Thursday, April 7, 2011

紅燒芋兒雞/Szechuan Braised Chicken and Small Taro

I am a big fan of braised chicken especially when the chicken is braised with taro in a Szechuan style!  It is so delicious!  Just like my other dish - Curry Coconut Chicken, this dish also requires about an hour and half slow cooking.  The taros I cooked are small taros which you can buy at any Chinese supermarket or Chinatown.  That's why after simmering the taro tastes so soft, tender and juicy.  Since they are small they absorb all the delicious flavours from just one hour of slow cooking.  I only used 1 tbsp cooking oil and cooked the chicken with the skin on so it produces natural oil and doesn't taste very heavy.  I used just the chicken wings, however you can use any part of chicken to make this dish.


This Szechuan Braised Chicken and Small Taro is a well known Szechuan cuisine dish in China.  This dish is especially popular in Chongqing - where I was born.  I remember there is an area called Nanshan in Chongqing where more than 30 restaurants serve this dish as their house special.




Ingredients:
(Makes 4+ servings)


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb chicken wings
  • 1 lb small taro
  • 6 green onion
  • Half cup garlic
  • 2 tbsp sliced ginger
  • 1 oz fresh basil
  • 2 tbsp crystal sugar
  • A few cilantro
  • 4 cups of water


Cooking sauce:

  • 5 pcs star anise
  • 1 tbsp dried cumin
  • 1 pc dried cinnamon
  • ½ tbsp dried clove
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • ½ tbsp caraway seeds
  • 1½ tbsp chili broad bean sauce
  • 1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce


Directions:


  1. Peel and wash the small taro.  Cut the pieces that are bigger then the chicken wings into smaller cubes.  Chop the green onion.
  2. In a bowl, mix all the cooking sauce evenly.
  3. In a large non-stick saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.  Add green onion, garlic and ginger to cook.  After about 2 minutes, add chicken wings and cooking sauce.  Mix everything evenly and stir until the chicken is no longer pink.  Add water, basil and crystal sugar.  Cover, bring to a boil.  Add all the taro.  Stir everything evenly and make sure the chicken or taro are not sticking to the bottom.  Cover and let it simmer for one hour, then transfer to a serving plate.  Garnish with cilantro, now enjoy!