Friday, 11 July 2014

Chicken steak, version 2.0

A few days ago, I had attempted to cook chicken steak for the very first time, relying only on some vague memory of my aunt cooking this dish before she passed away. The dish came out okay - personally, I would rate it maybe 7/10 - but the presentation was awful.

The reason, you see, was that I forgot to salt the gravy and I had already scooped all the gravy into the chicken. Therefore, I tried to rectify this oversight by emptying the plate of cooked chicken steak back the wok, threw in some salt and stirred the whole concoction together before scooping everything back onto the plate. That's why it looked so untidy.

Not satisfied with my first attempt three days ago, I tried cooking the dish again today. This time, I would know better. Or so I thought. Anyway, I started off by frying the quartered potatoes. The deboned chicken thigh and breast meat were first coated with a thin layer of flour and then dipped into a bowl of beaten eggs before transferring into the wok for frying.

For the gravy, I fried some cut onion rings, then added a bowl of water and the fried potatoes, allowing everything to simmer for two or three minutes before finally adding some corn starch to thicken the gravy. And here's where I under-estimated the amount of gravy required for my chicken steak. Too little. And by the time I had realised this during dinner, I had already washed and dried all the cooking utensils. So we had to make do with whatever little gravy that I had managed to pour over my chicken steak creation. My wife said that it was hai chooi koh, meaning low tide.

I was attempting to cook chicken steak the way my aunt had cooked it but although mine was a reasonable copy of her original, methinks visually my version was closer to Hainanese chicken chop, the type I'd see at places like Yut Kee Restaurant in Kuala Lumpur or the Hai Oan Restaurant in Penang. But taste-wise, I think that mine is "double thumbs up".

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