Xi Yan's Kou Shui Ji (口水鸡) – Drool Worthy Recipe

Monday, 9 November 2009

PhotobucketI'm not sure what Kou Shui Ji (口水鸡) should be in English. This is a Jacky Yu (of Xi Yan Private Dining) recipe, which he has named Chicken in Hot and Spicy Sauce. But I think that's a bit too generic. Sounds like Kung Pao Chicken, which is completely different. '口水' actually means 'saliva' and '鸡' means 'chicken'. Hence, '口水鸡' is sometimes translated into 'Saliva Chicken'. Ho . . . hum, I don't like that either. The translation is a bit too literal and direct for me. I'm leaning towards Sichuan Drooling Good Chicken, meaning it's way better than 'finger lickin' good" fried chicken. What do you think? Kou Shui Ji is indeed drool worthy, especially with the addition of century eggs, which are not found in the original Sichuan version. It's Jacky Yu's personal touch and once again, it's a brilliant adaptation. The spicy and fragrant sauce brings out the creaminess of the century eggs, which adds a different textural dimension to the dish. And provides a nice contrast to the crunchy Sichuan peppercorns and peanuts. But if you're not into century eggs, by all means leave them out. With or without the scary looking black eggs, the poached chicken is really yummy with the sauce and condiments. I like this dish so much I have a bottle of the sauce mixed and ready to be used with just a few shakes. I drizzle it on not just chicken but also pork, prawns, squids and instant noodles. This is my Homemade Sichuan Miracle Sauce. It's good for everything!

Other Jacky Yu (Xi Yan) recipes:
Prawns with Red
Fermented Beancurd
Crispy Pork Ribs with
Dried Tangerine Peel
Tomatoes in Sesame
Wasabi Sauce
No-Steam Radish Cake
(Lor Bak Ko)

Source: Xi Yan Cuisine, Jacky Yu
(For 8 persons)

1 chicken
3 century eggs
1 pack mung bean sheets (粉皮)
roasted sesame seeds
roasted peanuts
diced Chinese celery
Hot and spicy sauce
8 tbsp light soy sauce
2½ tbsp Zhenjiang vinegar
4 tbsp water
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp ground Sichuan peppercorns (I use much, much more)
1 tbsp finely minced ginger
1 tbsp finely minced garlic
1 tbsp finely chopped Chinese parsley
4 tbsp white sesame oil
chilli oil to taste

Wash chicken and brush the inside of the chicken thinly with honey. Steam for 18 minutes. Turn heat off and keep the lid on. Leave for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool. Adjust steaming time if necessary. Do not overcook chicken so that it's moist and tender.

Dice century eggs. Cut mung bean sheets into strips. Soak mung bean sheets in boiling water until transparent. Refresh in ice water. Drain.

When chicken is cool, debone and chop into bite size pieces. Transfer to a deep dish. Add century eggs and mung bean sheets.

Mix sauce ingredients thoroughly. Add sauce to chicken along the rim of the dish.Add chilli oil to taste and 4 tbsp of sesame oil. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, peanuts and diced Chinese celery. Serve.


Anonymous said...

your food blog is awesome. im a total cooking newbie and looking to learn some cooking. It will be wonderful if you do videos on your cooking.

KT said...

Videos?! I'm not a pro! I don't know how new you are to cooking but there're lots of little things that are not explicitly stated in recipes. Like where do you drizzle the light soya sauce! (A bit on the side of the hot wok so that it caramelizes and burns slightly.) These details can make the difference between an ok and a great dish. Just shout if you need help.

Anonymous said...

Hi KT,

I tried making this the other day taste great but not spicy enough. I wonder what's wrong with my dish is it because I bought the wrong type of peppercorns or the chilli oil? May I know which brand u use for your chilli oil? I used the Japanese 辣油. Dunno if that's the reason :(.


KT said...

Hi Pat

Um, the recipe says chilli oil to taste, so pile it on till it suits your taste? Ditto for Sichuan peppercorns.

The recipe is from a Hong Kong man, that's why it's adapted to Hong Kong tastes with only 1 tsp of Sichuan peppercorns. As I indicated, I use much, much more, though it's nothing like the Sichuanese who add chilli oil and peppercorns by the bucketload, literally. BTW, Sichuan peppercorns from Kwong Cheong Thye are much better than the Crab brand sold in supermarts.

I've never tried Japanese chilli oil (quite expensive?) but since the Japanese don't like spicy food, I'd guess their chilli oil is probably quite mild. I make my own with dried chillies blitzed in a mini chopper to get flakes, then pouring hot vegetable oil over the chilli flakes. The oil should be hot but not smoking, or the chillies would burn and turn bitter instead of aromatic/smoky. If you're keeping the chilli oil in the fridge, don't use palm oil unless you don't mind it coagulated. How spicy the oil is depends on how spicy the dried chillies are, and the ratio of oil to chillies (I go for about 3:1 by volume). Let the oil and chillies steep at least overnight before using. Taste and if necessary, reheat the oil and add to more chilli flakes. A good chilli oil should be aromatic, spicy and red.

Kou Shui Ji is a multi-dimensional dish. You should taste a multitude of aromas (look at the ingredients; except for water, sugar and chicken, they're all aromatic), plus the spiciness of the chilli oil and the sweetness of the chicken. And the peppercorns attack your tongue and make it go numb. It's an explosion of sensations in your mouth, a mind-boggling experience. For me, this is a great recipe. Hope you'll try it again. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi KT,

Thanks for your detail explanation. I didn't know can make chilli oil at home :) must try it out soon :) I think i bought the wrong type of peppercorns it's not spicy enough. I must go search for kwong cheong thye peppercorns. Will definitely do it again coz my hubby loves kou shui Ji!

KT said...

Hi hi, just wanna to make sure that you know Sichuan peppercorns aren't spicy-hot, as in 辣. Rather, they are spicy-fragrant, as in 香. Plus, of course, they make your tongue numb. The 辣 part of kou shui ji should come from the chilli oil.

Tomas said...

Hi there, I think it's better to translate 'Koushui Ji' as 'Mouthwatering Chicken'.

KT said...

Oky doky, when I make a video, I'll call it 'Mouthwatering Chicken'. 

mae said...

The reason why its called kou shui ji because it is supposed to be laden with chillies that will make the mouth water due to the extreme spiciness of the dish... there were more than 8 different kinds of chillies used to make this dish when i had it in China.... it is nothing like kung pou gai... cheers

fisshy said...

Hi, blogger of Kitchen Tigress, I am a designer from a film making. And we hope to use the koushui chicken photograph as above shown. Do you own the rights of this Koushui Chicken photograph? Can we use/buy this photograph from the owner?
For detail conversation, pls email me: fishball.yee@hotmail.com

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