Chinese Cold Poached Velvet Chicken

Adapted from Remaining Kosher, Volume One
by Lauren Stacy Berdy

Chinese cooking seems to abound with many interesting techniques. I learned this one early on. It's a great trick. It is also easy and smart. In this recipe, I place uncooked chicken in a whiskey-seasoned broth, then let it cook covered for a few minutes. While still covered, the pot is then placed on a cool burner and left for twenty minutes. The chicken emerges from this stunt perfectly cooked. A rest in the refrigerator tightens the meat.

The chicken slices are velvety with a back taste of Scotch. The garlic sauce adds a splendor, all coming from a few simple ingredients.
Eaten at room temperature, the chicken and sauce are interdependent and decidedly delicious. This recipe is perfect for the Sabbath day table. Or even a Sunday night supper.
This is Chinese cooking at its best: brimming with harmony and delectable notes.


Velvet Chicken Ingredients
2 cups water
3 tablespoons scotch whisky
2 teaspoons sesame oil
4 large slices ginger root
2 green onions: washed, checked and sliced
1 tablespoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

Chinese Sesame Garlic Dressing Ingredients
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
1 cup chicken cooking liquid
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 green onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
1½ tablespoons rice vinegar (not seasoned)
1¼ teaspoons sugar
3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
Optional: chili flakes or Tabasco (for those who want spicy)


Chicken Directions
In a 1½-quart saucepan, bring water to a boil with scotch, sesame oil, ginger root, green onions, salt and freshly ground pepper.
Cook by boiling the seasoned liquid for 5 minutes.
Lower heat to a simmer. Add in the chicken and cook covered for 5 minutes, then turn heat off. Place the saucepan with chicken on a cool burner. Let the saucepan sit covered for 20 minutes. Take the chicken out of cooking broth and refrigerate: this firms the breast meat. Reserve a cup of broth for the sauce.

Sauce Directions
Have all the sauce ingredients chopped and measured.
Place the sesame seeds in a frying pan over medium heat. Gently shake the pan. In a minute or so the seeds will begin to toast.
Keep shaking- when most of the seeds turn golden brown, remove from heat. Place in the mixing bowl. Add in the reserved chicken liquid.
Add the kosher salt, sesame oil, soy sauce, sliced green onions, minced garlic, rice wine vinegar and sugar. If desired, shake in chili flakes or Tabasco to taste.
Stir until the sugar dissolves. Taste for seasonings.

Pick out your platter.
On the cutting board, place the chilled chicken breasts smooth side up with the narrowest end facing you. Use your sharpest knife. Start to slice over the shortest part of the breast. Continue slicing. Go under the sliced chicken pieces with the broad side of the knife, using it as a spatula.
Place the slices on the platter. Repeat with other breast.
Cover and refrigerate if serving later.
Place the sliced chicken platter on table.
Place the dipping sauce in small bowls around the table.
Add chops sticks for those who know (or those who want to learn).
Serves 4


Recipe: kosher, poultry, chicken