Monday, January 5, 2009

Black Chicken Stew with Sibut (Chinese Herbs)







Some of you may wonder if there really is a black chicken and how it would look like. They are more common in Asian markets than in regular supermarkets. If you're lucky, you'll find them along with the Peking ducks, pigeons, and quails.


The black chicken is more commonly known as Silkie, a breed of chicken with plumage that feels like silk. The Silkie has black flesh and bones, five toes on each foot, and blue earlobes. Silkies may have originated from China. In Marco Polo's Asian travelogues in the 13th century, he mentioned chicken with fur-like plumage.


Some restaurants in the metropolitan area in the west have cooked the Silkie or black chicken as part of traditional French cooking such as Confit. My recipe is an original Fookien or Fujian Chinese black chicken stew cooked in sesame oil with ginger,  Chinese herbs, Goji berries, and soy sauce,  braised and then simmered in low heat.

Ingredients

1 black chicken, cleaned and cut to serving pieces
1 thumb ginger root, peeled and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons Goji berries
1/2 package Sibut (Chinese herbs)

Procedure

Boil Chinese herbs in a sauce pan with 1 1/2 cups water for about 3 to 5 minutes or until water becomes dark in color.    Heat a nonstick casserole on high heat and brown the ginger in sesame oil.  Add the pieces of black chicken and braise until partially cooked. Add soy sauce, herbs boiled with water, and Goji berries. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 45 minutes or until tender. Serve with steamed rice.

* This exotic Chinese ethnic dish from the province of Fujian, China  might not appeal to some first time eaters.  It w
as one of the flavors I came to like after many times my deceased mother-in-law cooked and served for dinner back home many years ago. It is a good dish to have during winter time. 

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