Thursday, March 31, 2011

Chicken & Pea Aspic

Aspic is a French dish where a type of meat is first boiled down to release its gelatinous collagen content in stock or water and that stock is then molded together with the meat and other ingredients to make a jelly like dish which is served cold. In the Chinese restaurants, this dish is served as part of a large appetizer platter which can contain more than 5 dishes. Gelatine is added to coagulate but not so much as to produce a firm encasse to the filling but rather a soft support that can be gently sliced and served. The flavor of the stock that makes the aspic is very important here, therefor a long simmering of the meat and water is essential.

This dish is Asian flavored as it contained soy sauce, Chinese cooking wine and scallion in the simmering of the chicken. The chicken drumsticks were first boiled in 3 cups of water for 10 mins and then flavored with the seasonings to simmer for another 40 mins. As collagen is present on the skin, bones and dark meat, using breast meat is not a good choice for this dish. The meat was then let cooled to room temperature before shredding them and randomly scattering them in a glass container or a long pan. The stock from the simmering was then added with dissolved gelatine and cooked for another few more minutes to cook the gelatine. Peas are to be added at this time as they cook really fast. The stock is then poured into the container containing the shredded chicken and let cool at room temperature before chilling it in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours. As the jelly is quite soft, gentle cut measuring at least 1/2 inch per slice is required to ensure that it doesn't fall apart. Serve with soy sauce and grated ginger.


4 Chicken Drumsticks
3 cups water
1 Tbsp Rice Wine (Chinese cooking wine)
1 Tbsp Light Soy Sauce
1/2 tsp Salt
5 stalks of Scallion, only the white part is used
1/4 cup frozen peas
1 Tbsp powdered gelatine
1/4 cup water (room temperature)

1)Boil the 3 cups of water. Put in the 4 Drumsticks and turn down to medium heat and let it simmer for 10 mins.
2)Add in the Rice wine, Soy Sauce, Salt and scallion stalks. Cover with lid and continue to simmer for another 35 mins.
3)Remove the drumsticks and let cool to room temperature. Reserve the stock water and turn off the heat.
4)Dissolve the gelatine in the 1/4 cup water and let it stand while you prepare the chicken meat.
5)Shred the meat from the bones and scatter in a long pan or rectangle glass container.
6)Heat the stock water again to a rolling boil, pour in the dissolved gelatine and stir. Add in the peas and let it cook for another 3 mins.
7)Remove from heat and slowly laddle into the container containing the chicken. Spoon in and don't pour so that the peas are evenly distributed.
8)Let the contents cool to room temperature. Cover and let it chill and settle in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight. Run a knife around the edges of the container to release the Aspic, just as you would for molded Jello.
9)Cut to thick slices and serve with fresh garden salad and soy sauce with grated ginger for dipping.

Serves: 4 to 6 person

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