Scallion Oil Chicken
This is a homely recipe for scallion oil chicken or “cong you ji” (葱油鸡) in mandarin. It’s also known as green onion chicken. It’s really simple to make, while the results are restaurant-worthy :)
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To me, the star of this dish is the scallion (over here we call them spring onion) for making scallion oil. I only make this dish when I can get my hands on beautiful spring onions, either at the wet market, or on a lucky day at the supermarket.
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A perfect scallion oil chicken must have tender & juicy meat after cooking. So it is important to use the thigh cut and ensure that the chicken is not overcooked. It must also be neatly deboned for ease of eating.
Lay aromatics (ginger and bottom white portion of scallions) on a steaming dish.
Place marinated chicken thighs on top of the aromatics.
Cut of chicken to use: The chicken thigh pictured above is the best cut to use if you want to debone chicken effortlessly. Choose chicken thighs that are large and with their skin overlapping the meat if possible. This is to combat the shrinkage of the chicken after steaming. If you have good knife skills (which I lack) to cut the drumstick, you can also use two chicken leg quarters instead of 4 thighs. Note: chicken breast is also easy to debone, but breast meat will not be as tender and juicy as the thigh.
Steam the chicken at high heat for 10 minutes, then turn off the stove. With the lid still covered, keep the chicken on the stove for another 10 minutes to allow continued slow-cooking. This prevents over-cooking so that meat is still tender and shrinkage is minimized. Picture above is steamed chicken after 10+10 minutes of cooking. See all that yellow golden liquid? They are pure concentrated essence of chicken.
Filter this liquid through a sieve to make the scallion sauce later.
How to debone & cut the chicken
Let the chicken cool completely (if you are in a hurry, submerge them in a bowl of ice water) before attempting to cut the chicken. Thigh cut is easy for cutting because there is only one bone as pictured above. Carefully take out this bone while still keeping the meat in one piece….
… then cut the chicken to 3 or 4 sections. Isn’t this super easy?!!
The scallion oil sauce is really quick to make. First slice a few stalks of fresh spring onions. Place them in a heat-proof bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the filtered chicken liquid to a boil and pour it over the bowl of scallions. Season to taste with fine sea salt. The scallion oil should be slightly over-salted for it to be delicious. I recommend starting with 1/2 tsp salt, then add 1/8 tsp at a time until the desired saltiness is reached. In total, you will probably use 3/4 to 1 tsp salt.