Last week one of my old secondary school teachers turned up at my clinic door. Mrs P was an unforgettable influence in my secondary school years. She taught us English and Literature and was probably one of the reasons why I loved these subjects in school. But she was also a no-nonsense, iron-handed discipline mistress and I clearly remember a classmates exercise book flying out of our second floor class window when she deemed the work shoddy and unacceptable. Most of the girls quivered in fear when they saw her stalking through the school corridors and some would even scuttle away even though, when asked, would actually admit that they had no reason to be running away from the discipline mistress. It was enough to see Mrs P to bring out every vestige of teenage guilt.
But truth to tell that was literally 30 years ago and Mrs P in retirement was certainly more mellow than I remembered – after all she had come on grandmother duties to bring her grandson to see a paediatrician. It was good to catch up – even though for some reason she remembered me as a prefect in school although I swear I wasn’t one in secondary school – I think I spent those early teen years in painfully shy isolation, struggling to keep up with work and friendships and finding my true freedom in my world of books and classics. Anyway it was thanks to teachers like Mrs P who instilled discipline and inner resilience; and I still think the secondary school years were the best years of my school life. School was an anchor in my burgeoning teenage consciousness, and lent a certain stodgy stability to those of us who were beginning to discover xinyao, Boy George and Centerpoint kids.
By the way I was intrigued to find an old documentary on the social phenomenon of Centrepoint kids in the 1980s! A true blast from the past.
Anyway in the spirit of all things retro, today I bring a pretty old school ingredient, salted egg yolks. Salted egg is awesome. It’s a pretty traditional Chinese ingredient and is usually starred in mooncakes and bak changs (meat and rice dumplings or zongzi). But salted egg sauce is the latest retro-modern craze and can now be found on everything, like crab, squid and even chicken. And there are even crazy inventions like salted egg yolk ice cream and salted egg yolk donuts. It is actually quite an understated ingredient but when used well, seems to amplify the luxe factor of any dish.
For those who have been following my blog, you will realize that fried chicken has been on my mind lately. Perhaps it’s because I finally figured how to make fried chicken low carb and marginally more guilt-free. So low carb fried chicken is like a stolen guilty pleasure and the salted egg yolk sauce is an even more guilt-ridden indulgence.
Low Carb Salted Egg Yolk Chicken
- 4 deboned chicken thighs (large pieces, about 500 g)
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 1 2-inch knob of young ginger, peeled and finely minced
- 1/4 cup sake
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup arrowroot flour
- 1 cup vegetable oil
Salted Egg Sauce
- 8 salted egg yolks (separated from boiled eggs, or separated when raw and steamed)
- About 20 curry leaves
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1 1/2 inch knob of young ginger, finely minced
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp butter
- Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces
- Mix garlic, ginger, garlic with the soy sauce and sake. Marinade the chicken at least 3 hours to overnight.
- Dredge the chicken pieces in arrowroot flour
- Heat up the oil in a wok. Carefully place the chicken pieces in the oil, turning halfway and cooking till the battered chicken looks golden colored.
- Drain chicken on kitchen towels and set aside.
- On another pan, heat the oil over high heat.
- Add the curry leaves and cook briefly.
- Add the finely mashed egg yolks. The yolks will bubble up.
- Add the garlic and ginger. Add 20 g butter and stir the sauce though,
- Take sauce off the heat. Mix the chicken pieces in the sauce.
- Serve hot.