If your main protein source is soy based or legumes, SKIP THIS POST. But if NIrvana is synonmous with BBQ or if the image in your head right now is a big fat juicy drippy burger, read on.
I grew up predominantly eating Chinese food. My Dad was the chef in our house. My parents owned a real estate and insurance business in the heart of Chinatown right on Grant Ave. Every evening my Dad would head out of the office 30 minutes early and shop for dinner ingredients. The catch of the day, rock cod, flounder or striped bass swimming in tanks, crates of crisp green beans, squares of freshly made tofu in tubs that lined the sidewalk. Once done with his shopping and catching up with the “news on the streets” from the vendors, he would swing back to the office, pick up my Mom and head home. At home, after a flurry of slicing, dicing or chopping, steaming and stir-frying; dinner would be on the table in less than an hour. I took this for granted while growing up but once I started cooking for my own family I realized what a mind boggling feat it was! Each meal started with soup followed by a vegetable dish such as stir-fried spinach, steamed minced pork seasoned with garlic and black beans or stir-fried beef with pickled vegetables and of course the fish he had selected at the market, steamed and topped with slivers of green onions, ginger, and cilantro sitting in a pool of soy sauce. Steaming bowls of white rice accompanied every meal.
These days our meals are much more “Americanized” steaks, chicken, salads but there is a fusion component to many of them. Steaks are marinated in Hoi Sin, a chinese sweet and salty paste. Chicken is steamed or poached and served with soy sauce flavored with the Asian trinity of ginger, garlic and onions. Barbecue might be beef ribs cut crosswise, known as flanken or Hawaiian ribs marinated in a Korean bbq sauce. Pork ribs won’t be smoked or cooked for hours but marinated “char siu style” and grilled relatively quickly so there is still bite or pull left in the meat. All served with white rice.
One of our favorites is Khal Bi. Flanken style beef ribs marinated in a Korean style sauce of soy, sugar, garlic and onions. Ono-licious!
Simple Poached Chicken with Chinese Holy Trinity Sauce
- 1- 4 lb. chicken (or you can use chicken pieces)
- 6 T vegetable oil
- ¼ cup finely shredded fresh ginger
- 3 scallions, trimmed and cut into fine strips or diced
- 3 T soy sauce
- 3 T chicken stock
- 3 tsp sugar
- 11/2 T rice wine
- 11/2 tsp sesame oil
Fill an 8 qt pot approximately 2/3 full with water. Bring water to a boil and add 1 1-inch knob of ginger crushed, ¼ cup rice wine, 1 t salt, & 3 scallions that have been crushed. Add chicken to boiling water (poaching liquid). Bring poaching liquid back to a boil, turn the heat down to simmer, cover the pot, and simmer for 15 minutes. At 15 minutes, turn off the heat and let the chicken sit covered for 50 minutes. Save stock for soup or sauces.
Pieces of chicken can also be poached this way. Reduce time of simmer to 5 minutes and let chicken pieces sit covered in pot for 20-25 minutes.
Meanwhile, prep sauce. Shred ginger, dice the green onions, if you like it spicy, add ½ -1 jalapeno pepper, sliced. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, stock, sugar, dry sherry and sesame oil. Set aside.
When chicken is done, remove from liquid and let sit until cool enough to handle. Cut chicken into serving pieces and place on platter. Heat oil in a small saucepan until you can see wisps of smoke. Add ginger, scallions, and peppers to the oil. Be careful, as mixture will sizzle. Remove from heat and add soy sauce mixture. If the sauce clouds, return to heat for a minute. Add a dash of white pepper. Pour sauce over chicken and serve immediately with plenty of rice!
The sauce can also be used for steamed fish or as a dipping sauce for seafood.