Xin Nian Kuai Le! Happy Lunar New Year and welcome to the Year of the Wooden Horse!
I do not know anything about Chinese astrology, but I read that “Horse energy is free spirited, wild, willful, and independent. Horse has a refined instinct that acts fast, on the spot. (….) The Wood Horse year is a time of fast victories, unexpected adventure, and surprising romance. It is an excellent year for travel, and the more far away and off the beaten path the better. Energy is high and production is rewarded. Decisive action, not procrastination, brings victory. But you have to act fast in a Horse year. If you are not 100% secure about a decision, then don’t do it. Events move so quickly in a Horse year that you don’t want to gallop off in the wrong direction.” (Source: Susan Levitt)
Whilst I was googeling info on the Year of the Horse I (re)discovered that apparently I am a horse, and it is going to be quite a ride for me this year. (Actually the predictions vary from an excellent year, to dramatic ups and downs, to a down-right challenging year 🙂 ).
Whatever it may bring, to ring in this New Year a little Asian dish that I like to prepare ahead for a quick weeknight dinner. Although the recipe looks long, this meal is not a lot of work. The meat does need to marinade so I like to throw it together the day before. After a long days work, I just pop it in the oven and have a feast ready in just over half an hour.
If you are looking for a speedy dinner, just steam a little rice and stir-fry some (oyster) mushrooms with spinach as a side. This chicken is also lovely with vermicelli noodles mixed with a lot of fresh herbs. Or cold soba with mango and spring onion. The variations are endless; just keep in mind that the dish comes without sauce so it is important to serve it with something fresh and crunchy or something juicy.
By the way, I have made this dish with quail eggs (special), with regular eggs (nice) and without any eggs (fabulously fuss-free). Another festive variation is to serve the chicken with some Marbled Tea Eggs. They are not much more work but take a little more time to prepare.
Wishing you peace and good health in the Year of the Horse! (馬年安康)
(found on the blog ‘Cooking in Sense‘)
For the chicken
5 tbsp light soy sauce
3 tbsp sake (or Chinese rice wine or dry sherry)
2 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp sugar
4 garlic cloves
a piece of ginger as large as 2 garlic cloves
1 mild green chilli
8-9 chicken drumsticks (2-3 a person)
Optional: For the eggs
9-12 fresh quail eggs or 3-4 regular eggs
6 garlic cloves
1/2 red chilli
1/2 green chilli
3 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp sugar
To prepare the chicken:
- Make a marinade by combine the soy sauce, sake, mirin and sugar in a freezer bag or bowl.
- Slice the garlic, ginger and chili into slices and add to the marinade.
- You can leave the skin on the chicken, I prefer to remove it (loosen the skin with your fingers. Pull back over the leg. Grab the skin with a piece of kitchen paper to pull it off easily.)
- Wash and dry the chicken and add to the marinade. Refrigerate overnight or at least 3 hours.
Optional: To prepare the egg:
- Cook the eggs (quail: 4 min, regular: 10 min)
- Remove the eggs from the water. Keep the water. Rinse the eggs under cold water and allow to cool until you can peel them.
- Add soy sauce, mirin and sugar to the hot water.
- Place the peeled eggs into the sauce. Simmer for 15 min.
- Halve the garlic cloves and add to the water.
- Slice the chili and add.
- Simmer another 5 minutes.
- The eggs can be served warm or at room temperature. They can be made the day before and stored in the liquid in the fridge.
To finish the dish:
- Remove chicken and eggs from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature for 15 min.
- Heat the oven to 200C (390F).
- Line an oven dish with aluminum foil.
- Place the chicken in the oven dish.
- Roast for 20 min. Turn and roast another 15-25 min.
- Cut the spring onion into thin rings.
- Plate the chicken with the eggs (cut regular eggs in half) and sprinkle with spring onion and sesame seeds.
Tips & Variations
For a simpler meal leave out the eggs, for a more special dish make some Marbled Tea Eggs the day before
- Stir-fried (oyster) mushrooms with spinach and steamed rice.
- Cold salad of vermicelli with chopped herbs and red capsicum (bell pepper, DE/ NL: paprika) with a dressing of fish sauce, lime and chili and a sprinkling of cashew.
- A cold salad of soba noodles with mango and spring onion and a dressing of sesame – and chili oil.