Friday, June 28, 2013

TGIF :Claypot Chicken Soup

Growing up in India we hardly ate out, eating out at a restaurant was when we either travelled or for celebrating something. While doing my masters in National University of Singapore was probably the most number of times in my life that I have eaten out. “Eating out” means not fine dining but at the university canteen. Unlike the university canteen that you find in India the canteen / eat outs across the university in Singapore are similar to a hawker centre
 having many different cuisines under one roof and one has more options to choose from. Well I have to mention that this type of different cuisines under one roof is not limited to the universities which usually have more than one but are found across Singapore. Wherever one is, there is surely an eating place of some sort near them, showing just how pervasive food is in Singapore. In this small nation, food is a national passion as proven by the many eating establishments all over the county. The high variety and versatility of food in Singapore is touted as one of the many reasons to visit the country. This passion can be seen as long queues at famous stalls and many people are willing to travel across the island just to get their favourite eating place be it a hawker centre stall or a restaurant.
I am not a big foodie but on the contrary my husband would eat just anything as for me the looks and ingredients should appeal first before I try the food. Saying that I was stuck to the indian food stall or the malay stall at NUS scared to try something new, it was my husband who introduced me to calypot and to be on the safe side I decided to try claypot chicken and not any other meat. the claypot chicken soup tasted like simple chicken soup no complicated flavours just warm and filling soup apt for a rainy day or just to cure a cold.
Claypot chicken  is a popular dish in the southern regions of China, Singapore and Malaysia. More often than not, the rice is cooked in the claypot first and cooked ingredients like diced chicken and Chinese sausage are added in later. Traditionally, the cooking is done over a charcoal stove, giving it a distinctive flavour. But this one claypot stall at nus science canteen served the claypot chicken soup without the rice in it but it was served as a side and the soup was clear meaning it had no soy sauce. And we had to wait in long lines for almost 15 minutes to be served. As the cooking process is quite slow usually done on a charcoal stove.  But I have seen the man at the NUS stall cook the on the charcoal stove and then transfer to the gas stove guess its probably to quicken the process. However the soup was worth the wait.
While we were in Los Angeles we truly missed the claypot chicken on those clod winter days and so we decied to come up with our very own recipe of the claypot chicken soup. So I started experimenting at first we put the vegetables and chicken in a pot and added water and salt but it was no good so next we decided to spice it with some cloves and then a friend suggested we add sezchuan pepper . Over time with some additions and subtractions I finally reached this formula that tastes best and quite close to the claypot we had during our NUS days that is a claypot chicken without the claypot.  And ever since it’s stuck to our home dinner menu and our kids too truly enjoy the claypot chicken soup. Now we are in Singapore and whenever I see a claypot stall I carve for the same kinda of claypot chicken soup that we ate at NUS but we have not been able to find the exact same dish in other claypot stalls  and the original claypot stall at the nus science canteen has closed. Hmm.. I could probably suggest this stall to a popular TV show in Singapore called Makan places lost and found to hunt for the food stall to see if they have relocated elsewere...!

So here is the recipe for some nice warm claypot chicken soup (without the claypot) my very own recipe of the Singapore claypot chicken soup for the soul and body. This is not the traditional way that the claypot chciken soup is tatste i bet its quite close to it. Happy Friday everybody !!


 Claypot chicken soup recipe

Notes :

  • You can add your choice of vegetables and personalize the soup
  • If you do not have sechuan pepper you can use whole black pepper corns or pepper powder.
  •  You can cook the soup in a pressure cooker but i do not prefer the pressure cooker as the vegetables become too over coked.

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Hello, Welcome to Eleventeen Recipes and counting authored by me, Shibi. This blog is an outlet to share my love for food, cooking and clicking. It includes a collection of traditional recipes from my mom, mother-in-law, sister and friends kitchens, and a few from cook books, other food blogs, and a few of my own experiments. Your comments and suggestions are most welcome. Thank you.