This jellied chicken-and-vegetable loaf is perfect for buffet service or packing in a picnic basket since it doesn’t require constant refrigeration. It makes use of kanten (agar), which is processed from sea vegetables, not animal protein, and gels firmly without chilling.
Break the stick of kanten into several pieces and soak them in cold water for at least 10 minutes. If you’re using powdered kanten, sprinkle it over
Soak the dried mushrooms in
Slice the onion into thin vertical slices. Peel the carrot and slice it into very thin julienne strips. Slice the chicken breast thinly on the diagonal, then across, into narrow julienne strips.
Heat the oil in a small skillet and sauté the onions over medium heat until slightly translucent. Add the mushrooms, carrot, and chicken and continue to sauté for 1 minute or until the chicken turns white. Add the reserved mushroom liquid and the stock, and season with the rice wine, sugar, and soy sauce. Cook uncovered over medium heat for 5 minutes, skimming the froth occasionally. Reserve both the cooking liquid and the meat and vegetables, separately.
Remove the strings from the snow peas and blanch them for 10 seconds in several cups of boiling salted water. Drain and refresh the snow peas in cold water, then pat dry. Slice the snow peas slightly on the diagonal into thin julienne strips. Add these to the vegetable and chicken mixture.
Pour the reserved cooking liquid through a cloth- or paper-lined strainer into a
Squeeze out all the water from the pieces of kanten, and with your hands shred the softened mass into the saucepan. Or add the softened kanten powder. Cook the mixture over low heat, stirring constantly until the kanten dissolves completely (this could take as long as 10 minutes). Simmer for 2–3 minutes longer before stirring in the chicken and vegetables. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
Gently pour the mixture into a straight-sided glass loaf pan (
When ready to unmold, gently press along the edges with the padded part of your fingertips. This will release the stiff aspic from the smooth glass sides. Place a cutting board or flat tray over the mold and invert it so that the loaf comes out bottom up. Slice the loaf in half lengthwise, then across eleven times, to yield twenty-four pieces in all. A single serving is usually two slices.
© 1985 Elizabeth Andoh. All rights reserved.