花瓜燉雞 (hua gua dun ji) Stewed Chicken with Taiwanese Pickles is one of those incredibly simple soups that are part of Chinese/Taiwanese dinners. Consumed at the end of the meal these delicately flavored soups sort of act as a palate cleanser and a contrast to some of the stronger flavors that may have been part of the meal itself.
Utterly simple, and bloody imposible to take a good picture of, this soup eats better than it looks. The pickles impart a hint of sweetness to the soup, though it is important that you do not cook them too long, as they lose flavor. In Taiwan and in my kitchen the chicken is cooked with the bone in. It may take some getting use to for those who are use to all of their soups boneless (and not use to using a cleaver), but the most flavorful portions of the chicken are the ones with bones in them (and cheapest since Americans seem to be obsessed with dry, flavorless chicken breasts). You, of course, can make yours boneless if you like.
- 1/2 chicken or a couple thighs, cut into bite size pieces
- 6 c. water
- 1 green onion, cut into 2 inch lengths
- 2 slices of ginger root
- 1 T. of rice wine
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/2 c. canned Taiwanese pickles
- 3 T. of pickle juice from the jar
- Blanch the chicken pieces in boiling water, drain. Add 6 c. of fresh water to the pot and bring to a boil. Add the green onion, ginger root slices, rice wine, and salt. Simmer for 30 minutes.
- Add the Taiwanese pickles and the pickle juice and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Serve