My dad Viv is a brilliant cook. He's a proper magpie when it comes to food - wherever he goes, wherever he travels, he picks inspiration and ingredients along the way and has a brilliant knack of knowing how to recreate stuff he's eaten.
Take the last year - back in January he and my mum went to Vietnam and so he spent about four months trying to perfect pho. Once he'd nailed it, he kept making it, spurred on by us happy recipients.
Having spent 20-odd years in the Navy, he travelled the world and we spent two years in Hong Kong when I was really little. As a result, his Chinese cooking has always been pretty bang on. Like him cooking with black beans and me as a kid dreading it, only to realise over the years that their nasty smell during the cooking process would give way to a delicious taste come dinnertime. It was the sort of magic that made me fall in love with food.
This recipe, Bai Qui Ji, was a favourite when we were young, and has now Dad has resurrected it after a long hiatus. The family couldn't be happier.
It's quite simple and straightforward, but the few ingredients work so well together to create something much greater than the sum of its parts.
The chicken is poached in a broth fragranced with star anise and ginger which really penetrates it with beautiful flavour. The meat doesn't dry out, so long as it's not cooked too long.
But it's the oil that makes this dish. The salt adds such a pleasing savouriness and draws out the simple flavours making them triumphant. Once you try it, you'll keep going back for more.
After I posted a photo a few people asked for a recipe and my dad obliged. I'd really recommend you make it.
Poached Chicken with Ginger & Spring Onion Oil (Bai Qui Ji)
One free-range or corn fed chicken, at room temperature
3 spring onions, cut into large pieces
5 slices ginger
1 star anise
10 whole black peppercorns
3 tablespoons finely grated spring onions (white and light green parts only)
2 tablespoons finely minced ginger
300ml corn/vegetable oil (no strong flavoured oil)
Poach chicken with top ingredients in a saucepan just covered in the water until tender, between 20 and 30 mins. Skim off any scum as the water boils.
Once chicken is cooked, leave to cool slightly.
For the sauce
Put the oil, minced spring onions and ginger into a jar. I like to add a little cracked black pepper and a pinch of salt to the oil. Shake in the jar until it's well combined.
When chicken has cooled remove the breasts and slice into 1cm slices, debone the legs if required and slice. place neatly on a serving plate and spoon over the sauce. Serve with steamed rice. Send me photo.
(That's my dad's instruction to send me a photo at the end. But I've left it there as more than happy to see other people's pics.)