This is a really simple and quick soup that tastes really, really good, but I cannot get a decent photo of it for nothing.
Though this is called Sesame Oil Chicken Soup/ 麻油雞湯 (ma you ji tang) one of the most important ingredients, well at least in the sense that it makes it very Taiwanese, is rice wine/ 米酒 (mi jiu).
The Taiwanese use a lot of rice wine in cooking and usually that rice wine is not of the fragrant shaoxing variety that is favored in many mainland dishes. In Taiwan a light, clear rice wine is often used, in large quantities, for cooking. It adds a wonderful flavor to the food and is technically drinkable, but really not my favorite beverage. In Taiwan it is also cheap, very cheap, which is probably due to it being considered a necessity for cooking. In the States it can be difficult to find unsalted Taiwanese rice wine, though it is usually not too expensive if you do, but more likely you will find the salted Taiwanese cooking rice wine, which will work. However the salt does alter the flavor of the dish a bit and it is a good idea to cut it with about half water to prevent the soup from being too salty. If you want, Japanese sake makes a decent substitute, though a bit spendy for such a humble soup.
- 1/2 chicken (2 thighs)
- 4 T. black sesame oil
- 10 slices of ginger
- 1 bottle of rice wine, about 700 ml (or half wine and water)
- Cleave the chicken or chicken thighs into bite size pieces. In a large pan of boiling water blanch the chicken pieces, remove and rinse them.
- In a pot add the 4 T of black sesame oil, over medium heat fry the ginger slices for a couple minutes until they are golden. Add the blanched chicken pieces and the rice wine (or water, or combination thereof).
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.