Thursday, March 5, 2015

Mum's Ham, Abalone & Kailan Jade Chicken Recipe (火腿鲍鱼玉兰鸡)

A childhood favourite dish that Mum makes every special occasion till this day ever since I was young. Something I look forward to everytime I'm in Malaysia!

Very glad to have learned to make this dish from Mum

Happy Chap Goh Meh (aka last Day of Chinese New Year) to everyone!

Just in case you don't know, CNY actually last for 15 days in total... 15! How fun is that, right?

Suffice to say, there was lots of overeating involved the past 2 weeks. What else are you meant to do during this festive season anyway? Whether it's going over to my relatives' house for dinner, them coming over, friends coming over, or having meals at restaurants... It's great. Not just the food, but the catchups, really.

Anyway, very happy to be sharing a dish that is very close to my heart. This Ham, Abalone & Kailan Jade Chicken (火腿鲍鱼玉兰鸡) is featured in our home in Malaysia almost every Chinese New Year or Winter Solstice Festival without fail (the 2 major feasting festive occasions). Most Jade Chickens only have the ham sandwiched with chicken. But what Mum does to make this dish extra special is to make it with abalone too, which can be quite expensive (AU$70-100 per can), and also why we only have it on special occasions. It's quite expensive but it's for that fact that we appreciate this dish even more, because it's such a treat. 

For instance, I bought my chicken for AU$20, and canned abalone for AU$88, so this dish actually costed me more than AU$100 to make. That's my family tradition anyway, but you can totally make this without the abalone and make the sauce with the chicken stock -- just as yummy! The other thing why Mum's version is so delicious is that she insists on using the best possible quality chicken she can find. For instance, the chickens she buy are corn fed, free range and of a certain breed that is known for its silky meat texture and bright yellow skin. The cost of these chickens in Malaysia can be 4 or 5 times more than the normal chicken and can even go up to 3kg each. It's sensational. I bought my chicken from South Melbourne Market. 

The thing that makes this dish quite unique as well is the method used to poached the chicken. Mum's method of heating/cooling the chicken in short bursts helps tighten the skin, which retains its shape and texture very well. Besides that, I love Mum's method of leaving the whole chicken in the pot for an hour with the stove turned off to let it cook slowly in the residual meat. Let me tell you, this really did WONDERS to the moisture and texture of the meat. My cousin ate this in disbelief at how moist the chicken was that day, especially the chicken breast! I highly recommend this whole poached chicken method.

Anyway, I am very, very happy to have finally learned this dish from Mum that I have loved for so many years. This was actually my first attempt of making it and so happy by how well it turned out! Everyone really enjoyed it that day. Traditional Chinese home cooked recipes like these (or the Chinese 8 Treasure Duck, Sour Plum Duck, etc) really are my favourite recipes to share, because of how close they are to my heart. It's so personal to me and I think people enjoy reading about them too because they tend to be the more popular visited pages on the site.

So, yay for another Chinese New Year specialty dish to share! Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. It's so special and means a lot to me.

Cheers! Or shall I say, Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Here are some of the other dishes I prepared for my relatives when they all came over for CNY dinner:

My late Grandma's Dried Oysters, Red Dates & White Carrot Soup

Recipe: here

Mum's Deep Fried Prawns

This recipe is the BEST! Recipe: here

Chinese Scrambled Egg White with Crab Meat & Dried Scallops

Recipe to follow!

Fried Garlic Chives with Chinese Sausage and Tofu

Ham, Abalone & Kailan Jade Chicken (火腿鲍鱼玉兰鸡)

Easy Roast Pork with Crackling
(served with spicy Hoisin sauce)

This recipe is a WINNER too. Recipe: here

To end the night, my cousin made me this Dark Chocolate & Orange Entremet Cake as well as an early celebration for my birthday. So, so sweet of her...


Mum's Ham, Abalone & Kailan Jade Chicken

(an original recipe by Mum)


Poached chicken:
1 large chicken (best quality you can find)
Pot of water
1 large knob ginger (sliced)
8 cloves of garlic (crushed)
2 tbsp salt

Oil rub:
4 tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp salt

1 can abalone
1/4 tsp grated ginger
1/4 tsp sugar
1 tsp corn flour + 1/4 cup water
5 large slices ham
1 large bunch kailan (poached, to serve)
Coriander (to garnish)

*Note: You can omit the abalone altogether if you wish and just make the sauce out of the chicken stock

1. Using a kitchen string, tie the chicken around the wing and through the cavity with a loop at the end so you can lift the chicken easily.

2. For the poached chicken, fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil.  Add in the ginger, garlic and salt and allow to boil for 10 minutes.

3. Lifting the chicken with the string, dip the whole chicken in the pot and allow to boil for 3 minutes.

4. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside on a plate. Bring the pot of water to a boil again before placing the chicken back in the pot for another 3 minutes. Repeat this step one more time. You should have boiled the chicken in water for 3 minutes a total of 3 times.

5. Turn off the heat immediately and leave the chicken in the pot for an hour, covered. Note: If you find later on that the chicken is still undercooked (mine wasn't) when cutting it up, just place it back in the pot for a little while to boil.

6. Mix the oil rub in a bowl. Remove the chicken from the pot after an hour and rub the oil rub all over the chicken. You can reserve the chicken stock for other use.

7. Bring all the contents of the canned abalone in a pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove the abalone pieces for use later. Add in the grated ginger, sugar, corn flour and water and bring to a boil. Once the sauce is thickened, switch off the stove and set aside for later.

8. Slice the thigh and breast meat off the chicken into 1cm thick pieces. Slice the abalone thinly as well as the ham to match the sizes of the sliced chicken meat. 

9. To serve, arrange the sliced chicken, abalone and ham meat on a plate. Arrange the poached kailan around the plate and pour the abalone sauce over the entire plate. Garnish with coriander. Serve immediately with rice.

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