“Braised chicken with forest mushrooms” 小鸡炖蘑菇/小雞炖蘑菇 is one of the signature dishes of the Chinese Dongbei cuisine. Literally translated as “small chicken braised with mushrooms”, the original recipe calls for a young chicken.
As with all homefood, there are hundreds of variations to this recipe. The one which I am using here, is one which brings out most of the flavours of Dongbei cuisine 东北菜/東北菜.
To achieve the right flavour, you should 1) NOT use either fresh or dried shiitake mushrooms, because the taste of these are very unique and overpowering 2) NOT use white button mushrooms because these give out liquid instead of absorbing them.
The first time I tasted this dish was in the Wutai mountains 五台山 in the Shanxi province in the north of China. There, with the cool mountain air and pristine nature, the dish was the tastiest I have ever tasted of a chicken dish! The cook there used the renown forest mushrooms found in the mountain forest called Taimo 台蘑. In the Dongbei region, where this dish originates from, locals use a special forest mushroom called Dongbei Zhenmo 榛蘑 harvested in the prehistoric forests of the Daxingan Valley 大兴安岭. The mushrooms only grow off the bark of the Asian Hazel (Corylus heterophylla) tree, native to northern China, Korea and Japan. Any respectable foodie who visits northern China should not forget to buy the precious Taimo or Dongbei Zhenmo!
- 750g young chicken, cut into pieces
- 75g forest mushrooms (if using dried version, soak in water until they turn soft)
- 5-10 dried chilli
- 1 shallot, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, diced
- 1-2 star anise (if you do not have this, use half teaspoon of Five-spice powder)
- 3cm ginger
- 1 cloves
- 1 tbs Shaoxing rice wine
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbs sugar
- 5 tbs vegetable oil
- 2 tbs dark soy sauce
- 1 tbs light soy sauce
- 1 portion glass noodles
- 500ml water
Servings: 2 persons
- Heat up your pot with oil on medium heat. Once the oil starts steaming, brown your chicken in it. The goal is to let the chicken be cooked on the outside.
- Throw in your shallot, garlic, ginger and stir-fry until you can smell the fragrance.
- Add in your rice wine, salt, sugar, soy sauce, clove, chili, forest mushrooms and stir-fry them.
- Add in your water, cover and bring to boil. Once boiling, turn the heat to low and let it simmer for 20 minutes. Do not let the gravy turn too dry so add more water if needed. Check if the chicken is tender enough, if so, check the taste and add salt if necessary.
- Once done, add in your glass noodles and let it soak up the broth. Once the noodles are soft and tender, turn off the fire.
- Serve piping hot.