By Sandy Hu
So much of our family life and social life center around food and cooking. In December we had a big holiday party for 75 guests and the whole family – all five of us – prepped and cooked for it. We cooked our Christmas Eve dinner, complete with a Bûche de Nöel for dessert, and we prepared our annual Christmas night Dungeness crab fest.
We had a traditional Japanese New Year with soba noodle soup on New Year’s Eve and mochi soup on New Year’s Day. We ate traditional New Year foods like sushi and other celebratory Japanese dishes and each family member, including our new daughter-in-law Lynn, prepared a dish for the feast.
We are fortunate that we have a large open kitchen with an 11-foot butcher block island where all of us can cook together. It’s a time when family conversations happen spontaneously as we prepare our meals. The kitchen is a touchstone for our family and the place where we congregate.
Chris, my younger son, is still home for the holidays from New York. When our children live away, we make them their favorite foods when they come home and Steve schedules the requested dishes to ensure we prepare them before, all too soon, the kids leave us again.
And while we are cooking his old family favorites, this year, Chris is cooking his new favorite dishes for us. Over the weekend he made Chicken Paprikash and spaetzle, inspired by his annual Eastern Europe vacations. Chris loves traveling in that part of the world, enjoys Hungarian food and has learned to make some classic dishes.
Here’s one of Chris’ favorites dishes that he requests each year, and is dad’s specialty. It’s a great Special Fork recipe because it’s effortless to prep. The chicken, cooked Chinese style, turns out moist and succulent every time. It’s economical, healthy and delicious. Be sure to use a whole chicken; not parts. Chop up any leftovers to make chicken salad.
Steeped Chicken with Green Onion-Ginger Dipping Sauce
1 whole chicken, about 3 ½ pounds
1 tablespoon kosher salt
4 slices fresh ginger about ½-inch thick
5 green onions, divided
2 tablespoon minced ginger
2 teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons peanut oil
Remove giblets from chicken (neck and package containing the liver, heart and gizzards) and discard. Rinse chicken and put it in a deep pot, adding enough water to cover. Add salt, ginger and 3 of the green onions, cover pot and bring water to a boil. Simmer 20 minutes, cover tightly, remove from heat and let stand 1 hour.
Meanwhile, make Green Onion-Ginger Dipping Sauce: Finely slice remaining 2 green onions. Combine in small heatproof bowl with minced ginger and salt. Heat peanut until very hot and pour over the ingredients in the bowl.
To serve: When chicken is done, remove from pot and cut into serving pieces with kitchen shears or a cleaver, chopping through bone, or pull meat from the bones and arrange on platter. Serve with dipping sauce. Makes 4 servings.
Note: Another good sauce to serve with this chicken Is my daughter-in-law Lynn’s Vinegar Chile Sauce, Thai Style.
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