Not-So-Perfect Smoked Chicken
I've flipped over the Stewed and Smoked Chicken recipe from one of my favourite cookbooks, Sensational Braised & Stewed countless times but I couldn't bring myself to try it. The thought of spending hours preparing the ingredients, and the subsequent stewing and smoking process was just too daunting. But the recipe was also a page in the book that I visited again and again, gawking at the beautifully smoked chicken and wondering how the taste would be.
I've finally mustered my courage to make a go at the recipe. First of all, I have to source for the ingredients for stewing. There are lots of chinese herbs in the list, with names like 沙姜, 草果, which I haven't heard of before, let alone knew how it looks like. Anyway, I managed to get all the herbs from a chinese medicine hall and I was ready to start!
The chicken was stewed over low heat, in a pot with chinese herbs, Shaoxing wine, rock sugar, light soy sauce and a few slices of ginger. After the chicken was cooked, it was taken out of the pot and that's when I accidentally tore some parts of the skin. I was quite disappointed that the chicken would not look as good as it should be, but I still have to proceed with the smoking process.
Setting up the wok involved layering the base with a piece of aluminium foil; then spreading around foil with1/2 cup of cooked rice, brown sugar and some oolong tea leaf; and finally placing a rack in it. The chicken was then placed on the rack, covered and it was smoked over high heat. A few minutes into the smoking process, the whole house was filled with smoke, I got panicky and I stood by the stove, watching the wok the whole time. I know this sounds silly but I was afraid that the wok might catch fire!
This was how it turned out, a not-so-perfect smoked chicken, with torn skin. The taste of herbs was strong which I think it's ok, but I'll definitely reduce the amount of herbs if I were to make my second attempt. In the mean time, let me spray some air freshener to get rid of the smell from the smoke!