Eileen says this dish is similar to one her mother used to cook and is quite authentic.
- 1 large chicken, chopped into small pieces or chicken wings
- 200 g packet dried bean curd
- 200 g dried mushrooms
- 540 g lotus root in tin (or fresh from the market)
- 2 g dried lily flower (optional)
- 2 x 20 g packets black moss
- 1 tbsp Chinese aniseed spice (or 6 star anise)
- 1½–2 tsp five spice powder
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- chicken stock
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Marinating time 1 hour
Place chicken pieces in a bowl with five spice powder and soy sauce. Marinate for approximately 1 hour.
Cover bean curd with hot water and leave until soft. Remove from water, drain and cut into 5 cm long pieces.
Peel and slice lotus root if using fresh. Soak black moss in hot water. Tie lily flower strands into a knot.
Put dried mushrooms in a saucepan with 1 tsp salt, cover with water and bring to boil. Simmer for a few minutes then drain off water and allow to cool. Cut off stems and squeeze out excess water from mushrooms.
Heat 2 litres of homemade chicken stock in a saucepan, add the star anise, and mushrooms and simmer with the lid on for 3 hours. (The mushrooms will soften and add flavour to the stock. This can be prepared the day before.)
Heat some oil in a large wok, and fry the marinated chicken pieces for approximately 10 minutes, turning constantly not to burn the chicken.
Add the Chinese dry ingredients (sliced lotus root, lily flower, drained black moss and dried beancurd) to the prepared chicken and mushroom stock and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Transfer the stock with the dried vegetables into the wok with the chicken pieces and cook over a low heat a further 15 minutes. Before serving, thicken the liquid with cornflour mixed with a little water into a paste. The amount of cornflour is determined by how much liquid has evaporated.