One of the chicken dishes I look forward to is our mother's silkie chicken stew. Basically, it's another one of our mother's one-pot, no-measure, ultra-forgiving wonders.
Silkie chickens are so called because their feathers are said to have a silky texture. What's interesting about them are the feathers are usually white, so you have a chicken that's white outside with black skin and meat underneath. They're quite a sight.
I've never actually seen one myself (I've only seen them in their unfeathered incarnations), but our mother, apparently, had even caught insects to feed to these chickens in her childhood and youth! One of her schoolmates had silkies they bred in the backyard for food.
Sometimes we have silkie chicken in soup, but I prefer to have them in this form, braised in a mixture of soy sauce and ever-reliable water, with lots and lots of ginger. The ginger pieces are sauteed in sesame oil, which adds a profound nutty richness to the dish.
Some have noted that the meat of the silkie chicken might be a tad gamey, but I've never perceived it to be so. For me, it tastes like chicken, a tad chewier than "regular" chicken perhaps, but it tastes like a good free-range chicken does. Besides, we never have a problem with "chewy" silkies when Mama cooks them this way.
Silkie chickens are available frozen in most Asian supermarkets. In Vancouver, they are usually priced at $8.99 and above each. A bird usually weighs about a pound to a pound and a half.
Now being used to this "food blogging", our mother patiently goes through each step, posing each ingredient. First, sautéing ginger in sesame oil. This sesame oil and ginger combination is the base for Mama's Silkie Chicken.
When the ginger starts to slightly brown, the silkie is added. I love that blue!
In goes about a capful of shao xing wine. Then, my mother covers the pot and lets the chicken sweat a bit with the wine. Let's say that the "sweating" takes about 10 minutes.
After the sweating, the braising liquids go in. So, that's soy sauce and soy paste. (Soy paste can be omitted if hard to find.)
Of course, the all-important water.
The usual braising technique applies: Bring the liquid up to the boil then immediately put the pot on the lowest heat, cover and walk away.
Needless to say, sometime during the braising period you would've put some white rice to cook in a rice cooker.
Serve with said rice and lots of the braising liquid. Enjoy Mama's Dyong Kwe!
Mama's Silkie Chicken ("Dyong Kwe")
Mama's Philippine-style Fruit Salad
Mama's Cilantro Beef Shin
Mama's Black Peppercorn Shortribs
Mama's Fish Head Soup
Mama's Giniling, v4 and v5
Mama's Ampalaya (Bitter Melon)
Ma-Kut (Pork Bone) Soup
We're submitting this to the Chinese edition of Joelen's Wine & Dine event. Find more details and the round-up at Joelen's blog: Joelen's Culinary Adventures.