Many people may not know the difference or even see the difference between WAN SOY (Cilantro) and KINCHAY. While shopping one day, I overheard two women arguing which one to use for the soup recipe they wanted to try out. The woman in shorts said, the recipe said WAN SOY, not CILANTRO as shown here in the package but here is one that says KINCHAY, and this might be it. The other woman in a housedress said, I don’t know what you’re talking about, let’s just get this KINCHAY sounds like it might work. Luckily this little boy tagging along with the two women interjected by saying, “Mama, Wan Soy is Cilantro, I learned that in school.”
Since I couldn’t help overhearing them, I told them the boy was right. Wan Soy is Cilantro. I also told them that if they look closely the Kinchay leaves are pointier and the roots look like corn hair whilst the Wan Soy roots are white and stringy. I also mentioned that if they smell and compare, Kinchay has a stronger smell and if they ask me, tastes roach-like. I mentioned that although pancit often calls for Kinchay I prefer adding Wan Soy or Cilantro because the refreshing and cool taste of it works better for me. So much for unsolicited advise because both women’s jaws dropped and just stared at me. Not too sure if with awe though. Hahaha
For you to experience the invigorating flavor of Wan Soy in a dish. Let me share with you a Hainanese Chicken recipe that I tweaked and simplified. The original recipe was tedious and complicated. This one is much like boiling chicken and that’s it.
800g Chicken breast
3 cup uncooked rice (try Jasmine rice)
1/2 tsp salt
½ chicken bouillon cube
6 slices ginger
3 Tbsp minced garlic
3 sprigs cilantro (wan soy), use cilantro roots save some for garnishing
1 ½ chicken bouillon cube
1 cucumber, sliced diagonally
7 cups water
Ingredients for sauce
2 Tbsp regular soy sauce
1 Tbsp liquid seasoning
1 tsp dark soy sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
juice of 2 calamansi
3 Tbsp minced ginger
3 Tbsp minced garlic
2 fresh red chili peppers, finely chopped
Wash chicken then trim excess skin which you can cut into small pieces; put chicken skin in a pan on medium heat. Stir regularly until oil comes out from skin. Fry until golden brown and crisp. Remove chicken skin from oil.
Add the minced garlic to the oil and fry until fragrant and lightly brown, remove from pan and set aside
In the meantime wash and clean the uncooked rice and place in the rice cooker without water first. Put the fried garlic. Add the salt and ½ chicken bouillon cube. Also put the sliced ginger.
In a saucepan boil 5 cups of water together with the cilantro. Use the roots of the cilantro as these give out the most flavor. When boiling add the chicken breasts and the 1 ½ chicken bouillon cube. Let simmer for 5 minutes. Get 2 cups of the broth and add to the uncooked rice in the rice cooker. Stir and mix well then start cooking the rice.
Add 2 cups of water to the saucepan where chicken is simmering. Allow this to simmer for another 45 minutes. When done, remove the chicken and place on a strainer. Allow chicken to cool for about 20 minutes. Flatten chicken meat and slice diagonally.
For the Sauce:
Combine regular soy sauce, liquid seasoning, dark soy sauce and sesame oil. Add the sugar, calamansi juice and mix until sugar is dissolved.
Add the minced ginger, garlic and chili peppers. You may add more chili peppers as desired.
To serve this dish:
Put a cup of rice on a plate. Top with the chicken slices. Put cucumber slices on the side. Top the chicken slices. Serve with a bowl of the soup garnished with freshly cut cilantro leaves. You may season the chicken broth with some soy sauce and a little sugar as desired and according to your taste.