Use coarse salt to exfoliate the skin of the chicken, then wash the chicken thoroughly.
Cut each chicken thigh + drumstick into 5 pieces each.
Put the chicken in a big bowl or directly in the steaming plate. Add in the marinade ingredients and mix well. Leave it for about half an hour.
Soak the black wooden ear fungus, black cloud fungus and golden needles in tap water separately until they expand. Then gentle rub the black wooden ear fungus and black cloud fungus with your fingers to get rid of any dirt or sand.
Use a pair of scissors to cut off the hard stems from the black wooden ear fungus, then cut it into thick strips.
Wash the mushrooms thoroughly. Then soak the mushrooms in hot water until they are soft.
Cut off the mushroom stalks and discard it. Wash the mushroom and squeeze dry. Cut the mushroom into thick strips. Keep mushroom water for later use.
Wash and remove the hard end of the golden needles and tie a knot on each needle. Squeeze dry.
Lightly rinse the wolf berries and set aside.
After marinating the chicken for half an hour, add in black cloud fungus, black wooden ear fungus, Chinese mushrooms, golden needle, mushroom water and 200 ml of water to the chicken, then mix well. Then transfer the chicken mixture into a stainless steel plate.
In a wok, add in the water for steaming and bring to a boil over high heat.
Put in the steaming rack and stainless less plate in, and steam for 25-30 mins over high heat. Ensure there is sufficient water during steaming process. If not, add more boiling water to the wok.
Spread the wolf berries on top of the chicken during the last 5 mins of steaming.
Remove from heat, then add in the Hua Tiao Chiew.
Serve hot with a bowl of steaming hot rice.
Do not buy golden needles that are pale yellow, dark brown and damp. Buy orangey-yellow ones instead.
If they are pale yellow, they have most likely been bleached and washed.
If they are dark brown in colour, they have probably been stored for too long and will have a sourish taste which will ruin the dish.
To maintain its freshness, you need to store them in a ziplock bag and refrigerate, then they can be stored for many months.
Do not use frozen chicken or chicken parts for they are very bland in taste. Frozen chicken or parts are used for the grill or BBQ as they are usually marinated overnight to be flavourful.
Do not soak the black cloud fungus, black wooden ear fungus and golden needle in hot water. These ingredients become soggy and lose flavour if soaked for too long in hot water. They might even disintegrate.
Remember to remove the stalk from the mushroom and golden needle. It is hard and chewy, and will ruin the texture of the dish.
Tie a knot on the golden needles to prevent them from disintegrating during the cooking process. It also gives it a nice, crunchy texture and more substantial bite.
Adjust the amount of the black fungus, wooden ear fungus, mushroom and golden needles to your own preference. I like to eat golden needles so I usually add more to the dish.
HOW TO TELL BETWEEN THE FUNGI
Both black cloud fungus and black wooden ear fungus expand tremendously after soaking, so don't be fooled by the seemingly small quantity of the dry ingredients! Also, black cloud fungus and black wooden ear fungus are two different things, so don't get confused.Apart from being much larger than black cloud fungus, black wooden ear fungus is also more crunchy so it adds a nice crunchy texture to the dish.