Sunday, May 9, 2010

Ginger Braised Chicken, My mom's style

First of all, Happy Mothers' Day to all mothers.

My mom… how to tell u about my mom. Widowed when I was just 11. She raised us, 3 siblings and 1 cousin, fed us well, gave us all we ever needed. No luxuries, but never deprived of anything. We have our computers, our Nikes(no DKNY or GA), piano lessons(but no piano, I practiced at my teacher’s), Honda C70s(3 of us got 3 bikes, no cars), local tertiary education, first car downpayment… all with her working from 6am to 6pm in a coffee stall passed down since my granddad. My great grandfather had another shop somewhere else, but it’s my granddad that operated this one.

My mom is the type where she’ll play with us, roll on the bed with us when we were young. Not all fun at all times, she never spares the cane if we got tooooo funny in the house. But I could count how many times I was severely canned, just 2. And each time, the moment she put down her cane, she’ll quickly grab ointment to put on our skin. Skin deep… truly skin deep. Even at age 63 now, we still can grab her neck by our elbow and play with her. A very fun mother, but dun try to be too funny, ya know what I mean.

She retired and sold off the business since Hannah came by. Took care of her and Joanna and made that her new job. One that she never regretted, although she does receive jests from others that she forsake money to be imprisoned with kids. To her, nothing is more important that to have your granddaughters hug you and kiss you everyday, and miss u like mad when you’re not around.My mom always say,” If you don’t take care of them, they won’t have that special bond with you, something that money cannot buy.”

My mom is a lazy cook. Haha!!! Ask her to cook sweet and sour pork, and she’ll give u a stern no. Cos it makes her fry the meat and cook the sauce later, something that she hates to do. Since her retirement, she watched a lot more TV than she used to, and definitely more cooking shows. She’s improved a lot and got more adventurous with ingredients. Her stews and braises have always been good, and these few years, her soup is getting better and better. Can u imagine that I taught her how to cook when I was 6 or 7??? If u read my “about me” you’ll know that I watch grandaunt cook a lot, and mom never cooked at home that time. For a few weeks, grandaunt wasn’t home, and mom had to cook. She had to ask me, what did grandaunt use for this dish and that…. So I became her “sifu”. I was so bad, telling her ketchup here and ketchup there, because I loved ketchup (hey I was 7!!!). and if she really did cook sweet and sour fish, I’ll be there instructing her to put in more and more ketchup. If you can imagine how bad her cooking was, I tell you, even her blanched veggie tasted yucks( no ketchup ok)!! What if your kids were so frank telling u that your cooking sucks??? Will that stop u from cooking?? My mom didn’t, and she cooked even more(on Sundays). By the time I was 9, she could cook the most wonderful dinners ever (every mother cooks the best!!!!). No more complaints.

This ginger braised chicken is one of my mother’s forte. No ketchup here. No one does it as good as she does, and that includes me, her earlier “sifu”. Never ask her for recipes, she never cook with one and when she does, it always sucks. Freehand is always better with her. But I’ve jotted down what I’ve done today(after referring to my mother to confirm ingredients used) for ur reference.

My mom's Ginger Braised Chicken
1.2kg chicken whole legs (3 pcs)
80gm ginger, julienned (about ¾ cup)
2 Tbsp oil
½ tbsp salt
2 Tbsp oyster sauce
3 Tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp dark soy sauce
¾ tsp sugar or slightly more if ginger is pretty hot
3 cups water

1. Chop chicken legs into pieces, I chopped them into 8 pieces each.
2. Heat wok until very hot. Put in oil and fry ginger until fragrant.
3. Make sure the wok is well smeared with the ginger oil. Put in chicken and spread it around. Do not toss them immediately. Let it sit in the wok for 30 seconds, then only u start to use ur spatula to flip the chicken pieces. Stir fry chicken in wok until the chicken looks opaque and skin starts to brown slightly.
4. Put in all the seasonings. And continue to stir fry until the seasonings dry up a bit, but be careful not to burn.
5. Put in water and simmer on medium low heat until chicken is tender.

My mother’s advice: Best if cooked in a claypot.
And weeks later, after I did this, she did this, and luckily I was there to capture the process. This is my mummy dearest doing her best dish, not me.

And lastly a picture of my mom with Lyanne.... see their resemblence?? Lyanne is very attached to her, even though they meet nnly once a month. Lyanne even sleeps with my mom :)

And here's another one with all her grandkids

These pics were taken 8 months back, so everybody has grown..


  1. Mmm...looks very delicious.
    Happy Mother's day ;))

  2. This is a wonderful post. I feel like I already know your mother. She's a great lady. You are so patient taking step by step pictures as you cook - I can never manage that. Happy Mother's Day to you and your mum!

  3. Wow my favourite ! I like this with lots of ginger. Your mum is indeed a great woman and pls send her my warmest regard

  4. So, what a sweet sweet post! Wishing you & your mom, HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY! Hope you guys have a fabulous time!
    Blessings, Kristy

  5. Happy Flour and Anncoo,

  6. Shirley,
    It was my mom cooking this time. :)
    I only took the pics, she did the rest.

  7. AFTH,
    Yaya, I like it with lots of ginger too.
    But my hubby beh tahan ginger. :)

  8. Kristy,
    My mom said, go out eat so often until no rasa oredi. So today we just went for Tai Chow, eating fried noodles and simple stir fries:)

  9. Happy Mother's day.
    You have a beautiful blog.
    I'll come back.
    See soon.

  10. Yummy, delicious meal! Mom’s cooking is always delicious!
    This is my family’s favourite meal too, especially the sauce. I would like to add a dash of rice wine or shaoxing wine in it and it turns out more aromatic.:)

  11. Wendyy..
    Hepy Mother's Day..

    if i put corn flour and put extra water..can it be like sizzling???

  12. Lovely post! You have a great mother. ;) BTW, this Braised Ginger Chicken is what I ate almost everyday during my confinement! I got a little "sick" of it at that time...but now thinking how my mum and MIL did it for brings back fond memories. ;) Thanks for taking the trouble to show us the steps in such detail!

  13. SKfong,
    Thanks for the suggestion.

  14. Zeta,

    You can put cornstrach and water in if you like. But that won't make it sizzle, unless you put it on a hot plate.

  15. Nadji,
    Thanks, hope to see you more often

  16. Honey Bee Sweets,
    Huh, why eat this everyday? Aiyor... I only eat this once a week, because I prepared a weekly menu for my confinement lady, I can't take the same stuff daily.
    That was my mom cooking, so I just stood beside her and snapped with my phone.

  17. Sorry when I looked at the photo of your mum and daughter , I burst out look sooo much like your mum and your daughter looks so much like you too....photocopy !!

  18. Nice story sharing. :)
    My mom cook the similar dish too, but with sesame oil. Just love it.

  19. i feel paiseh la... just focus on ur family photos and neglect the food preparation hehehe..

    ur daughter look like ur grandma. She look cute. want to cubby her face la... can i?

  20. i visited yesterday, had a peak n tak sempat wish u Happy Mothers' belated oso can?
    i like this very chinese dish a lot, and thanks to your step by step, i'm more sure of wat to do now...usually i just cook it "pakai hantam" only... :D

  21. Happy Belated Mother's Day !!!!

    I really love the way you posted the pictures -"Step-By-Step". That made me felt like I was there at the time you cooked the yummy dish.
    Thanks for your effort making your blog interesting.

  22. Voon,
    My daughter look like my grandma? How did you know? She pass away when I was only 2 oh. I don't even have a picture of her with me.

    Eh, if u cubit my daughter I cook maggi with your daughter. hehehe, joking. I love Vanessa's curls and my daughter oredi very kesian, too many ppl cubit her at my husband's work place.

  23. Mel,
    Oh what peak did you have? I hope I'm not being misled here.. hahahah!!!!!

  24. Foong Mun,
    Happy Mother-to-be Day to you:)
    It's not me la..but it's Ah Gu cooking. Haiya, read carefully la.

  25. oh... i am wrong... look like ur mum. hehehe

    so many cubit her.... never mind la.. add me too :P

  26. So detailed steps...I like the way it is done.

    Publish a cook book, Wendy!

    I will get my copy from you then.

    : ))

  27. Can you use clay pot on electric stove top?

  28. Anonymous,
    I'm sorry, I have no experience with electric stove tops.

  29. Recently came across this post. I was so touched by the relationship. That's the thing, memory comes with with all kind of sensation, of including taste and smell. That is mother's smell, mother's taste, no substitution!

  30. Love your blog. It's not only chockful of information on cooking and food that you generally can't find elsewhere, but also filled with family stories that warms the cockles of one's heart. Visiting your blog is like entering a secret second home (bao er nai, kekeke.) Now I know where your gorgeous little girls get their heart shaped faces from, their granny. They all look like hello kitties come alive(Hello Kitty is a a chin short of being heart shaped.)

  31. Anonymous,
    LOL, a chin short from heart shape, LOL!!!
    Actually my kids look like their maternal grandma. Ladies after menopause will have saggy skin, hence my mom's saggy cheeks. Kids have puffy faces.... not a fair comparison, to me, LOL.

  32. Hi Wendy,

    I have tried cooking this dish and it was really delicious, my family really love it! I hope to try out more of your recipes :)



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