The last time I visited Woodlands Centre Food Centre, I settled with sesame oil chicken with savoury vegetable rice for lunch as Yan Ji Wei Wei Seafood Soup had a two-hour wait! This sesame oil chicken stall is the first row of the food centre (behind Yan Ji) and also sells Bak Kut Teh.
Sesame oil chicken is a humble but popular home-cooked dish and is especially for nutritious for new mothers in confinement (add more ginger and wine if preparing for confinement meals). Here’s my everyday version of sesame oil chicken.
- 1 Spring Chicken (chop into bite-size pieces, bone-in, wash and drain dry).
- 3 inches Old Ginger (julienne).
- 5 pips Garlic, skin on and bashed lightly.
- 2 tablespoons Sesame Oil.
- ½ tablespoon Peanut Oil (or Vegetable Oil).
- ½ cup Water.
- Chopped Cilantro for garnishing.
- A few teaspoons of Dark Soy Sauce (for desired colour).
- 1 tablespoon Light Soy Sauce.
- 1½ – 2 tablespoons Oyster Sauce.
- 1 teaspoon Sugar (or to taste if you like sweeter).
- ½ to 1 tablespoon Shaoxing Wine (Huatiao Chiew).
- 1 teaspoon Cornflour.
- A few dashes White Pepper Powder.
- You can adjust the seasonings later whilst cooking if the marinade proved too light in taste.
- Heat wok (or claypot) over high heat and add the peanut and sesame oils.
- Once the oil is smoking a little, add the ginger strips and stir-fry until almost golden. Add garlic (skin on) and continue to fry until ginger is light brown and garlic opaque.
- Add marinated chicken to the wok and stir-fry a few seconds till the skin is taut over high heat. Lower heat to medium and continue to stir-fry till the chicken is about half-cooked.
- Add water and do a few quick stirs.
- Cover the wok or claypot with the lid and turn down the heat to medium-low, simmer until the sauce thickens and the chicken is tender. If the sauce dries up before the chicken is tender, add more water (bit by bit). There should be some gravy as seen in photo. The gravy/sauce goes very well with rice so you want to retain them. Add dark soy for colour and adjust seasonings if need be.
- Dish out and garnish with cilantro.
- Serve immediately with plain rice and sambal/chilli sauce if desired.
Marinade:(mix with chicken and leave aside or in fridge for an hour)
P.S. I read somewhere about Sesame Oil for body massage that and wonder if it’s true… “Ayurveda physicians suggest massaging stiff, achy joints with sesame oil, and research confirms that doing so daily can ease joint swelling and pain by 40 percent or more. Credit the oil’s sesamin and episesamin, phytoestrogens that soothe pain nerves and tame inflammation. Just warm a drop of sesame oil between your palms and massage into tender joints.”
Happy cooking eating and bonding!