Friday, October 17, 2008

Bon Bon Chicken (Chinese Szechwan)

My mood to blog spiraled down as fast as the stock market for the past 2 weeks. While everyone was talking about the economic meltdown, I was having a stamina meltdown! The lazy bug is always lurking inside of me and it kind of spread its wings and I added the excuse that Curry was out of town and I need not do anything fancy and rather watch repeated episodes of Lost and got Lost literally!

Well, after feeding on the same type of lunch and dinner for 5 days and Missy E starting to whine "AGAIN" & "AGAIN", I went back to my cookbooks. Flipping through everything, I only found one thing I wanted to make and it is this funny named dish called 'Bon Bon Chicken'. And frankly speaking, I should have picked another simpler one to make as this dish was quite alot of work and by the end of the day, I was exhausted, or maybe lazy again!

I first tasted this dish in Hong Kong 10 years ago. As they said, Hong Kong has the best Chinese eateries of all ethnicities and I agree. I like this dish at room temperature rather than cold as normally served in the restaurants. This dish is all about its sesame paste sauce that is drizzled sparingly over a bed of shredded chicken meat sitting on a pile of rice flat noodle. The sesame taste is very strong but very good to eat as it smells nutty and rich over the bland noodle and complements the chicken shreds well. Instead of vegetable salad, I will opt for this dish served with blanched shredded cabbage leaves on the side. The labor intensive parts are the shredding of the chicken and grinding of the toasted sesame seeds. Sesame paste is available at Asian stores and the Mediterranean Tahini is quite similar in taste. The rice flat noodle is normally called Rice stick, and a product from Vietnam or Thailand. I guess any type of noodle can be substituted as long as it doesn't have any taste of its own. One thing I am not sure is why the name is called "Bon Bon" or translated literally into Chinese "Bun Bun Tzi". And since it is a Sichuan dish, chilli oil is actually drizzled onto the dish too but I have to omit it as my kids and I cannot take chilli, although Curry would love it very much.


Ingredients:
A) Sesame Paste
3 tbsp white sesame seeds
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp oil

B) Chicken & Noodle

2 large chicken thigh meat with drumsticks attached & Skin removed

150 gm rice stick

1 tbsp chinese cooking wine
1 tsp Kosher salt
1- 1/2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar
10 napa cabbage leaves (with white stalk part removed and all rolled up and chiffon cut to thin strands)


Method:

  1. Heat the sesame seeds in a frying pan without added oil. Turn on slow medium heat and when they are slightly browned, remove from heat and process or ground with mortar & pestle till paste form. Add in the water and oil and stir to combine well. Keep in refrigerator till ready to use.

  2. Clean the chicken thighs, apply the cooking wine and salt and steam for 15 to 20 minutes on medium heat till cooked thoroughly. Remove and let cool completely before shredding.

  3. Boil water and cook the rice sticks till soft, approximately 10 mins. Drain water and rinse under running cold water. Drain in colander.

  4. Boil water and blanch the napa cabbage leaves for 10 seconds. Remove and drain.

  5. Arrange the rice stick on plate and next the chicken meat.

  6. Add the soy sauce, vinegar and sugar into the sesame paste and stir to thin consistency. Taste first prior to drizzling on the chicken. If required, more of the 3 ingredients may be added.

  7. Arrange the cabbage leaves to make a nice presentation. Alternatively use cucumber.

Serves 2 to 3 persons



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