Wednesday, 9 January 2013

DIY: Tea-Infused Braised Chicken with Mushrooms and Tofu

To celebrate a brand new year, I decided to cook a simple Chinese dish for lunch.  As I wanted to make our lunch a bit more flavourful and nourishing than usual, I had incorporated tea as the base for the gravy – to be more specific, pu-er tea although any other types of black tea would be suitable.

Pu-er tea has quite many beneficial properties such as aiding digestion, lower cholesterol levels, blood cleansing properties and facilitating weight loss.  The only setback is that pu-er tea has quite a unique earthy aroma that may not be very pleasant to many.  But by combining the more aromatic ingredients together, the flavour of pu-er can be soften.

The dish is actually modified from the Braised Pork in Soy Sauce (Tau Yu Bak) recipe.  Depending on the kind of tea used, it gives a totally different taste.  The end result - the gravy is sweet and fragrant, with a tinge of pungent aroma.  So good, that we ended drinking it as soup.

As much as I wanted it to be a pork dish, the nearest supermarket doesn't sell pork and so I had to change it to chicken instead.  Nevertheless, the result is still good.

Tea-Infused Braised Chicken with Mushrooms and Tofu
(Serving size: 2 person)

2 chicken thighs (or 400g chicken/pork)
Dried mushrooms, soaked and cut
Hard tofu, cut
2 stalks spring onion
5 garlic cloves
2 shallots
1 cinnamon
2-3 star anise
1 cup black tea (pu-er) – depend how much sauce you want, you can adjust this

Other possible items to add:  Hard-boiled eggs, braised peanuts, fried chicken feet.

Chicken Marinade:  Light soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar and pepper

Seasonings:  Light soy sauce, oyster sauce, dark soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar and pepper

  1. Wash the thighs and cut into reasonable sizes.  Marinade them for at least 30 mins, preferably overnight.
  2. Steep the black tea leaves in hot water for at least 5 minutes, longer if you want the brewed tea to be darker and stronger.
  3. Pan-fry the tofu until brown.  Set aside.
  4. Heat the wok with oil and for extra fragrance, I added sesame oil.
  5. Stir-fry the spring onions, garlic, shallots, mushrooms, cinnamon stick and star anise until fragrant.  If you want some heat, you can add some dried chilies (which I eventually forgotten to put in).
  6. Add in the chicken and stir-fry until it is slightly brown.
  7. Add in the tofu.
  8. Add in the brewed tea and the seasonings.
  9. Let it simmer for 30 mins.  Or if you decide to use the thermal cooker to do the slow-cooking part, then just simmer it for 5-10 mins.
  10. Before serving, you may want to thicken the sauce a bit with some cornflour mixture.

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