Hainanese chicken rice is possibly one of Singapore’s most beloved hawker food, and as a typical kid I loved eating the roast version (whereas my parents with their grown up palates appreciated the poached version). Then as I grew up and my taste buds learned to accept more spices, flavours and textures, I developed an appreciation for Cantonese-style poached chicken (a.k.a. white cut chicken, or bai qie ji), due to the accompanying sauce. Yep, the sauce made me learn to love poached chicken! That marvelous, umami-filled sauce made with ginger and scallions/ spring onions.
Ginger-scallion (the classic combination)
Ginger is commonly used in Chinese cooking, especially with chicken or fish. As my parents would teach me during one of our numerous spontaneous cooking lessons in the kitchen, ginger would help to tamper the particular poultry odour that simply poached chicken may have. Every weekend my mom would buy a huge knob of ginger from the market and cut chunks of it throughout the week, to be sliced into strips and sprinkled over fish for steaming or added to poultry dishes or soups. She would also receive a generous bundle of fresh scallions and coriander from the vegetable stall seller.
French meets Chinese
Typical French liver pâté would usually rely on herbs to provide flavour and counterbalance to the liver-y taste, and I figured that the intense and flavoursome taste of ginger-scallion sauce would work perfectly in pâté. It was indeed perfect. The first time I made it, I kept sampling it right out of the food processor, still warm and velvety. It was absolutely delicious! I had never done that with other pâtés before!
Jujube/ red dates
My recipe calls for dried jujube dates, or red dates, which are usually found in Traditional Chinese Medicine halls/ shops or supermarkets. They provide a slight hint of sweetness (my kids love to snack on them); medjool dates will do as a nice substitute, though they are sweeter. Here you can see the cut and pitted red dates in the food processor.
If you are already a ginger-scallion sauce lover, go right ahead and make this recipe (do a happy dance too…). Never tried ginger-scallion sauce before and want to try it? Check out Stephanie’s AIP version at her blog, Fresh Tart, then come back here and get pâté-ing…
Where to purchase certain ingredients online (affiliate links):
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil, divided
- 8 spring onions, chopped (reserve ¼ cup or 4 stalks worth of chopped white parts)
- ¼ cup chopped ginger (reserve 1 tablespoon)
- 330g (up to 1 lb/ 454g) chicken livers, cleaned & pat dry
- 2 cloves (1 tablespoon) chopped garlic
- 2 tablespoons red jujube dates/ medjool dates, pitted and soaked in hot water until softened
- 1 teaspoon coconut aminos
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons bone broth
- Heat a large frying pan over medium heat, then add 2 tablespoons avocado oil and swirl to coat.
- Add the white part of the spring onions and ginger, lower the heat slightly and sauté for 3 minutes.
- Push to one side of the pan (or remove if your pan is not large enough), then add the cleaned livers in a single layer and cook for 4 minutes before flipping and cooking for another 3 minutes.
- In the last minute, increase the heat to medium-high and toss the livers with the ginger and scallions.
- Turn off the heat, toss in the garlic and let it cook for another minute in the residual heat. Chicken livers should be just cooked through.
- In a food processor, pulse together the single cup of spring onions, remaining ginger and dates plus avocado oil (1 tablespoon), coconut aminos, sea salt and apple cider vinegar.
- Add the chicken liver, spring onions, ginger and garlic mixture to the food processor.
- Pour in 2 tablespoons of bone broth into the frying pan, heat it up over medium heat, scraping up any stuck bits on the pan, then pour into the food processor.
- Blend until smooth, stopping to scrape the sides if needed.
- Portion into glass jars, cover, and refrigerate or freeze.