Kitchen Stories – Joyce Chiu at Obsession
Lychee wine and naturally fermented soy sauce are just some of the homemade items Joyce Chiu remembers from her childhood in Hong Kong. “My earliest memory is of my grandma taking me to pick lychees from their back yard tree for my father’s lychee wine,” she remembers. “My grandparents owned a grocery store which had piles of fresh fruit, vegetables and big, dark rooms used for fermentation. My grandparents always had fresh, regional and seasonal produce. It’s very important.”
Obsession Chinese Restaurant & Bar is Joyce’s pride and joy and a Little Stanley Street stalwart. As steaming cups of green tea cool on the table, Joyce animatedly conveys tales from a recent research junket to China. “They still use old traditions in China. At the markets, it’s so beautiful, people use bamboo sticks to carry things, they recycle everything and use all parts of a product – no waste,” she says. Moving to Australia in 1992, Joyce came to fully appreciate the simplicity and elegance of Chinese culture – an appreciation that drives her passion for promoting her traditions through fresh and healthy food.
“Darling, I think that [simplicity] is what is missing from modern society. Many people get confused with what’s good and what’s healthy and simple. Everything in moderation,” she exclaims. Joyce believes that with a little bit of know-how, a simple approach and passion, you can cook beautiful food for your family anywhere in the world. Although Joyce concedes that she struggled with Queensland meat when she first started Obsession, she says that adapting traditional recipes has been simple.
I think that simplicity is what is missing from modern society. Many people get confused with what’s good and what’s healthy and simple. Everything in moderation.
12 pieces of black mushroom
24 slices of Yunnan ham
Chinese mustard cabbage (12 stalks)
SAUCE FOR MUSHROOM:
|Clean chicken and bring to boil in stock. Leave to poach for 25 minutes over lower heat. Remove and immerse in cold water until well chilled, reserve.Debone the chicken and cut into 24 pieces. Soak black mushrooms and clean with tapioca starch.
Heat oil with ginger and spring onions, add salt, rock sugar and mushrooms and cook for 20 mins.Make a stack of mustard cabbage, Yunnan ham, mushrooms and chicken on a plate in that order. Place plate in a pot or wok to steam over stock on high heat for 10 mins. Remove the pieces and drain the stock, reserving some.
Cook 5 tablespoons of reserved stock with a little tapioca starch until thickened. Ladle over chicken and serve.