Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sweet And Sour Fish Fingers 糖醋魚柳

If you have been following my blog for a while you might remember the Sichuan style sweet and sour chicken spareribs I posted a while back. I am doing a brief introduction again for my new readers and to refresh your memory, just in case. Sweet and sour dishes are often referred to as 糖醋 dishes (pronounced tang cu, meaning sugar and vinegar) in most parts of China and the vinegar used here is of course the fragrant Chinkiang black vinegar.  I made this dish when my best friend A came over to visit during the Queen's birthday long weekend. 
P.S Coming soon - Sweet and sour Cantonese style

serves 4 as part of a Chinese meal
you'll need;
600 g of flatheads fillets or any white fleshed fish
dash of Chinese cooking wine
dash of soy
dash of sesame oil
rice flour for coating
cucumber slices to serve
toasted sesame seeds
2 spring onions, julienne

for the sauce;
3 tbs of Chinkiang black vinegar
2 tbs of light soy
4 tbs of sugar
dash of sesame oil
1.5 tbs of corn flour
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 cm knob of ginger, minced
1/2 cup of stock
Mix everything in a bowl except ginger and garlic.

Prepare the ingredients for sauce. Set aside.

Cut fish into bite size pieces, marinate briefly with soy, cooking wine and sesame oil then coat with rice flour.

Fry fish pieces in batches til golden and crispy. Drain and set aside.

Place drained fried fish pieces on a plate and garnish with some cucumber slices.

Fry ginger and garlic with a little cooking oil then pour in the sauce mixture. Cook til thicken and slightly syrupy.

Pour sauce over the fried fish pieces. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and garnish with some julienne spring onions.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Chicken Breast Rolls Filled With A Rice Stuffing (Safeenat Djaj Ma'hshi)

One of the tummies flipped through Abla's Lebanese Kitchen which is a gift from him and requested for this  rather complicated looking dish. I went through the ingredients very briefly and said yes as it is actually quite a simple dish to prepare. I served the stuffed chicken with the recommended side dishes and it was a memorable dinner on a very cold and wet night. For our first meal using recipe from the book, click HERE for the equally delicious and festive looking Abla's chicken and rice. 

recipe adapted from Abla Amad's Lebanese Kitchen
serves 3
you'll need;
preheat oven to 250 C
3 free range chicken breasts, butterflied
1/4 black pepper
1/4 tsp of all spice
2 tbs of lemon juice
1 tbs of olive oil

for the filling;
1/4 cup of basmati rice, boiled for 10 minutes and drained
1 tbs of olive oil
1/4 cup of pine nuts, fry with a little olive oil til golden
3 tbs of blanched almonds, halved and fry with a little olive oil til golden
50 g of spinach, cleaned and coarsely chopped
2 spring onions, chopped
1/4 cup of raisins
1/4 tsp of all spice
1/4 tsp of black pepper
salt to taste
1 tbs of lemon juice
Mix everything well just before rolling.

Prepare the filling and set aside.

Butterfly chicken breasts and flatten and even out the chicken with a rolling pin.

Place 1/3 of the stuffing on one side of the butterflied breast and roll tightly.

Secure with toothpicks. Not my favourite thing to do.

Heat a little olive oil in a pan and pan fry the rolls in batches til golden all over.

Remove toothpicks, season with salt, pepper, all spice and bake for 20 minutes. Baste occasionally with lemon juice and olive oil. Rest before slicing.

Serve sliced chicken roll with a side dish of herbed potato salad and dressed spinach leaves.

Lebanese Herbed Potato Salad (Salatat Al Bataata)

This is a side dish I made to go with chicken roll with rice stuffing. It is delicious and rather refreshing with the large amount of herbs used. I think this will go well with any bbq or roast meals.

recipe from Abla Amad's Lebanese Kitchen
you need;
6 potatoes, peeled and cut into 3 cm cubes
1 tsp of salt
3 spring onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup of finely chopped mint
1/2 cup of finely chopped parsley
1/4 cup of lemon juice
1/4 cup of olive oil
1/2 tsp of black pepper
1/2 tsp of allspice

Boil potato in plenty of salted water til tender. Drain and place in a large bowl. Add all remaining ingredients and toss to combine. Leave to cool before serving.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Shredded Chicken With Rice Noodles 雞絲河粉 "Malaysian Monday 1"

Growing up in Cameron Highlands there was no such thing as our very own special dish to boast about. Apart from the freshest temperate vegetables and fruits, we very much followed the food trend of Ipoh which is the nearest major town. This was a favourite breakfast dish of mine; being not too far from Ipoh we got the best rice noodles (河粉 pronounced he fen in Mandarin or hor fun in Cantonese)and bean sprouts in Malaysia (some would say in the world). With some rice noodles and chicken in my hands the possibilities are endless but I decided I would share this wonderful but relatively unknown dish with you. This will be my first time joining my fellow blogger friend Shaz from "Test With A Skewer" on her weekly Malaysian Mondays. Start cooking and eating some Malaysian food and  join in too, we will announce something exciting next week.
P.S Click HERE for Ipoh Hor Fun - rice noodle soup with prawns and chicken.

serves 4 generously
you'll need;
2 free range chicken breasts of half a chicken
1 kg of fresh thin rice noodles, blanched just before serving
1 bunch of bokchoy, cleaned and quartered lengthwise and blanched just before serving
bean sprouts (optional)
spring onion, chopped
sesame oil
light soy
cut chili or pickled green chili in soy to serve

for the sauce;
2tbs of cooking oil
3 tbs rock sugar
12 tbs light soy
3 tbs dark soy
1 tbs sesame oil
pepper to taste
salt to taste
1.5 L stock
5 cm knob of ginger, sliced
1 spring onion (white part only)
3 garlic cloves
corn flour solution

Prepare the ingredients.

Heat 2 tbs of oil and add in the rock sugar til it turns brown then pour in the sauce ingredients except the aromatics.

Bring it to a boil then add chicken and aromatics. When the stock returns to a simmer remove pot from heat, cover and let the chicken steep in the stock for 20 minutes.

Remove chicken from the pot after 20 minutes, shred chicken when they are cool enough to handle. Thicken sauce with corn solution.

Pour some sauce over blanched noodles, add bokchoy, shredded chicken and toppings. Serve with your preferred condiments. Mix well and enjoy!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Kaeng Phet Pet Yang แกงเผ็ดเป็ดย่าง Roast Duck Curry

A request for som tam has turned this into an unannounced "Thai week at the tummies'" and I am finishing it off with two more delicious dishes today.

I don't think I need to tell you too much about this much loved Thai curry. Together with green curry, phat thai,  som tam and the likes, this is a must have dish for most people visiting a Thai restaurant. Unfortunately my favourite curry is also often overpriced with barely any duck meat in it, reasons why we tend to avoid ordering when we dine out. I used Luv'A Duck roast duck breasts in this recipe since they are on sale but feel free to roast your own or simply purchase half a roast duck from your Chinese eatery, which is what I would normally do.

P.S This is my last Thai curry using shop bought paste so get ready for some recipes of homemade curry paste soon. 

serves 4 as part of a Thai meal
you'll need;
3 roast duck breast, thickly sliced or half a roast duck*
3 tbs of homemade or shop bought red curry paste
400 ml of coconut milk
200 ml of stock
3 kaffir lime leaves, torn
6 canned rambutans or lychee (used fresh ones if available, pitted)
3 tbs of fish sauce
3 tbs of palm sugar
6 Thai eggplants, halved
10 long beans, cut into 5 cm pieces
1 tomato, cut into chunks
1 bunch of Thai basil, picked (you should get a cup)
* separate meat from bones and sliced. Use the bones to enhance the taste of the curry, see step 3.

Prepare the ingredients and lets start cooking.

Heat up 3 tbs of coconut cream (the solid part when a can of coconut milk is opened, never shake your coconut milk) til it starts to split - cracking the coconut.

Fry the curry paste in the cream/oil mixture for 5 to 10 minutes til oil bubbles start to appear. Throw in the kaffir lime leaves.

Pour in the rest of coconut milk and stock and bring it to a boil, If you are using shop bought duck, reserved duck bones can be added and simmer for 15 minutes for a even tastier sauce. Add eggplants follow by long beans and seasonings.

Add duck, rambutans and tomatoes and cook til vegetables are cooked (but still crisp) check for seasonings.

Finally chuck in the Thai basil leaves, remove from the heat source and mix well.

Garnish with extra Thai basil and serve as part of a Thai meal. You will need plenty of steamed rice with this. Check out the other post I published today - Stir fried eggplants.

Phat Makeua Yao ผัดมะเขือยาว Stir Fried Eggplants With Thai Basil

This dish is not going to win any beauty contest but the taste will certainly win a few hearts. Use Thai long green eggplants if they are available otherwise slender purple varieties will do. You can turn this into a vegetarian dish simply replace fish sauce with light soy. 

serves 4 as part of a Thai meal
you'll need;
6 Asian purple eggplants, cut into chunks
half a bunch of Thai basil, picked (about 1/2 a cup)
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3 bird chilies, chopped
2 tbs of palm sugar
dash of fish sauce*
1/2 cup of stock
* replace fish sauce for a vegetarian version

Cut eggplants and chop garlic and chilies.

Saute garlic and chilies with a little oil for a few seconds.

Throw in the eggplants pieces and fry in the fragrant garlic and chili oil for a minute.

Add stock and seasonings, cover and simmer til tender.

Finally add the Thai basil and check for seasonings.

Serve immediately as part of a Thai meal. Never judge the book by a cover, this is a great example!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Khao Mun Gai ข้าวมันไก่ Thai Style Hainanese Chicken Rice

Long before being called the "Hawaii of China" with some of its most expensive real estates in China, Hainan Island in south eastern China was famous for one thing namely the irresistible Hainanese chicken rice. Migrants brought this simple dish to South East Asia and became one of the most popular dishes of Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Everyone has their favourite version and since the method of cooking the rice and bird remained basically unchanged, it is the condiments served along side the dish that sets them apart. Malaysians love to serve it with a garlicky chili sauce, the Singaporean would have the same but some extra sweet dark soy on the side, meanwhile the Thais are happy with an equally addictive bean paste sauce. The beauty about this dish is you can just cook the chicken and rice and as long as you have prepared all the different sauces mentioned above you will be able to keep everyone happy. Since this is an unofficial "Thai week at the tummies'", I will be showing you the Thai version - khao mun gai (directly translater as rice-oil/fat-chicken and you'll see why) today.

Updated on 17/01/12 - click HERE for the Malaysian version.

serve 4
you'll need;
1 free range chicken, cleaned and excess fat removed*
2 garlic cloves
3 coriander roots
5 cm knob of ginger, sliced
1 shallot, halved
dash of soy
dash of Chinese cooking wine
salt and white pepper to taste
spicy ginger and chili bean sauce (nam chim tao jiaw)to serve
cucumber, peeled and sliced to serve
spring onion to serve
bokchoy, washed and halved**
* use this to render the chicken fat needed
** blanch and serve in the chicken poaching broth

for the rice;
2 cups of jasmine rice, washed, rinsed and drained
3 tbs of chicken lard 
2 garlic cloves, minced
chicken poaching stock

Ingredients for the poached chicken.

Place chicken and aromatics in a stock pot and cover with enough salted water. Bring it to a boil, simmer for 10 minutes then turn off the heat, cover and let the chicken steep in the hot stock til it cools down. If you are in a hurry, simmer the chicken for 30 minutes, remove and rinse under cold running water for a minute. 

Remove chicken from the pot, brush with a little sesame oil and cover til it is needed. Cut into neat pieces just before serving. Chicken cooked this way is called white cut chicken (白切雞 pronounced bai qie ji in mandarin or 白斬雞 pronounced bak cham kei in Cantonese) Have you seen my soy poached version? If not click HERE. 

Ingredients for the rice.

Render the chicken fat then saute the minced garlic for a minute before adding the drained rice. Fry it for a minute or two.

Place rice in a rice cooker, add enough stock and cook according to instruction. You can also add a pandan leaf to the rice at this point.

Serve the fragrant rice with some of the tender chicken, cucumber slices, spring onion and some of the addictive sauce. A bowl of the chicken broth with some blanched bokchoy is usually served alongside as well.

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