"June Potluck"! It's potluck time at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC). I've already bookmarked dozens of recipes to try from Nigella Lawson, Yotam Ottolenghi, Madhur Jaffrey, Giada de Laurentiis and the rest of IHCC's previous featured chefs, but find myself cooking from Nigel Slater's recipe this week.
I made this dish Chicken with Garlic and Oyster Sauce for one of our weeknight dinner, because it is quick and easy, especially with the unbearably hot weather which we are experiencing again, with no rain for the last few weeks, I would not want to stand over a hot stove for hours in a steaming hot kitchen. And stir-fry dishes is the fastest and easiest to cook, perfect to serve with our usual dinner of rice and veggies.
Chicken with Garlic and Oyster Sauce
I've cooked this dish twice actually, the first time using pork as per Nigel's recipe. The second time, I cooked it with chicken breast fillet, and I prefer the chicken version. I have always marinated chicken breast meat with a little cornflour and a little amount of water, as this will help to tenderize the chicken breast fillet which would tend to be dry and a little tough, especially when served later, at room temperature.
This stir-fry dish is really easy and takes only minutes to cook. Nigel has used 3 heaped tablespoons of oyster sauce, but I have used only about slightly less than 2 tablespoon. When it comes to oyster sauce in Chinese cooking, more does not always mean tastier, as the sauce is really salty and sometimes too much of it can spoil a dish in terms of taste and flavour. Maybe Nigel has used a brand that is less salty. The amount can easily be adjusted depending on the brand that is used.
The recipe states to chop two of the small, red-hot chillies, leaving the other two whole. I have left them all whole, as I'm afraid that it might be too spicy for my kids if I chopped up the red chillies, so the 4 whole-red hot chillies are really for myself. And it was spicy good when I break it up with some of the gravy and eat it with rice! :)
I've used fresh shiitake mushrooms and more than the recipe calls for, about 400gm as the mushrooms tend to shrink in size when cooked, as their delicious juices would be released into the gravy as it cooks. And I've added in about 1/4 cup of water for more gravy to eat with rice.
A nice dish to serve with plain white rice, makes an easy and quick stir-fry dish on busy weeknights.Pork with Garlic and Oyster Sauce
(adapted from "The Kitchen Diaries II, Nigel Slater")
5 tablespoons at least, flavourless oil
350gm cube pork shoulder or fillet (I've used chicken breast fillet, refer my notes below)
3-4 cloves garlic
4 small, red hot chillies
150gm mushrooms (shiitake, chestnut, or whatever)
3 heaped tablespoons oyster sauce (adjusted to taste, about less than 2 tablespoons)
3 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
Heat the wok. Add 2 tablespoons of oil. When it starts to smoke, add half the meat and let it colour, removing it as it turns golden at the edges. Repeat with the second batch of meat, using a little fresh oil if you have to.
Meanwhile, peel and finely chop the garlic and peel and slice the shallots. Finely chop, but do not seed, two of the chillies. Leave a couple whole to add a deeper, subtler flavour. Get the wok hot, pour in the remaining oil and let it start to smoke, then add the chopped garlic, shallots and chillies, stirring as they cook. Fry them for a minute or two till they start to colour. Add the mushrooms, whole or torn up if they are large. Continue stir-frying till they are soft and lightly coloured, then return the meat to the pan. Once the meat is thoroughly hot, stir in the oyster sauce and the wine and bring to the boil. Let the resulting sauce reduce for a minute, maybe two, then serve.
My notes :
The second time I cooked this dish, I've used chicken breast meat. Sliced the chicken breast fillet and marinate with 1 tablespoon of cornflour and 1 tablespoon water. Stir till meat is thoroughly coated with the cornflour. Set aside for 10 minutes and then proceed with the frying as per the recipe above. By adding a little cornflour to the chicken breast fillet, it helps to tenderize the meat during cooking and keeping it moist, as chicken breast meat tend to dry out and gets stringy especially if cooked for a long time.
I have used slightly less than 2 tablespoons of oyster sauce, as 3 tablespoons is a little too much and salty for my taste. I mixed the oyster sauce and the wine with an addition of 1/4 cup water, as I wanted more sauce to eat with rice.