Friday, April 22, 2011

When Recipes Don't Work!

I posted before about William Sonoma's fast Asian cookbook.  The recipes are easy to follow and very tasty.   I thought that I would continue to work my way through the recipes and settled on braised soy-ginger chicken and bok choy..  I love braised meats and the sauce-- which adds sesame oil and honey to the reduced marinade-- sounded flavorful.

What a disappointment!  I know that these recipes are tested before they make their way into a cookbook.  Something clearly went wrong with this one. 

The recipe needs to be re-vamped.  I was concerned about the use of a full cup of soy sauce as part of the braising liquid. All that sodium! I thought that I would get around the issue by using low-sodium soy sauce.  The marinade/sauce was still way too salty!  I'm not anti-sodium by any means.  But the chicken and bok choy were rendered nearly dead by all that sodium. 

In addition to using low-sodium salt, I would decrease it by 1/4.  Also, try using more water (increase by 1/2) and more rice wine (increase by 1/2).

I'm hesitant to even post the recipe.  Maybe after several weeks, I'll give it a try again with the modifications.

I blame myself for the problems. My instincts told me that there was too much soy sauce relative to the other liquids. Using common sense is as important as reading the recipe carefully.

Braised soy-ginger chicken and bok choy

1 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine or dry sherry
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
2 tablespoons minced ginver
3 thinly sliced scallions
2 lbs. skin-on, bone in chicken thighs or breast halves
1/2 lb. bok choy, quartered lengthwise
2 tablespoons hone
1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
steamed rice for serving

1. Braise the chicken
In a Dutch oven or deep frying pan, combine 1 1/2 cups water and the soy sauce, wine, brown sugar, five-spice powder, ginger, and scallions.  Bring to a boil over high heat adn then reduce the heat to medium-low.  Submerge the chicken pieces, skin side up, in the liquid and simmer gently for 8 minutes.  Turn the pieces and continue to simmer until the chicken is opaque throughout when tested with the tip of a iknife, about 8 minutes longer.

2.  Cook the bok choy
Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a serving platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm,.  Bring the braising liquid to a boil over medium heat, add teh bok choy, and cook until tender about 3 minutes.  Using the tongs or slotted spoons, transfer the bok choy to the platter, arranging it around the chicken.

3.  Glaze the chicken
Bring the braising liquid to a boil over high heat and boil until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the honey and sesame oil.  Pour over the chicken and bok choy and serve with the rice.

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