Monday, June 06, 2005

CHiLdHooD MeMoRiEs

Nostalgia is kicking in for me, must be my old age! It has been a few years since I have eaten a home cooked meal by my mum and I suddenly had the urge to eat those simple but hearty dishes she used to cook for my dad and I. Recently I managed to get her to teach me how to make this childhood dish, mui choy (Chinese for preserved mustard cabbage) with minced chicken. Wow, when I ate this dish, it sure brought back happy childhood memories.

There are two kinds of mui choy, salted and sweet which are brought in from China. You can get them from the Chinese dried good shops in wet markets or even supermarkets. For this recipe, we used the sweet kind which required less soaking in water.

Mui Choy Minced Chicken
100g chicken fillets, diced in small cubes
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 knob of ginger, minced
2 shallots, minced
1 piece of sweet mui choy
soya sauce
white pepper
oyster sauce

Cut the chicken fillets into small cubes. Marinate it with a dash of soya sauce, pinch of salt, 1 tsp cornflour, a dash of white pepper. Put aside and prepare your mui choy. Wash the mui choy thoroughly in running water. Take care to wash the leaves as there may be sand. Soak in a bowl of water while you mince the garlic, ginger and shallots. Once completed, wash to mui choy and squeeze the water out. Chop the mui choy finely and squeeze it again to make sure it is dry.

Heat up the wok (do not put oil inside) and fry the chopped mui choy to get rid of any moisture. Keep stirring it around to avoid it burning for about two to three minutes. Take out the mui choy and put aside. Heat the wok and 1 tbsp of oil. Fry the minced ginger, garlic and shallots until fragrant. Add the minced chicken and brown the chicken. Use the spatula or chopsticks to break the chicken in small pieces. Once the chicken is brown, add the mui choy and mix them together. Add a bit of water, about 3 tbsps and let it cook on medium heat. Add 1 tsp sugar in the mixture and mix thoroughly. If the water dries up, add some more water. Don't put too much water or else your mui choy will be soggy. Mix 1/2 tbsp oyster sauce with 2 tbsps water and 1 tsp corn flour. Pour in the mixture and mix thoroughly. Once it boils, turn off the heat. Note that the mui choy should look quite dry with the sauce clinging on the mixture only. Dish up and enjoy with piping hot rice.

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