Wombok with Braised Chicken and Mushrooms

2013-07-29
  • Yield : up to 6 side dish servings
  • Servings : 4 to 6
  • Prep Time : 10m
  • Cook Time : 25m
  • Ready In : 35m

Ingredients

  • 500g chunky chicken pieces with or without bones
  • 500g Wombok (Chinese cabbage)
  • 4 large dried Shitake mushrooms
  • 1 medium carrot – sliced
  • 2 to 4 garlic cloves – crushed/chopped
  • 1 teaspoon – grated ginger
  • chopped fresh chili (optional)
  • 1 to 1/2 cup chicken stock/water
  • 1 dessertspoon light soy sauce
  • 1 dessertspoon oyster sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 dessertspoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon cornflour mixed with 2 dessertspoons water

Method

Firstly place the mushrooms in a small bowl then pour boiling hot water over them to re-hydrate. Cover and let sit for a minute. Now discard the water and return the mushrooms back to the bowl and add about half a cup of fresh boiling water, cover and let it hydrate further for roughly 10 minutes. During this time prepare the chicken with or without bones into bite sized pieces (see 2 cooking stages below) and cut the cabbage into chunky pieces. Now reserve the mushroom water for later use and cut the mushrooms in half or quarter each. In a wok or large fry pan add the oil on moderately hot heat. When hot, add the ginger, garlic and chili if used, stir a few times then add the chicken pieces with mushrooms immediately. Braise the chicken and mushrooms on moderate high heat for 5 minutes stirring often, then cook for 3 minutes for boneless and 5 minutes for other with the cover on but still stirring a few times.

Here are 2 stages to cooking this dish, chicken with bones and without the bones. For boneless chicken;  when the chicken pieces have been braised and browned nicely add the sugar and salt to taste and caramalise the chicken by stirring for a minute, then add the carrot, cabbage, soy and oyster and the 1/2 cup stock/water/mushroom water and stir and cook on high for two minutes till the cabbage wilts a little and the liquid reduces. Now add the cornflour and water mix stir for about a minute. If a thicker consistency is required then add another lot of cornflour mix to the pan and cook it further and serve. Be aware that you may not require the salt because some soy and oyster sauces can be overly salty.  Check the saltiness as you go and make it to suit your own taste.

2nd stage of cooking chicken with bones intact; add salt and sugar after the chicken has been braising for 10 minutes, stir to caramalise the mixture for a minute. Now add 1 cup of stock or water and mushroom water and cook covered for a further 5 minutes to ensure that the chicken is fully cooked. Now add the carrot, cabbage, soy, oyster, stir well then cook further 2 more minutes. Add the cornflour,  cook and stir until the liquid thickens or follow as stage 1. Serve with plain boiled rice or as preferred. Add salt as mentioned in stage 1 to suit your taste. Also featured in the recipe photo Wombok stir fried with chicken fat and red capsicum. Chicken and other fats can add flavours to many vegetables used as side dish.

Variations and Suggestions

This recipe has two stages of cooking, most people from Asia and the East prefer cooking their meat with bones intact. No different to in my home too when growing up in Malaysia. This dish is another one of my hawker-style favourite! When growing up in Malaysia I enjoyed plain boiled rice with a variety of accompanying sauces and condiments that I could add to it just like all other Malaysians. It would be no surprise if your plain boiled rice was accompanied by 3 or 4 or more flavours. From an array of Hawker-style dishes a spoonful of this and a spoonful of that would create your delicious meal for the day! Stephen was not familiar with this on his arrival in KL and after he met me, on our second day of courting, I took him to eat out. He knew I liked eggplant so he asked me to sit at a table while he ordered lunch for me from a Hawker-style stall. He didn’t know that it was OK to order lots of different flavours to add them to over lots of plain rice so he asked the stall lady to just put eggplant as it was my favourite. She asked him if he wanted more (meaning more flavours that he could choose from) and he answered yes, more eggplant because that is what he knew I liked, so he thought it was a good idea to get more of it to make me very happy. He just got me rice and eggplant, that’s all, he asked the lady to cover all of the rice with eggplant, and I mean completely covered! When he brought me my dish I burst out laughing and he didn’t know why.  I didn’t eat any of it and took it back to the lady and asked her to remove most of the eggplant and add different flavours as usual. She was laughing a lot. He had virtually emptied all of her supply of cooked eggplant. She thought he was very funny but also that he was a real gentleman to order what he knew I liked! This took place in the late 70’s and the story gets told time and time again at our gatherings and dinner parties,  seems like it’s a story for keeps. He knows better now, but there are still some funny things that he does out of innocence and they do amuse me after my initial shock or anger have passed! LOL

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