I really enjoyed Christmas this year and, unsurprisingly, the majority of the gifts I received were of the culinary variety. One of which was Ken Hom’s Complete Chinese Cookbook from the BBC and I think it’s brilliant. Tonight I cooked two dishes from it, this is the first and if you have the book yourself it’s on page 78.
- 450g (1lb) fresh spinach
- 175g (6oz) chicken breast
- 1 egg white
- 1 tsp cornflour
- 1.2 litres (2 pints) chicken stock
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine (or dry sherry)
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp finely chopped spring onions
Method of Preparation:
- Remove the stems of the spinach and wash the leaves well.
- Blanch the leaves for a few seconds in boiling water until they are just wilted. Then freshen them in cold water to prevent further cooking.
Cut the chicken into thin slices about 5cm (2in) long and combine them with the egg white, cornflour, and ½ tsp of salt. Then set aside in the fridge for about 20 mins.
- Blanch the chicken pieces in a separate pan of boiling water for 2 minutes, until they are slightly firm and white. Now drain the spinach and the chicken slices. (The soup can be prepared up to this point several hours ahead)
- Just before you’re ready to eat bring the chicken stock to a simmer and add the soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil and sugar.
- Add the blanched spinach and the chicken slices.
- Bring the soup back to simmering point and add the spring onions.
- Serve at once.
This recipe was a pleasure to follow, a pleasure to cook and a pleasure to eat – perfect! As it was just for Wife and I all I did was reduce all the measurements by half.
OK, so removing the stems off approximately 100 spinach leaves was a little tedious but I think I can let that go. After wilting the leaves I transferred them to a bowl of cold water and just left them there whilst getting on with everything else.
The chicken is something I haven’t done before. I had it well mixed with the egg white, cornflour and salt and I had it chilling in the fridge for 20 minutes before adding to the boiling water. The egg white cooks and expands so when removing the chicken from the water try and get as little of the extra egg white as possible as it really shows up in your soup later. I didn’t do this and you can see a fair amount of egg white in my final dish. Just so you know though, it doesn’t detract from the taste at all.
As usual I used Knorr Chicken Stock Pots for the broth and they worked really well again, didn’t overpower the soy, sesame or sake (which I used instead of the rice wine) and created quite a complex flavour. They are a little bit fatty though so your broth is always going to have a bit of a ‘slick’ on the top. The flash on this camera doesn’t help in this photo.
This is a top class soup which I served up with Ken’s Chicken Fried Rice which you’ll find on my next post. Hope you enjoy it and if there’s any questions just let me know.