Monday, August 23, 2010

Culinary alchemy with green onion

Recipe #7: Chicken with scallion oil

Scallion (green onion) is often used in Chinese cooking. When scallions are planted, it is usually done so in a large amount. No matter what day or how often they're planted, they will all bloom at once. So when the flowers are the prominent, we must use dishes that use a lot of onion, to avoid waste.

Chicken with scallion oil is one such dish. Making this dish looks fairly easy, but it has an incredible flavor. Since this is the time when onions are the most prominent, I thought I'd use this opportunity to share this recipe.

When making this dish, there are a few things to consider: 1) the onion must be cut into thin slivers, lengthwise. It takes the skill of a master swordsman to cut so precise. 2) You must chop the chicken, the chopping knife in one hand, and using the other one to hold it still. It's a bit scary, if you ask me! 3) Finally, you must drizzle the hot oil on the onion. You must do it when the oil is at the right temperature, which can be a bit hard to catch. However, you will get the hang of it after enough practice. When the aroma fills the room, I realize that I would be willing to feel the fear of that big knife.


1. Half chicken or 3 whole legs
2. 3 green onions, shredded, with white and green parts
3. 6 sliced ginger roots
4. 1 1/2 tsp. salt
5. 2 Tbsp. cooking oil


1. Rub the salt on the chicken and put ginger on top
2. Put chicken in container and cover overnight.
3. Using steamer, cook chicken for about 30 minutes
4. When the chicken is done, remove the ginger and let cool slightly, cutting chicken into pieces or chunks, and arrange on a serving plate.
5. Spread scallions on chicken
6. Heat the oil; when it is hot enough, drizzle it on the scallions; you can hear the sizzling sounds
7. Serve hot


1. If you do not chop using bone knife, you can use boneless chicken
2. You are cooking at a high terperature, so you should use oil that can withstand high terperatures, such as canola or soybean. However, do not use cooking or frying oil oil, as the taste does not match well.
3. When steaming, you can use any steaming container to give the best effect. Different steaming devices require different time. You can check by using a fork chopstick; if the juice is clear, the chicken is done. If it is pink, you must continue steaming.
4. You can add cooking wine if you like the taste of wine. However, if you not add wine, you can enjoy the original unique taste. Personally, I like it without wine.
5. After rubbing the salt, the overnight step is important. This allows the taste to enter the chicken. The special taste is from this step. Many people use merely rub it for a short time, but the taste does not compare.
6. Shredded scallion can be bought at Korean supermarkets.

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