- Free-range Chicken – thoroughly clean (deskinned or U can leave them attached) and chopped into smaller pieces for easier handling. Normal chicken is fine too.
- Nuts : Peanuts, dried Chestnuts (pre-deshelled/deskinned – makes life a lot easier), dried Lotus Seeds (with skin) and dried Gingko Nuts (with shell). All soak over-nite, except Lotus Seeds. Let’s talk about these Nuts a little more and how to handle the correctly.
- Nothing much on Chestnuts except soak overnite. Even with the deskinned ones, U’ll still need to get rid of what’s left behind, within the crack. U’ll be able to pick them off easily after soaking. But if U don’t mind a little skin, well.., don’t bother..😉.
- Peanuts – nothing much too but soak overnite. The skin is actually good for U !!! Btw, do U know there is a difference between, Peanuts for roasting and Peanuts for soup boiling? Well, ask ur vendor and get the soup boiling ones pls.
- Lotus Seed – There are beautifully looking, all cleaned-up deskinned Lotus Seed. BUT, beware that these Nuts will be coated with some kind of chemical for preservation reason. So, get those with skin attached – U’ll able to rub them off easily after soaking in hot water for abt 10-20 mins (don’t leave them soaking till the water gets cold). Trick : Don’t let the Lotus Seeds come into contact with cold water else U’ll have a hard time softening them! Whatever U wanna do with the Lotus Seeds, be it -wash, rinse or soak – treat it with hot water. Tat’s why no soaking overnite, even with hot water as the water will eventually get cold after some time. If U follow this simple rule, U’ll be rewarded with soft, powdery Lotus Seeds. Don’t ask me why but it works !!! Now, there will a hint of bitterness if simply consume as a whole. Most of the bitterness actually comes from its mature embryo (stem), which can be found and removed by cutting the nut lengthwise apart.
- Gingko Nuts – Gingko Nuts need a little more handling. First U have to crack the shell by gently hammering them with something solid (be watchful not to smash the flesh). Gently get the shell off and get rid of the skin (the stubborn skin, can be easily removed after soaking). As with the Lotus Seeds, there will a hint of bitterness if simply consume as a whole. Most of the bitterness actually comes from its mature embryo (stem), which can be found and removed by cutting the nut lengthwise apart.
- Optional – Red Dates, a small amount of Kei Zi (Goji/Wolfberries) and Huai Shan (Dried Chinese Yam). Wash everything and soak for abt 10-15 mins with warm water, just to get rid of any impurities.
- Sliced Ginger, smashed Garlic and some half-inch thick Red carrot block. Remove the Mushroom (soak overnite) stem and cut in half if too big.
- Salt, white Pepper, Oyster Sauce, a dash of Sesame oil and Shaoxing wine. Dark soy for coloring. All to taste. ** Note : Just dash/pinch of everything, if U prefer a stronger intensity of an ingredient flavor, simply add a little extra of that ingredient/spice (no rocket scientific measurement here). Always taste your Seasoning !!!
Start by marinating the Chicken with some Salt, white Pepper and Dark soy (for coloring) for a couple of hrs.
Meantime, start by boiling all the Ingredients – except the Chicken – in a Slow-cooker, set on High heat. Use boiling water (just enough to cover everything, U can alway add extra when needed), this will save U lots of time. Let it go for at an hr, simply to give all these harder to cook Ingredient a head start and a chance to extract their flavors. Then add the Chicken, add boiling water to cover the chicken. Set Heat to Auto and let it go for another hr or so. Frankly, from this point onward, it all depends on how soft U want everything to be.
Optional – When everything is at ur preference of texture consistency, add all the Seasoning Ingredients and U can now serve the dish as it is. *OR* U can do this extra step like The VianD – this will kinda heighten the dish a little and give an appetizing glossy look to the dish. Remove everything from the sauce and keep aside – or leave whatever that needs to be further softening. Transfer the sauce to a Wok/Pan/Pot and boil the sauce on high heat to render/reduce till slightly caramelized and thicken. Gently add what was removed back into the sauce and give it a few gentle stirs/mix, making sure everything is evenly and nicely coated. Now, U can serve ur delicious aromatic nourishing nutty “Tetrad Nuts Braised Chicken (Chestnut/Ginkgo/Lotus Seed/Peanut)” hot.