Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Prawn Paste Chicken (Har Cheong Gai)

Photos: Jason Ho

FairPrice’s White Sesame Oil adds a wonderful depth of flavour to all manner of Asian dishes


Sesame seed oil has a long history as a condiment, remedy and beautifier. In ancient times, the Babylonians used it to make exotic perfumes, while the Arabs used it for medicinal purposes.

These days, sesame seed oil is mostly used in the Asian kitchen to add a nutty, well-rounded flavour to all manner of dishes from soups to stir-fries.

FairPrice’s White Sesame Oil is a great option for your kitchen as it is 100 per cent pure. That means no additives or artificial flavouring. It is also certified Halal and cholesterol free.

I used it to make this week’s dish of Prawn Paste Chicken, that quintessential zi char dish that is so easy to replicate at home.

As in most dishes, it only uses a tiny amount of sesame seed oil. But it makes a world of difference to the taste, adding a wonderful depth that turns this humble dish into something special.

FairPrice White Sesame Oil ($3.55 for a 360ml bottle, above) is available at all FairPrice supermarkets.


Prawn Paste Chicken (Har Cheong Gai)
Serves 2-4

2 tbsp prawn paste
1 tsp Chinese cooking wine
1/2 tsp FairPrice White Sesame Oil
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
Oil for deep-frying
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup corn flour, for coating

1. In a large bowl, mix together the prawn paste, cooking wine, sesame oil and pepper.
2. Marinate the chicken pieces in this paste for at least 30 minutes or up to three hours.
3. Before frying, heat oil in a wok till it starts to shimmer.
4. To test if the oil is hot enough, place a small piece of bread in it. If it immediately bubbles and floats to the top, the oil is at just the right temperature.
5. Place the beaten egg in a shallow bowl and the corn flour in a saucer.
6. Dip the chicken pieces, one piece at a time, in the beaten egg, then in the corn flour and into the wok.
7. Fry till golden brown and remove to a plate lined with kitchen paper.
8. Serve hot.

From TODAY, Voices – Thursday, 09-April-2009

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