Bean Sprouts Chicken
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Bean Sprouts Chicken (芽菜鸡 in Chinese and Tauge Ayam in Malay) with rice or Hor Fun (rice noodle) is probably Ipoh’s most famous dish.
Ipoh is the birthplace of bean sprouts chicken and is derived from Cantonese white cut chicken. Today, wherever you are in Malaysia, or neighbouring Singapore, you will find this dish titled “Ipoh Bean sprouts Chicken”. The name can be a little misleading. If you have not come across this dish before you might assume it is chicken on a bed of beansprouts.
However, it is not. Typically, when you order beansprouts chicken, you will receive two things: a plate of white-cut chicken and a plate of beansprouts. Additionally, you can also order a bowl of meatballs as a side dish.
In addition, you can choose to have this accompanied with either a bowl of noodles or rice. The noodles are cooked for around one minute until they appear translucent with a slippery smoothness, and then they are served in a bowl of broth ladled from the poached chicken water. The rice is also cooked in the chicken broth/oil.
The chicken is poached in much the same way as Hainan Chicken. It is steamed in a bath of hot water to cook, followed by a quick plunge into cold water to halt the cooking process to keep its truly tasty, moist, and juicy succulent texture.
As for the beansprouts, these are very briefly immersed in the same boiling water the chicken has been cooked in. This process is very quick; around 10 seconds. They are then transferred to a plate, drizzled in a small amount of sesame oil, ladled with a light soya sauce, and topped with a touch of white pepper. In addition, sliced chillies are added before finally garnishing with finely chopped spring onions.
Bean Sprouts Chicken in Ipoh
Ipoh is a mountain city, set among limestone hills in the Kinta valley. Consequently, it is claimed that the mineral-rich water (high alkali content) transforms the local agricultural conditions and even cooking process. According to locals, such conditions enhance the wonderful flavours of Ipoh dishes. No more is this true than the beansprouts, which are thicker and crunchier than any other place on earth, including the rest of Malaysia.