Steamed Chicken in Chicken Essence
I’m sure many of us have tried essence of chicken straight from the bottle. Have you tried cooking with it? To me, this steamed chicken in chicken essence is a brilliant idea because you get more chicken essence (both soup and flavour) after cooking.
For the uninitiated, “essence of chicken” (鸡精) is a bottled liquid nutritional supplement popular in Asia, made from cooking whole chickens down into a concentrated liquid. It is said to fight fatigue (you may remember the bottles our parents bought for us during exam fever) and for aiding recuperation after an operation or illness.
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This dish is very easy to pull off. I always prepare the marinating sauce the night before (only 10 minutes), and let the chicken drumsticks marinade in the fridge overnight in a sealed food container (above). The next evening, all I have to do is to steam the chicken for 40 minutes. While waiting for the chicken, I cook the rice and prepare either a quick soup or vegetable to go with it.
I think the reason why this dish worked for me to combat fatigure was because the concentrated chicken essence provided a feeling of being very well-nourished. Placebo effect?! I don’t know ;)