When I first tasted emperor chicken, it was a revelation. The herbal taste, combined with the tender chicken essence, was unlike anything I had ever experienced. It’s not just a dish; it’s a culinary journey. In my opinion, the emperor chicken is best suited for special occasions or when you’re looking to beat those Monday blues with a homely cooking experience. It’s a specialty dish that promises to leave an impression.
Choosing the Right Main Ingredient
The heart of the emperor chicken lies in its main ingredient: the chicken. But how do you choose the right one?
- Whole Fresh Chicken vs. Chicken Legs: While a whole fresh chicken ensures a wholesome experience, chicken legs, especially with bone in, can provide a richer flavor. I personally prefer using chicken legs for a more concentrated taste.
- Where to Buy: For the freshest poultry, I recommend PurelyFresh online. Their quality is unmatched, ensuring that your emperor chicken tastes divine.
Seasoning: The Soul of the Dish
What gives the emperor chicken its distinctive herbal taste? The answer lies in its seasoning.
- Emperor Herbs and Seah’s Spices: These are the pillars of the dish. The combination of dang gui, dang shen, yu zhu, red dates, and wolfberries infuses the chicken with a flavor that’s both rich and aromatic.
- Essential Seasonings: Don’t forget the oyster sauce, sesame oil, chicken powder, and huatiao wine. These ingredients elevate the dish, ensuring that every bite is a symphony of flavors.
Cooking Equipment & Using Them Effectively
The right equipment can make or break your emperor chicken. Here’s what you need and how to use them:
- Deep Wok: This is essential for preparing the herbal broth. Ensure it’s deep enough to hold the chicken and the broth. Start on medium heat and adjust as needed.
- Steaming Bowl and Rack: Once your chicken is seasoned, you’ll need a steaming bowl to hold it and a rack to ensure even cooking. Make sure the bowl is deep enough to prevent the broth from spilling over.
- Skewer: This is crucial for checking the doneness of the chicken, especially in the thigh area. When the skewer goes through smoothly, your chicken is ready.
- Aluminium Foil and Cellophane Film Paper: These are used to wrap the chicken, ensuring that it retains its moisture and flavors during the cooking process. Wrap tightly but ensure there’s room for the chicken to breathe.
Remember, the key is to monitor the cooking process closely. Adjust the heat as necessary and ensure that the chicken is always submerged in the broth for even cooking.
The Emperor Chicken Recipe: A Step-by-Step Guide
- 1 whole fresh chicken or 4 chicken legs (bone in)
- Emperor Herbs: dang gui, dang shen, yu zhu, red dates, wolfberries
- 1 packet of Seah’s spices
- 4 dried scallops
- 2 tablespoons dark soya sauce
- 1 liter of water
- 2 tablespoons chicken essence
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon chicken powder
- 2 tablespoons huatiao wine
- 1 tablespoon cornflour mixed with 2 tablespoons water
- Preparation: Clean the chicken thoroughly. If using a whole chicken, ensure all innards are removed.
- Seasoning: In a bowl, mix all the seasoning ingredients. Rub this mixture generously all over the chicken, ensuring it penetrates well. Allow the chicken to marinate for at least 1 hour.
- Broth Preparation: In a deep wok, combine all the ingredients for the herbal broth. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes.
- Wrapping the Chicken: Lay out the aluminium foil and place the cellophane film paper on top. Place the marinated chicken in the center and pour in some broth. Wrap the chicken tightly, ensuring no leaks.
- Steaming: Place the wrapped chicken in a steaming bowl. Place this bowl on a steaming rack inside a deep wok filled with water. Steam on medium heat for 2 hours.
- Serving: Once cooked, carefully unwrap the chicken. Transfer to a serving dish. Heat the remaining broth, add the thickening solution, and pour over the chicken.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 350Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 85mgSodium: 750mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 2gSugar: 5gProtein: 28g
Serving Suggestions & Suitable Side Dishes
The rich, herbal taste of the Emperor Chicken pairs beautifully with:
- White or Brown Rice: The simplicity of rice complements the complex flavors of the chicken.
- Steamed Vegetables: Lightly seasoned veggies can balance out the richness of the dish.
Cooking Tips & Common Mistakes to Avoid
- Marination Time: The longer you marinate, the richer the flavor. However, don’t exceed 24 hours.
- Broth Level: Always ensure the chicken is submerged in the broth while steaming. This ensures even cooking and flavor infusion.
- Don’t Oversteam: Oversteaming can make the chicken rubbery. Stick to the recommended time.
Conclusion: A Dish Fit for Royalty
Emperor Chicken, with its rich herbal taste and succulent meat, is truly a dish fit for royalty. Whether you’re looking to impress guests or simply treat yourself, this dish promises a culinary experience like no other. Dive into the world of speciality dishes with Emperor Chicken and let every bite transport you to a realm of exquisite flavors. Happy cooking!
What are the benefits of eating emperor chicken?
Emperor chicken is rich in protein and infused with traditional herbs, which are believed to have medicinal properties. It’s a nutritious dish that combines both taste and health benefits.
What is in empress shrimp?
Empress shrimp typically consists of large shrimp cooked in a creamy sauce, often with egg whites, broth, and seasonings. The dish is known for its delicate flavors and velvety texture.
What is the difference between General Tso and Empress chicken?
General Tso’s chicken is a spicy, deep-fried chicken dish in a tangy sauce, while Empress chicken is usually steamed or lightly fried, served with a milder, often herbal-infused sauce.
What is Empress chicken made of?
Empress chicken is made from chicken pieces, often steamed or lightly fried, and is served with a sauce that can be herbal, slightly sweet, or savory, depending on the recipe.
How long can I store leftover emperor chicken?
Leftover emperor chicken can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Ensure it’s kept in an airtight container to retain its flavors.
Can I use other meats instead of chicken for this recipe?
While traditionally made with chicken, you can experiment with meats like duck or quail. However, cooking times and flavors may vary.
Is emperor chicken spicy?
Emperor chicken is not typically spicy. It’s known for its rich herbal flavor, but you can always add some heat if desired.
Where can I buy the specific herbs for emperor chicken?
Most Asian grocery stores or online platforms like PurelyFresh should have the emperor herbs and Seah’s spices required for the dish.
Can I make emperor chicken vegetarian?
While the essence is in the chicken, you can try using firm tofu or tempeh as a substitute, infusing it with the herbal flavors.
What wines pair well with emperor chicken?
A light white wine, like a Pinot Grigio or a mild Riesling, complements the herbal flavors of emperor chicken beautifully.
I’m Calvin Lamb, an LA-based culinary enthusiast with a decade’s experience in five-star kitchens. My innovative dishes, inspired by seasonal flavors and sustainable practices, blend classic and modern cuisine. Besides crafting unique culinary experiences, I relish exploring new eateries and devising fresh recipes.