Friday, July 29, 2011

Chicken And Vegetables Pot Pie From The Tummies' Kitchen

It is hard to imagine not putting a big smile on anyone's face by saying the words homemade chicken pies, well.... that is unless you are someone who;
a) have a hatred for chicken
b) despise the word pie
c) never get too excited about anything let alone a pie
d) all the above
I am sorry if you happened to tick one or all of the answers above because we are having chicken pies today. Yes! a very homey and comforting homemade chicken and vegetables pot pie that is!

This is just a rough guide on how to make your own chicken pie at home, so feel free to play around with the ingredients to suit your taste. Mushrooms, leek and jerusalem artichoke are in season now, why not try to incorporate any of them into your pie?

makes 2 individual pies
oven preheated at 240 C (conventional)
you'll need;
6 pieces (~600 g) of chicken thigh fillets, cut into small chunks
a knob of butter (~25 - 30 g)
a dash of olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves chopped
a few sprigs of thyme
a handful of picked tarragon
1 tbs of flour
4 celery stalks, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 cup of frozen peas
1/2 cup of white wine
3/4 cup of chicken stock
1/3 cup of sour cream
1 sheet of ready rolled puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, lightly beaten
a simple dressed greens to serve
tomato chutney to serve

Brown chicken pieces in batches to a light golden colour, remove and set aside.

Heat the butter in the same pan and saute chopped onion and garlic until soften. Add flour and cook for a minute before adding the diced vegetables, stir and mix well.

Add wine and cook for a minute before adding the stock and sour cream and the herbs, cook for a few minutes more and check for seasonings. Turn off the heat, add the peas and mix well, allow the mixture to cool.

When the puff pastry is soft enough to work on, cut out the lids using the ramekin as a guide. 

Fill ramekins with the creamy chicken and vegetables mixture. 

Rub the edge of the ramekins with some of the egg wash and put the lids over. Use a folk to press down the edges and make a few holes for the steam to escape. Finally brush with the egg wash and place in the fridge for at least 20 minutes before baking. Bake pies in the hot oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden.

Serve hot pie on its own or with a simple salad, here at the tummies' we always have a jar of tomato chutney on the side.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fresh Rice Noodle Soup With Prawns 清湯蝦球河粉

With soup or curry? Dry fried or with wat dan gravy? Laksa or Ipoh hor fun? Those were just a few of the choices I threw at myself when I looked at the ingredients in front of me. It didn't take long before I picked the easiest option; after all it was just a weekend lunch for one and I rather not spend too much time in the kitchen.

Like many of my simple noodle dishes - this will only take less than 15 minutes to prepare and costs just under $5/serve, more than cheap and very cheerful indeed! To me a bowl of noodles like this beats any takeaway meal anytime, one of the reasons why I always have some noodles on standby.

recipe per serve
you'll need;
6 to 8 prawns, peeled and deveined
1 bokchoy, washed and quartered lengthwise
2 cups of chicken stock
250 - 300 g of fresh rice noodles or noodles of your choice
a handful of bean sprouts
1 spring onion, chopped
2 bird chilies, chopped
crispy garlic and oil
white pepper to taste
your choice of chili sauce to serve

Prepare the bokchoy, chilies and spring onion.

Bring chicken stock to a boil then add in the prawns. When the prawns are half cooked, add bokchoy.

Follow by the noodles and bean sprouts and cook for 30 seconds before turning off the heat.

Pour everything into a large bowl, sprinkle the chopped chilies and spring onion over and top with some crispy garlic and oil.

A cheap, delicious and very healthy meal in minutes. Think again before telling anyone you have no time to cook.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Curry Puff 咖哩角 - "Malaysian Monday 48"

I made curry puff again; this time I made sure there are photos to explain each step of the pastry making process, something I have been wanting to do since there were quite a few pending requests from both my friends and readers. Doing all these by myself can only mean one thing - a lot of washing and drying of hands in between shooting but I am sure it is all worth the trouble knowing I am able to better explain the rather complex process.

This is a popular snack that can be found all over Malaysia. There are many varieties with all sort of different fillings but this has to be my favourite. Cafes and snack stalls sold them for as little as 20 cents each when I was growing up and they were good substitute when homemade ones were not available. 

A lot has happened since I first posted this delicious snack almost 2 years ago (curry puff, the best thing to welcome the arrival of spring with a few cold beers! ). The total cost  for making each lot (24 pieces) has risen from $8.50 to $12.00 in less than 2 years...speaking of inflation! But it will still only cost you a mere $0.50 each as compared $2.50 for a half decent shop bought one. 

my Aunt KC's recipe
recipe makes 24 curry puffs
for the filling;
3 potato , peeled and cut into small cubes and par boiled
3 carrots, peeled and cut into small cubes and par boiled
500g chicken thighs , cut into small cubes and mix with a tbs of curry powder
150g garden peas
1 onion , chopped
3 cloves of garlic , chopped
1 green chili , chopped
2 tbs of Malaysian meat curry powder and 1/2 tbs of chili powder, water added to make a wet paste
1/4 cup of coconut milk
salt and sugar to taste
4 hard boiled eggs , each cut into 6 wedges

for the outer pastry
1/2 tbs of soften butter or lard
3 cups of plain flour
3 tbs of corn flour
1 1/2 tbs of cooking oil
3/4 cup of water
pinch of salt

for the inner pastry
8 tbs of cooking oil
11/2  cup of plain flour
11/2 tbs corn flour

Prepare the ingredients for the filling.

To make the filling - saute the chopped ingredients until light golden then add in the curry paste and continue to cook for 5 minutes, adding more oil if the mixture is too dry. Next add the chicken and cook for a minute follow by the vegetables and coconut milk. Stir well and cook until the sauce is quite thick. Season to taste and set aside to cool.

For the outer pastry (left) - mix butter with flour until well combined. Rest for 20 minutes then add in the rest of the ingredients and knead until a soft dough is achieved. Rest dough for 30 minutes.
For the inner pastry (right) - mix flour and oil until you get a wet dough. Set aside until needed.

Divide both type of pastries into 4 equal parts.

Roll out each portion of the outer pastry and wrap around a portion of the inner pastry.

Flatten it and roll it into an oblong shape with the thickness of roughly 0.8 cm. 

Next roll it into a cigar shape. Repeat the last step one more time and roll it into a cigar shape again before cutting the pastry into 6 equal discs. Repeat with the rest of the pastry.

Roll out each disc cut side down with a rolling pin (to roughly 15 cm in diameter).

Add a large spoonful of the filling together with a wedge of egg then pinch the edges well.

Pleat the edges as beautifully as you possibly can, as you can see I am not very good with this. 

Repeat with the rest of the pastry and place in the fridge until frying time. They can also be wrapped up and freeze for rainy days.

Deep fry curry puffs in batches with plenty of peanut oil until golden and crispy. Drain well before serving. The pastry will remain nice and crispy even when they are cold.

Serve theses beauties with a nice pot of tea or a few beers when you have friends over next.

xMy friend Sharon from Test With A Skewer is hosting the event for the month of July, please send all your entries to To find out more about MMM, please click here.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Pork Chop With Tomato Sauce On Egg Fried Rice 茄汁豬扒配炒飯

It was a cold, wet and miserable Friday night and tummy decided it would be a good idea for him to stay in as well. My initial plan of a very simple dinner for one went right out of the window and now I would have to cook a meal for two with whatever I could find in the fridge, charming! At the end I did manage to find two pieces of pork chops, some cold rice and vegetables both fresh and frozen after a quick raid of the kitchen.

I decided to make something that I would normally order at a Hong Kong Style cafe - "baked pork chop rice" but without the baking because I simply couldn't be bothered and I would have missed the start of my favourite British crime drama with that extra process involved.

P.S If you are a fan of the baked version - fill a baking dish with the fried rice, top with the pork chops and pour the sauce over and bake in a hot oven until it is golden. But you will have to thicken the sauce with flour rather than corn flour to get that nice golden crust. I won't insult you with a recipe for the fried rice, I personally think just plain steamed rice would do the trick.

serves 2 as a one dish meal
you'll need;
2 pork chops or chicken or whatever meat you have
1 tsp of light soy
1/2 tsp of sesame oil
1 tsp of Chinese cooking wine
dash of white pepper
corn flour for coating
oil for cooking

for the tomato sauce;
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 onion, sliced
1 tomato, cut into wedges
6 tbs of tomato ketchup
1 tbs of light soy
1 tbs of HP sauce
2 tbs of sugar
1/2 cup of stock
dash of white pepper
1/4 cup of green peas

Use a kitchen mallet to flatten out the pork chops.

Marinate the pork chops with a little light soy, sesame oil, white pepper and Chinese cooking wine and coat the chops with corn flour.

To make the tomato sauce - saute chopped garlic with a little oil for a 20 seconds then add in the onion and cook until slightly soften. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Finally add in the green peas and thicken the sauce with a little corn flour solution. Heat the sauce up just before serving.

I made a simple fried rice with vegetables and eggs.

Pan fry the pork chops until golden then place the cut pork chop on top of the fried rice.

Pour some of the tomato sauce over and enjoy. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Roast Chicken Noodle Soup 燒雞湯麵

We used to put away the smallest amount of leftover food with the good intention of avoiding wastes but little did we know we were turning our fridge into a mini landfill instead. At the end the funky smell would bring us back to the many bowls, jars and containers of unidentified matters hidden at the back section of the fridge... YUCK!

These days leftovers are turning up in lunch boxes or are used soon after to avoid anyone having to take up the awful task of emptying and cleaning the fridge, with or without a curse or two during the process.

I prefer fried rice and simple noodle dishes when I am cooking for just myself. Not only there are very little planning and shopping involved, it is also a great opportunity  to use up the bits and pieces in both the fridge and the pantry. 

This is a great example of my home alone dinner and I simply can't think of a better way of using up the leftover roast chicken from our Sunday roast!

recipe per serve
you'll need;
leftover roast chicken or turkey, meat removed and shredded reserving the bones
3 cups of water
2 slices of ginger
1/2 tbs of chicken powder
dash of light soy
dash of sesame oil
dash of Chinese cooking wine
2 dried egg noodles or use whatever noodles you can find
1 bokchoy or any Asian greens, cleaned and cut into manageable pieces
1 spring onion, chopped
1 bird chili, chopped
salt and white pepper to taste

Have all the ingredients ready.

Place chicken bones, ginger, spring onion and seasonings in a pot together with 3 cups of water and simmer for 15 minutes skimming from time to time. Remove solids and adjust the seasonings.

Cook noodles in a pot of boiling water until al dente then blanch the bokchoy briefly and place both in a large bowl.

Add the shredded chicken and ladle some of the hot broth over.

Sprinkle with chopped spring onions, chili and some chicken fat and I also added some Cantonese chili oil to mine.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Rice Noodle Rolls With Pork And Mushroom Sauce 香菇肉絲豬腸粉 - “Malaysian Monday 47"

We have a sizable Malaysian population here in Melbourne so there is always a huge question mark on why good authentic Malaysian food is so hard to come by. Fortunately I do have this weekly commitment that  enable me to recreate and share some of the dishes from back home that I miss the most.

There are many different ways (vary from province to province) of serving up chee cheong fun or rice noodle rolls and this has to be my all time favouite. This is a popular dish back in my hometown (Cameron Highlands), though I am not sure if it is found elsewhere in Malaysia.

You may use the pork and mushroom sauce with noodles of your choice but it is equally delicious as topping for tofu or blanched vegetables. Veal is an excellent substitute for a halal version.

serves 4
you'll need;
fresh rice noodle rolls (豬腸粉)
2 spring onions, chopped
toasted sesame seeds
chilies in soy to serve
pickled green chilies in soy to serve

for the pork and mushroom sauce;
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
500 g of pork loin, cut into slivers, marinated
1 cup of sliced Chinese mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes, reserving the soaking water
4 tbs of oyster sauce
2 tbs of Chinese cooking wine
2 tbs of light soy
2 tbs of dark soy
1 tsp of sesame oil
1 tbs of sugar
1 1/2 cups of chicken stock
white pepper to taste
corn flour solution 

Chop the garlic and shallots while soaking the dried mushrooms.

Cut pork into long and thin slivers.

Marinate pork with 1 tbs of light soy, 1/2 tbs of oyster sauce, 1/2 tsp of sesame oil and 1 tsp of corn flour.

Saute garlic and shallot with some cooking oil until light golden before adding in the marinated pork. Fry pork in the fragrant oil mixture for about 2 to 3 minutes.

Add soaked mushrooms, and seasonings and continue to cook for a further 3 to 5 minutes. Pour in the mushroom soaking water and stock and turn the heat down to a low simmer.

Cover and simmer for 45 minutes until pork is tender. Check for seasonings and thicken sauce with some corn flour solution.

To serve - steam rice noodle rolls for a few minutes until heat through then cut into manageable pieces and ladle some of the meat sauce over. Top with chopped spring onions, fried shallots, toasted sesame seeds and serve with chilies in soy.

Mix everything up and enjoy.

My friend Sharon from Test With A Skewer is hosting the event for the month of July, please send all your entries to To find out more about MMM, please click here.

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