A few little tricks and techniques make this humble weeknight dinner truly epic. The secret is all in the braising sauce that I cook the chicken in – that then becomes the base of the sauce for the noodles. Double the flavour!
4 dried shitake mushrooms
1 tbsp vegetable oil
4 slices ginger
6 garlic cloves, smashed
4 spring onions (scallions), sliced lengthways
2 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
¼ cup Chinese Shaoxing wine
¼ cup light soy sauce
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
3 tbsp sugar
4 chicken thighs
400g (14 oz) fresh Chinese egg noodles, cooked
100g (3.5 oz) Chinese broccoli (gailarn), blanched until tender
2 tsp sesame oil
4 tbsp sambal oelek* (optional)
Soak the mushrooms in 1 cup hot water for 20 minutes or until softened. Drain and set aside. Strain and reserve the soaking liquid.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the ginger, garlic and spring onion and stir-fry for a minute. Then add the star anise, cinnamon stick, mushrooms, mushroom soaking liquid, Shaoxing wine, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar and 3 cups of water. Bring to a simmer. Then add the chicken and simmer for another 10 minutes. Turn the heat off, cover and allow the chicken to steep in the hot liquid for 30 minutes.
Lift out the chicken and mushrooms and reserve for later. Taste the braising liquid and season to taste with salt. Place a quarter cup of the liquid into 4 shallow serving bowls. Add the cooked noodles and top with cooked Chinese broccoli, sliced reserved chicken and a mushroom. Drizzle each plate with a little sesame oil and spoon a little sambal on the side if using.
– Sambal oelek is a chilli paste that can be found in the Asian aisle of most supermarkets or from an Asian grocery store.