A break from the fishy posts (though I’m glad you like the recipes) and here I present the ultimate comfort food: Chicken Soup. Not just your regular Chicken boiled with ginger and mushrooms, but with homemade Foochow Red Wine.
That’s right, the bright hue might be a little confronting but most Sarawakians (or Sitiawan foochows) will tell you this appears regularly on our dining tables. I might have mentioned before that my maternal grandmother makes her own Foochow red wine (with ground red yeast rice and glutinous rice, I might upload a recipe one day when I am motivated enough to make my own). We grew up drinking this soup and will always have it whenever we are back in Bintulu. Since I moved to KL, I will always bring a bottle with me from Bintulu. The soup is not only tasty, it’s also good to mend our health and strength, suitable for mothers in confinement too.
Grandma makes this soup using the double boiler technique which makes the soup extra tasty with more ‘body’ to it. A slow cooker would be another great option. I don’t have either of those, so I added a bit of Ang Zao (Red Wine Residue) to marinate the Chicken so it will infuse more flavours.
I think garnishing with coriander is a Sitiawan thing. I’ve never seen my Grandma use it, neither does any of my Sarawakian friends it seems. I do love coriander so I feel that it’s a pretty good addition.
Ang Jiu Chicken Soup (serves 4)
4 Chicken Drumsticks
8 Shiitake Mushrooms, rehydrated
1 tablespoon Ang Zao (Red Wine Residue)
100ml Ang Jiu (Foochow Red Wine)
Several pieces of Ginger
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Coriander to Garnish (Optional)
Marinate the Chicken drumsticks with Ang Zao for at least 15 minutes.To cook the soup, lightly fry the ginger in sesame oil until fragrant, then add Chicken, Mushrooms and enough water to cover everything and bring to boil. Lower the heat and add half the Ang Jiu, continue to cook for at least 1 and half hours. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the rest of Ang Jiu. Before serving, you can pass the soup through a sieve to separate the red wine residue for a clearer soup.
You can always enjoy the soup with other dishes and rice like what we do most of the time. Mee Sua is more of a special occasion thing in our family. As you might know already, it signifies longevity (thus also called longevity noodles) and traditionally consumed during Chinese New Year and Birthdays. Well, Chinese New Year was a couple of months ago, and my birthday is not due for a few months time, but I can still have it whenever my craving strikes.
The best Mee Sua comes from Sarawak or Sitiawan (I think their Mee Sua is slightly thicker from what I’ve seen) and are best when they are handmade. The process is tedious and requires high level of skill. You can check out a video uploaded by House of Annie here.
Mee Sua cooks really fast in boiling water, usually only takes a minute or so. Once cooked, drain the noodles, and serve in a big bowl. Spoon the Chicken soup over and garnish with Coriander. Enjoy while hot! I usually add a teaspoon or so of extra red wine for the extra oomph! The soup is slightly tart but extremely fragrant with the wine, which pairs well with the tender noodles. It’s instant comfort.
To bring this dish to the next level, you can do this:
Don’t know about you, but the runny yolk is saying ‘Eat Me Now!’ to me. To make egg like this, you just boil it for 4 minutes (counting it from the moment the water starts to boil but adding the egg when the water is cold, if that even makes sense), peel carefully while submerged in cold water. Perfect! Guess I’ll make you choose again, with egg or without egg? 😀
Fun fact: My maternal side is actually Teochew. And my Foochow grandma’s usual Chicken Soup would be Ba Ting (the black herbal type) soup which I also don’t mind but haven’t yet tried to cook.
So how do you like your Chicken soup?