Saturday, May 1, 2010

Taiwanese Green Onion Chicken 椒鹽蔥油雞

Here is an internet photo of how this dish traditionally look like. Mine doesn't look that appetizing.

Traditionally, this dish is done with full or half chicken bone in and skin on. Since I am calorie counting, I opted for boneless skinless thicken thighs. I spent about 10 minutes removing the additional fats and blood vessels from the chicken, so the end result kinda looked weird. Anyway, if you are trying to impress your guests, don't do what I did.

I can't really decide if I should write up a traditional recipe or my low-calorie recipe, so I will do both and I will explain why things are done differently. The traditional way takes a few hours to prepare. Restaurants would often marinate their chicken for days before actually cooking them. On the other hand, my way takes 30 minutes to prepare. Although my dish would be substandard in the eyes of my chef grandfather, it is more than adequate for a daily home cooked dish.

For two people, you need at least 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs for the low cal recipe. For traditional ways, two thighs with bone in and skin on. Rest of the ingredients stays the same. By the way, you can also apply this same recipes to fish, turkey, and vegetarian dishes. Once you get the idea right, you can make a lot of different variations of this dish.

Traditional 椒鹽蔥油雞:

Ingredients: (Serves 2)

2 servings of chicken
2 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp white pepper
2 Stalks of green onion (shredded)
2-3 thin slices of ginger (shredded)
2 Tbsp Vegetable oil
Optional: 1 small red chili pepper, dried or fresh. (finely chopped)


1. Heat a pan or wok to high heat, toast the salt and white pepper until the salt turned slightly golden brown. (no oil).
2. Let the mixture cool down and rub the chicken with it. Let the chicken sit for 2-3 hours.
3. Wash the salt mixture off the chicken and dry it with paper towel.
4. Put the chicken in your steamer and steam it for 15-20 minutes or when the chicken is cooked. You can use a meat thermometer to measure its internal temperature.
5. Let the chicken cools for 10 minutes. Or, prepare an ice bath and chill your chicken for a few minutes.
6. Once the chicken has cooled, chop it into half inch slices and place on a heat tolerant plate.
7. Layer the shredded onions and ginger on top of the chicken.
8. Heat vegetable oil in a small pan or wok on high heat, until it is slightly smoking.
(Optional): Put the chili pepper into the wok and sauté until you can smell the aroma.
9. Drizzle the hot oil over the chicken. Serve!

The toasting of salt and pepper help gives the chicken a smoky aroma. When you cook meat, the juice inside the food would move toward the center and away from the heat source. The cooling of the chicken allows the internal moisture of the chicken to distribute evenly and settle, so it does not all leak out when you cut it. This applies to all types of meat.

If you steam chicken without the marinate, it can often taste blend. However, not many of us can or want to marinate chicken for hours or overnight. Also, even though the dish is steamed, the fat in the chicken thighs and the skin add a lot of calories. Drizzling the oil onto the chicken is way better than frying or sautéing the chicken, but in the end, you are still adding significant amount of oil into your diet.

Christine on Foodista

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