Shredded Ginger Chicken (Jiang Ji Si)
As a cold appetizer, Jiang Ji Si is not, strictly speaking, a traditional dish; it does, however, utilize a well-known combination, a shredded ginger/salt/oil dipping sauce and steamed chicken, (Zheng Ji), two things traditionally served separately as a warm main course. It is intensely flavored and ridiculously easy to make.
3 boned, skinned chicken breasts, (appx. 1 lb)
1-2 Tab Sesame oil for marinade
1-1/2 Tab Sesame oil for sauce
1-1/2 Tab Peanut oil for sauce
1/4 – 1/2 tsp salt to taste.
1” x 1” pc of peeled fresh ginger
2 green onions, minced
After boning and skinning, wash and dry the chicken breast then rub well with sesame oil; place in an oiled steamer tray or one that is lined with parchment paper. Make sure pieces are not touching. Steam chicken about 8 minutes, or until the chicken meat is just firm to the touch (larger pieces will require more steaming, smaller ones, less). Allow to cool, then refrigerate, loosely covered.
In the meantime, prepare the sauce: Mince the ginger as finely as possible. (This can be accomplished by finely mincing with a knife; shredding with grater using the smallest holes, or, combined with the oil, in a food processor—the important thing is to retain as much of the ginger juices as possible) Mix the minced ginger and any juices with the oil and salt. Be sure to taste the sauce as you are adding salt—it should be somewhat salty, since the sauce with be mixed with the chicken and lose some of it’s pungency.
When ready to assemble the dish, shred the chicken by pulling the meat apart with the grain—you are separating the muscle fibers, and it will tear in small elongated threads in this way. Discard any cartilage or bone fragments. Mound chicken shreds on a small platter, drizzle ginger/oil sauce over it, then garnish with minced green onion. This can be prepared ahead of time, but add the sauce and garnish at the last moment.