I had six small chicken thighs and four people to feed. That’s enough meat for four people? Well, sure, if no one minded feeling like lunch was a ration. I don’t like that feeling. The trick? I cut each chicken thigh in two, added cubes of tofu, and cooked everything with a flavorful sauce.
Probably the most valuable lesson I learned in Chinese cooking is that by cutting meat into smaller pieces and adding vegetables and sauce to them, one comes up with a whole lot more. Meat is expensive, vegetables much less so. Tofu is healthy and has this fantastic ability to absorb flavors. Putting them together in one dish, not only is it economical, but it is healthier too.
In a wok, heat the cooking oil to a smoking point and fry the tofu cubes until golden. Drain on paper towels and set aside. Cut each chicken thigh through the bone into two pieces. Place the cut chicken in a bowl, season with salt and pepper, and mix thoroughly, working the seasonings into the meat.
Reheat the cooking oil. Fry the chicken pieces until they are golden and nicely seared. They need only be partially cooked at this point. Transfer the chicken (minus the oil) and tofu to a heatproof dish. Peel the carrot and ginger cut into matchsticks. Slice the cilantro as finely as you can. Scatter everything over the chicken and tofu. Mix the soy sauce, honey, and sesame seed oil. Pour over the chicken, tofu and vegetables. Steam over simmering water for 20 to 30 minutes.