The herbs (are you an "erb" or "herb" person?? I used to say it the American way, "erb" but people didn't understand me, or they correct me...I guess I should say "how-er" instead of "our" for hour but then again will I be let off saying " My 'ouse" instead of " My house"??) used in Chinese cooking are very different from western cooking. Although both western and Chinese herbs are supposedly medicinal, I think Chinese herbs are more so while western herbs are more for flavor.
This is an easy way to do herbal chicken. I like the herbal chicken at DJunction because it tastes good and because they don't use 'glass paper' which to me is another name for plastic. I'm not very knowledgeable about Chinese herbs, and my herbal chicken is very mild. I think it lacks dong gui or something like that. What I do is go to the Chinese herbal shops and point at whatever I want. Do not buy the pre-packaged herbs; they usually have been packed months ago. I don't put dried beetroot because it darkens the sauce too much, but it's really up to you to add whatever you like, like lotus seeds and others. Sometimes I only use wolfberries, red dates, dried longans and yuk juk.
Easy Herbal Chicken
1 free-range chicken or kampung chicken
Chinese herbs of your choice but must include wolfberries, yuk juk, dried longans and red dates.
2 thin slices of fresh ginger
salt to taste
1. Cut chicken into large pieces and remove the thicker skin if like ( I didn't, for the sake of the picture).
2. Wash herbs twice and soak for 5 min, then rinse again.
3. Put the chicken pieces into a shallow glass casserole dish (like Corning's) and arrange the herbs and ginger around it. Add water upto 2cm or 3/4" high from the bottom of the dish.
4. Cover dish and set over a medium flame. When it boils, use chopsticks or tongs to move the chicken a bit so skin doesn't stick to dish. Reduce flame to low, stir once in a while so skin wouldn't stick, and simmer until desired softness. It's not necessary to add water because the chicken will give out juice plus you don't want to water-down the essence5. Sprinkle 3/4 t salt (or to your taste) over and mix 1 T cornflour + 2 T water to make a cornstarch solution to thicken the gravy if like. If you, like me, are mindful of the oil, pour the juice out, skim off the oil and return the juice to the dish and then thicken if like. Don't make the gravy too thick though. Serve HOT with plain rice.