Monday, October 27, 2014

Mouth Watering Chicken (口水鸡)

This is one Chinese dish that is a dichotomy to me for sure. A hot dish that is served cold. This dish was originally named bai kan ji (white chopped chicken), but in the 1990's it was changed. Guo Moruo a famous modern Chinese poet wrote about his childhood memories, and of the tender succulent slices of chicken in the spicy deep red oil. He remarked how just his memory, and thinking about this dish from his childhood made his mouth water. That is how this dish got it's recent name as mouth watering chicken. Here in the west, salad, and sometimes soups are usually the only time we serve a dish cold with the exception of dessert. In Chinese cuisine cold dishes are served as an appetizer, and are called "welcoming dishes", or "meeting dishes". Depending on the look and taste of the cold dish, it is said to influence a guests decision as to whether the impending meal will be good or not. Cold dishes in China are mostly prepared after cutting and seasoning, being especially particular about the matching of the ingredients, ones cutting skills, as well. Cold dishes tend to be characterized by superior ingredients, fragrant taste, crispiness, tenderness, bright colors, as well as clean and beautiful artistic designs.

Mouth Watering Chicken


1 whole chicken

1/2 cup Shaoxing/hua tiau wine

2 tsp Salt

6 sprigs of scallions

4 Tbsp sesame oil

2 Tbsp chili oil

1 tsp chopped Sichuan peppercorns

10 whole dried chilies

4 Tbsp chili paste

8 tbsp light soy sauce

4 Tbsp Zhenjiang vinegar

2 tbsp sugar

1 Tbsp finely diced ginger or ginger paste

1 Tbsp pressed garlic or garlic paste

3 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro

3 Tbsp whole roasted peanuts

1 Tbs roasted sesame seeds


1. Bring enough water in a pot to cover 1/2 of the chicken to a boil.

2. Add 4 sprigs chopped scallions cut about 1 inch long, with the Shaoxing wine to the water.

3. Boil chicken util it's tender to the touch, and cooked throughout.

4. Remove the chicken from the water and put it on a plate to cool, and rest until it is room temperature.

5. As the chicken is cooling heat the chili oil, sesame oil in a pan until extremely hot, and toss in the whole dried chilies, and chopped Sichuan peppercorns. Toss them in the oil until they are fragrant. Then remove pan from the heat.

6. Add in the light soy sauce, and Zhenjiang vinegar to the oil until it's mixed together completely.

7. Now add in the chili paste, sugar, ginger, garlic, and cilantro, and set aside to cool.

8. Remove the bones from the chicken, and slice chicken into 1/2 inch slices.

9. Pour oil/sauce mixture over chicken.

10. Sprinkle the roasted peanuts, and toasted sesame seeds over the top of the chicken.

11. Garnish with diced scallions, and cilantro sprigs.

12. Refrigerate for about 1 hour, making sure it's cold, and serve.

Cooks Helpful Hints:

Use boneless chicken breast, and thighs if you don't want to fuss with the bones. The chicken that's been deboned before the cooking process tends to hold it's shape, and stay together after it's been cut. I also pressure cook my chicken to insure the tenderness, but it's not necessary.

I've found that this dish is better the second day. The time in the refrigerator allows the seasoning, and oil to penetrate the chicken.


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