Is there a Nyonya dish called Sek Chicken? Not that I know of...
I have tried Googling for an answer but has no clue at all with this Nyonya name.
I know. I know. I will ask. Let me ask Joyce from Kitchen Flavours and Lena from Frozen wings... Like me, Lena can't find any information about Sek Chicken but Joyce knew everything!
"Try Google for Sek Kay..." That's what Joyce said but Google can't tell me much about sek kay too... Never mind. I don't even need Google anyway because Joyce knows all. Everything that she describes how she cooks Sek Chicken is exactly the same as how the recipe from the book, Florence's Tan Best Nyonya Recipes cooks.
Based on Joyce's and the recipe, Sek Chicken is a braised soy sauce kind of chicken dish with bean curd puff and hard boiled eggs. Typically, it is cooked with shallots, galangal, star anise, cinnamon stick, cloves, dark soy sauce, light soy sauce and sugar. Traditionally, it is best to enjoy this dish with homemade chilli sauce and so I like to make mine from scratch too. Joyce also mentioned that this dish can be cooked with pork belly as Sek Bak but I like to cook mine with skinless and boneless chicken thighs.
Is Sek Chicken the same as Lor (meaning braised) Chicken? NO! I was confused initially, thinking that they are the same and they are not! As mentioned in the same book, Florence Tan has an almost-similar version of braised soy sauce chicken dish called Lor Chicken which uses no galangal and shallots and contains no bean curd and eggs. The gravy of Lor Chicken is very different being a thicker and syrupy finishing sauce.
Traditional Nyonya or not, we are loving this dish... for homely style and its rich braised soy sauce taste. What should I cook next? Lor Chicken!
|Nyonya Sek Chicken|
|Unlike Lor Chicken, this dish is cooked with galangal and lots of shallots.|
|A few preparation steps before cooking... First, marinate chicken with soy sauce and sugar.|
|Shelled hard boiled eggs|
|Drain and set aside the bean curd puff to cool|
|One more thing to do before cooking...|
|Finally, I can start cooking...|
|Only the premium soy sauce, please!|
|Add water and allow to simmer for 20 to 30 minutes|
|Now, it's time to make my own chilli sauce!|
|Add both bean curds and hard boiled eggs and cook until gravy is thick... Ready to feast?|
|This is ultimate! Eating Sek chicken with homemade chilli sauce is a must!|
Here's the recipe from the book, Florence's Tan Best Nyonya Recipes by Florence Tan
(with my modification and notes in blue)
Serves 8 (to 10)
1.5 kg chicken, cut into pieces
(I used 1.5 kg skinless boneless chicken thigh fillets)
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar
16 pieces fried bean curd puffs (tew pok)
(plus 350g high protein firm tofu)
150 ml cooking oil
(I used only 1/4 cup of canola oil)
galangal, 1.5-2-cm knob, peeled and sliced into five 3-mm slices
20 shallots, about 200g, peeled and finely blended
4 cups or 1 liter water
(I added 3 1/2 cup)
6 hard boiled eggs, shelled and halved
(I added 8 x 60g size eggs)
1 cinnamon stick, 1.5cm length
2 star anise
4 1/2 tbsp dark soy sauce
(I like to cook this with the best quality dark soy sauce for its deep caramel flavours)
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tbsp light soy sauce
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
120g fresh red chillies, seeded and finely blended
(I used a mixture of 6 large fresh chillies plus a handful of extra hot little chillies which are 120g in total)
5 cloves garlic, peeled and finely blended
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp kasturi lime juice
(I used just an ordinary lime, not kasturi ones)
6 tbsp sugar
100g ground peanuts, toasted and finely pounded
(I didn't add that)
Salad leaves a handful
Marinate chicken with light soy sauce and sugar for 1 hour.
Blanch fried bean curd puffs in boiling water for 3 mins. Drain and set aside to cool. Squeeze dry of water and cut into halves.
Heat oil in a wok (or a large and deep cooking pot) Fry spices for half a min. Add galangal and shallots. Fry until fragrant, Add marinated chicken and fry for 3 mins. Add water and seasoning. Bring to a boil.
Lower heat and simmer for 20 mins.
Meanwhile, combine all ingredients for chilli sauce.
Scoop 250 ml (1 cup or slightly less) gravy out of the wok into a bowl. Mix with chilli sauce. Set spicy sauce aside.
Add fried bean curd puffs and hard boiled eggs into the wok. Continue cooking until chicken is tender and gravy is thick. Remove from heat and transfer chicken pieces onto a serving dish first, then pour gravy from saucepan over chicken.
Garnish with salad leaves and serve with spicy sauce.
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