Ipoh Bean Sprout Chicken (芽菜鸡)
To say that Malaysians are talented is not an overstatement as some of the best–and most impressive–food blogs are authored by Malaysians. I am constantly amazed by the sheer talent of my fellow Malaysians, for example: Billy Law at A Table for Two. A Table for Two chronicles Billy’s eating adventures in Sydney as well as documents delectable recipes from his kitchen. Graced with outstanding food photography plus a keen sense of humor and wicked writing style, I am ready to crown A Table for Two the best new food blog of 2009! Please welcome Billy to Rasa Malaysia as he shares Ipoh Bean Sprout Chicken (芽菜鸡) recipe with us–a famed dish from the state of Ipoh in Malaysia.
I can confirm this – no matter where you are, the only one topic that can reunite all Malaysian expats around the world together has to be food. I am sure you will all agree with me, Malaysian food especially. When Rasa Malaysia asked me to be a guest writer on her blog to feature a signature dish from my hometown, the answer is loud and clear – the most famous dish from Ipoh has to be Bean Sprout Chicken (芽菜鸡) with Sar Hor Fun (rice noodle).
This is a very simple dish to prepare, all you need is patience. The chicken is cooked using the same technique as Hainan Chicken. It is poached in a water bath then quickly dunk into cold water to stop the cooking process to retain its juicy smoothness texture. As for the bean sprout, it will only need to be blanched no more than 10 seconds, then drizzle with sesame oil and soy sauce, and a smidge of white pepper for bit of kick.
Sounds simple? It sure is. You might be wondering how can poached chicken with blanched bean sprout and served with just rice noodle in soup can be a big hit in Ipoh? All thanks to its prime location.
Ipoh is famous for its food, due to the relatively mineral-rich water (high alkali content) owing to its location on top of a large karstic formation, makes the food especially tasty. Tourists and locals are willing to travel interstate for hours just to have a taste of the delicious food this town has to offer.
Another characteristic of this dish is the rice noodle. Its slightly translucent look and superb slippery smooth texture swimming in a sweet broth that has been boiled overnight using chicken carcasses is what make this dish popular with the locals. Sadly all I can get in supermarket here in Australia is some precooked fresh rice noodle in packets which all stick together, thick and crumbly. I am in Australia for over 13 years now, the bean sprout may not be as stout and fat, the rice noodle may never taste the same as those in Ipoh, but at least making this dish will always bring me one step closer to home.
To make this dish, I would suggest you to go for the best produce as possibly can, especially the chicken. Free range or organic chickens are the best options which gives you a better flavour and texture.
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