Monday, March 26, 2018

Easy Healthy Home-style Chinese Five-Spice Soy Braised Chicken and Eggs

My husband is an old-fashioned man and I know that he loves eating home-style traditional food. And one of his favourites is this Chinese / Nyonya / Hokkien five-spice soy braised chicken and eggs.

For him, I have learned well enough to cook this dish from scratch. Trust me! It's very easy to cook this comforting and healthy dish and I will show you how...

easy healthy Nyonya Chinese five-spice soy braised chicken eggs
This is one of my husband's favourites...
Five-Spice Soy Braised Chicken and Eggs

A home-style Nyonya-Hokkien-Chinese influenced dish that is comforting to eat for all seasons.

Years before, I used to buy ready-to-use packets of soy-braised spice mix at the Asian grocery shops specifically to cook this dish. Then one day, I was horrified to discover that the spice mix is actually full of salt and MSG!!! Ewww!

Gosh! From that day onward, I told myself that I would never use those packet spice mix again. And, I must say that it is one of the best decisions that I have ever made!

In actual fact, making this spice mix from scratch is very easy!!! Although you might need to buy several individual spices and some might not be frequently used for other purposes, it is definitely worthwhile doing it considering the fact that you will enjoy this dish with great flavours and without excessive amount of salt and MSG!

I hope that I have convinced well enough to cook this dish from scratch. Please let me show you in my video how easy is it to cook this dish.

Thanks Bensound for the music in my video.

easy healthy Nyonya Chinese five-spice soy braised chicken eggs
Made with no MSG and real spices, this dish is very nice, comforting and healthful to enjoy!
easy healthy Nyonya Chinese five-spice soy braised chicken eggs
Tender flavoursome chicken... Yum!
Best to enjoy this dish with plain rice or congee.

Just a few cooking tips before proceeding to my recipe...

1) This dish is suppose to be garlicky! Please do not reduce the amount of added garlic. The added garlic will cook until fully melted into the gravy and so you won't even notice that you have added one whole garlic into this dish!

2) Due to the presence of the hard-boiled eggs in this dish, it is not freezer friendly. However, you can store it in a fridge for 1-2 days if you wish to cook more and store for your subsequent weekday lunch or dinner.

3) Unlike the braised chicken that is cooked with the packet spice mix which is fully loaded with salt and MSG, my version of this dish is not salty. So, please season yours with salt accordingly to your liking.
4) You can mix a few portions of spice mix in advance. Store them in an airtight container and also in a cool dry place. Then, you can use the spic mix at anytime when you want. Money saving and good for your health too!

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Here's my recipe.

Serve 4
The spice mix:
1/2 tbsp five-spice powder
1/2 tbsp galangal powder
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp caster sugar - Do not omit this because the spices can be slightly bitter without the sugar.
1/2 tsp ground white pepper or more if desired

Combine all of these spices. Set aside.

The chicken:
500g chicken - I used skinless, boneless thigh fillets and cut them into 5 cm chunks.
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp cornflour

Combine all of the chicken ingredients. Set aside.

The remaining ingredients:
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 whole medium garlic, peeled and roughly crushed
50g dried Chinese shiitake mushroom, soaked in hot boiling water to soften and stems discarded
45ml (3 tbsp) dark soy sauce preferably the premium one*
2-3 cups (500ml to 750ml) water or more if required to submerge all ingredients.
4 hard boiled eggs, shells removed
one 250g extra firm tofu, cut into slices with 3 cm thickness

extra ground white pepper and salt to season, if required

* If the thick and viscous premium dark soy sauce is not available, you can substitute it with caramel cooking sauce and do not add caster sugar into the spice mix.

Using medium high heat, heat oil in a large cooking pot until smoky. Cook garlic until fragrant and golden and transfer into a plate. Sear chicken in 2-3 batches (if necessary) until golden and it's ok if the chicken is not thoroughly cooked. Remove chicken and transfer into a plate. Then, cook mushrooms for about 2-3 mins or lightly fragrant.

Return garlic and chicken into the cooking pot and reduce heat to low. Add dark soy sauce and stir to combine. Add 2 cups water, spice mix, eggs and tofu. Stir to combine. Then, add more water (but try not to add more than 1 cup or you will have cook a lot longer to thicken the gravy later) if required, making sure that the water is enough to submerge all ingredients.

Increase heat to high and bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 mins until chicken are thoroughly cooked and tender.

Remove cover and continue to cook for about 10-15 mins until gravy is slightly thickened. Season with ground white pepper and salt if required.

Serve immediately with plain steamed rice or congee.

Store any leftover in a fridge (not freezer) for 1-2 days.

Happy Cooking
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