Empress Herbal Chicken
Clockwise from top – garlic, Tong Sum, Chin Kung, Wolfberries, Licorice Stick slices, Dried Longans, Dried Red Dated. Centre – Wai San Slices
Good afternoon, my dear friends
Ah, it has been such a wonderful and relaxing 1 1/2 weeks for me whereby I didn’t have to cook and was simply very laid back being a couch potato, catching (errr…more like being addicted! :lol: ) a few series of Hong Kong Chinese drama! :roll: In a way, I was just being the “Empress” of my palace…errr….home and dictating the way things are done rather than chasing after my chores and having them rule me instead! :roll:
Anyway, school was off and I have also taken my children to the shopping malls many times and that was also one of the excuses that I used for not having to cook. So, really, being a homemaker does have its advantages after all…….
So, what more befitting than a recipe for you today called “Empress Herbal Chicken”, which is actually a simple and easy recipe for a really nutritious steamed chicken dish. Usually, when I don’t want to spend too much time over a hot stove and the weather is too hot to have fried or baked foods (too heaty and may cause sore throats or gums), I’ll make this dish as it is my family’s favourite, too.
This dish is more commonly known as “Emperor Chicken” and the herbal mix bag to cook this can be purchased at any grocery stores and supermarkets, but my family never liked that commercial taste and prefers me to use whole herbs. You can call it by any name that you like, e.g. Janey’s Herbal Chicken, or Prosperity Chicken………in my case, I like to name it after me – Empress Herbal Chicken!
6 whole chicken legs, or 1 whole chicken
3 tbsps oyster sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp rice wine, or any wine
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 whole bulb garlic, separated into cloves, skin on
2 cups water (more if you like more gravy)
3 tbsps cooking oil
(Note – usually I use the follwing herbs for this recipe, but some of them were not in the picture above. You can adjust them to suit your tastes)
1 heaping tbsp “Chin Kung” (good for blood circulation, a blood tonic)
3 slices of Tong Kwai (a blood tonic, good for those with menstrual problems)
1 large handful of Tong Sum (improve one’s “chi” and stamina, good for those always feeling tired)
3 tbsps wolfberries (high in antioxidants, good for improving eyesight and eyestrain)
6 Licorice Root slices (good in soothing throats and reducing phlegm)
1/4 cup dried longans (good for inducing restful sleep, for insomniacs)
1/4 cup of dried Red Dates
5 slices Wai San (Chinese Yam – good for kidneys and lungs)
1) Clean and wipe dry chicken. Marinate with the ingredients mentioned above. Set aside for a few hours, of if you have no time, then massage the chicken longer.
2) In a wok, heat up the oil and put in the garlic cloves. Stirfry for 2 minutes.
3) Lower heat to medium and put in the herbs. Keep stirring to prevent burning as the herbs are dry and do this for about 2 – 3 minutes until the herbs are aromatic and have a “smoke” smell.
4) Add in the water, bring to a boil – then lower heat, cover the wok and simmer for about 20 minutes. At this point, you can add more water if it dries up and check for taste by adding more oyster or soy sauce, a bit of sugar and salt. Thicken with some cornstarch-water mixture if you want a thicker gravy.
5) Pour the herbal sauce over the chicken in a casserole, and steam over high heat for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to medium and steam for a further 40 to 50 minutes, depending on how soft you like the chicken meat to be.
Serve hot with freshly cooked white rice. This dish tastes even better the next day and usually, I’d make a large batch of this recipe.
Hope you like the taste of this Herbal Chicken!