even the name itself when written or said, makes the water in my mouth to ripple in the form of Niagra Falls up to the Tsunami itself (this also happens when Scarlett Johanssen is present too)... i've been dreading and wishing that once day i could muster up myself to create this wonderful dish that i can never forget... and it finally came true today.
cooking it is fairly easy. its just using a whole chicken that scares me. well, the fact that i used to be able to finish one whole chicken before doesn't really help when i am this old already. my stomach has never been the same although my sense of yearning on local foods back in Brunei never ceased. after a few weeks of maintaining my food intakes, i saw today was the best time to make this dream project a reality.
one whole chicken, 3kg is more than enough for yourself plus one.
ginger, i chose one which was as big as my palm.
scallions, 2 pieces is ok, chopped into 1 inch pieces.
salt to taste
(you will also need sesame seed oil and soy sauce (light is better) for the finishing touches.)
for the boiling process, you may add carrots, chilli, celery, small amounts of fennel (not too much or else the anise-y flavor of the fennel might overtake the ginger)... i also added 3 cloves of garlic.
frankly, even without the additional ingredients, it is already more than enough to make the chicken taste to what i can remember how it tastes back home. the only reason why i added it is because i wanted to use the water (which will be combined together to boil the chicken) as stock for future purposes... e.g. soups, sauces etc.
clean the chicken thoroughly, cut off excess fat if necessary, dont' you dare take the skin off! thats important for taste as well. some chickens are clean enough but some still have that yellowy thin layer which you can get rid off by rubbing salt on it. similar to doing a facial cleansing, and it opens up the pores of the chicken skin so the essence from the ginger, scallions etc will penetrate the meat making it much much mucho grande better. wash off the salt after that.
boil water (half full, half empty) in a big pot that can fit the whole chicken and as soon as it seems to bubble up, add some salt... a teaspoon should do (you can add extra ginger, scallions and the additional ingredients in as well). while waiting for it to boil, stuff the ginger (peel off the skin of course) as well as the chopped scallions into the cavity of the chicken. rub some salt over and sprinkle some in the cavity too. don't worry too much about it being salty because the chicken will be cleaned again when its fully cooked.
once the water boils, put the heat to medium-low and plunge the whole chicken till the water covers it all up. if part of it isn't submerged, don't worry, you can turn it over later. i cooked it for at least 30-45 mins and due to the fact my chicken wasnt fully submerged, i turn it over by poking the handle of my spatula or anything long and hard (oh you did not think that... you did, did ya??? pervert!) poke it into the cavity and slowly lifting it up and turning it over. i did that just once in the whole process of boiling the chicken.
just a few minutes before time is up, prep a big bowl a fill it with cold water, add ice to make it much more colder (d-uh). again, using the handle of your spatula, lift the chicken, drain the excess stock from the cavity, and plunge it immediately to the cold water to stop it from cooking further as well as to tighten the skin. leave for another few minutes.
the broth or soup or stock or whatever it is, you can use it in several ways. i choose to store it by putting it into a bottle or plastic zip pocket and freeze it to be used in another time. if i'm not mistaken, it can still be stored (hygienically) up to 2 or 3 months. you can use it as a side soup dish together with the chicken rice. oh yeah, you can also mix it with chili peppers to make a dip for the chicken you just made, i'll explain that later. you can also use it to make the rice. instead of using water to cook rice, use the stock. add a bit or margarine or butter as well to increase the texture and smell as well as taste.
after that, you can use your imagination. chop it up... slice it up... carve it... or just simply rip it apart. do what you fancy. i cut the chicken in half, carefully not tearing the skin too much. i kept the other half (i intend to roast or grill it the next day) and put it in the fridge.
place it nicely on a plate, drizzle a bit of sesame seed oil... a good amount of soy sauce... u can shove under it a few slices of cucumber if you have any (i forgot about the veges)... and as you know it, you've made yourself and your tummy really happy!
the chili sauce, blitz using a blender some chicken broth, chili peppers, salt, sugar and garlic... i didn't measure the amount as i relied mostly on my tongue. you should do it too... don't mess up your mind with measurements unless you're doing pastry (which i will do in the next cooking session).
my quote of the day:
you will never make any good if you don't try to do it.