken.
Step 11: Let the chicken stew with the mushrooms so they can incorporate the flavors. I use Rum instead of cooking wine, because rum has a stronger, sweet flavor that matches the chicken and mushrooms. Rum is a strong spirit made from sugarcane, so it will not only add a sweet flavor, but also a kick to your dish.
Step 12: Add mushrooms that have been drained and dried, and stir fry until the mushrooms and chicken are mixed evenly.
Step 13: Add the rest of the water from the drained mushrooms, and use fresh water to bring the liquid of the pot to a high enough level to submerge the ingredients. Bring the liquid in the pot to the boil, cover with a lid, and lower the temperature to medium. Simmer for 30 minutes. After this process, it can be served. It is best when it is steaming hot!
The beauty of this dish is to make chicken and mushroom best friends. Both of the main ingredients will complement each other, and you will find yourself sipping your bowl until it is empty!
A few tips:
1) Choose the freshest mushrooms you can find: whether it be hazel mushrooms or other mushrooms, you will definitely notice a difference in the flavor
2) Put the soy sauce first and then put the mushrooms, because the mushroom has a strong water absorption, if you put soy sauce after, it will lead to salty mushrooms and the result of the chicken is too light.
3) You can buy local chicken. You can use chicken legs instead of whole chickens. Broilers with chicken breast will make the meat more moist, the point is to buy the freshest ingredients possible.