Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Farewell, Summer: Hello, Hot Suppers!

So the bad news is, summer is practically over. Goodbye, blazing hot sun and long golden afternoons. Our blueberry bush is bare, and the first of the leaves are starting to turn.

Sunset in Vancouver

The good news is, with the onset of early twilights, crisp evenings, and rainwashed skies, hot meals are suddenly palatable again. Hello, comfort food!

I'm reading a book called Chow: a fascinating, heart-warming, and mouth-watering combination of history, family, and food. Author Janice Wong shares her parents' recipes for simple and delicious Chinese dishes that any home cook can put together quite easily.

Thanks to this book I'm starting to realize that nobody does comfort food like the Chinese.... succulent roast chicken, chewy-tender noodles, plump dumplings, dim sum treats that are meant to delight the heart as well as tickle the palette.

This chicken rice recipe from
Chow is simple and hearty, reminiscent of the arroz caldo of my childhood, with the tasty addition of Chinese sausage. Perfect for dinner on a cold day after a hard day's work.

Chicken Rice/Gai Fun

4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup long-grain rice
lop cheung (Chinese sausage), cut into six pieces
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, for stir-frying
2 green onions, sliced
3 whole slices of ginger (you can leave the skin on)

Marinade for chicken:
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 tablespoons sherry
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Stir the marinade ingredients together in a bowl and mix in the chicken. Marinate for at least one hour (overnight is best).

Pour the rice into a medium-sized pot with a tight-fitting lid. (When choosing the pot, keep in mind that the volume of rice will double in size when cooked.) Wash the rice with cold running water. Swish your fingers through the rice and pour off the cloudy water. Do this at least three times, until the water runs clear. Add 1 and 1/4 cups of cold water and let the rice stand for half an hour. Wong advises that this step will ensure that the rice cooks evenly.

Cook the rice over high heat, uncovered, for about two minutes, until the water comes to a rolling boil. 

Lower the heat to medium, put the lid on the pot, and continue cooking the rice until the water and bubbles disappear, and the surface of the rice is pocked with small holes.

Lop cheung
While the rice is cooking, heat the cooking oil in a wok or skillet and stir-fry the chicken for three minutes. Reduce the heat, cover, and cook for five minutes more. If needed, add a bit of water at the end to deglaze.

Pour the chicken, gravy, and the sausage slices over the pocked rice. Cover and simmer for twenty minutes. Mix thoroughly and sprinkle with green onions before serving.

Don't forget your vegetables: serve with steamed gai lan, bok choi, or spinach.

A sprinkling of green onion adds brightness and flavour.



Paula said...

I love your blog!
This looks so delicious!

Have a nice time!

Maria Olaguera said...

Why thank you, Paula!

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