Saturday, February 18, 2012

Chermoula Roasted Chicken, Tomato, Avocado And Cucumber Salsa Wraps

I have wanted to try my hands on cooking Mexican or even Tex-Mex food at home for a while now. When I finally got my acts together to do my research and found a recipe suitable for a first timer like me, the specialty shop was closed when I arrived with my list of ingredients. 

Thankfully the supermarket is a stone's throw away from the specialty shop and I managed to come out with a Mediterranean version of my planned tacos meal. 

This completely revised meal is now a tummies' favourite whenever we want to get away from rice and pasta. Mexican food is still on the pipeline and if you know of any good Mexican cookbook do let me know, thank you.

recipe from the tummies' kitchen
serves 4 as a one dish meal
you'll need;
1 free range chicken, butterflied
5 tbs of chermoula for marinade
8 to 10 shop bought tortillas or other flat breads
200 g of baby cos lettuce leaves
2 tbs of extra chermoula

for the salsa;
2 large tomatoes, diced
1 continental/telegraph cucumber, diced
1 avocado, diced
1 spanish onion, finely diced
2 tbs of chopped coriander leaves
2 tbs of chopped mint leaves
4 tbs of olive oil
juice from half a lemon
salt and pepper to taste

To butterfly or spatchcock the chicken - remove the backbones of the chicken using a pair of kitchen scissor then flatten it slightly with both the palms of your hands. Use 5 tbs of the chermoula to marinate the chicken for at least an hour in the fridge.

Heat up an oven tray and lightly brown the chicken on both sides (2 -3 minutes/side) then roast it in the preheated oven for ~45 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool down.

While waiting for the chicken to cool down, prepare the salsa by combining all the ingredients in a large bowl, check for seasonings and set aside.

When the chicken is cool enough to handle drain off most of the accumulating oil in the oven tray and shred the meat from the carcass, reserving the bones for your stock pot. Return the shredded chicken to the tray and mix it with the remaining delicious sticky bits and cooking juices and the extra 2 tbs of chermoula.

Place a tortilla or flat bread on the workbench, place some lettuce over then top with some of the shredded chicken and salsa.

They can be rolled up and eaten as they are or lightly grill on a hot plate which is how we like it.

Halve wraps at an angle and serve it with a little more salsa on the side.

Homemade Chermoula

We used to always have a selection of ready made spice mixes in our pantry and chermoula - a popular North African marinade was a big favourite at that time. These products though convenient and quite inoffensive, they do lack freshness which is especially important for something like chermoula. It is easy to make your own chermoula at home and the result is a very rewarding one. 

There are many different versions of chermoula around and this is one that I obtained from a shopkeeper at my local Middle Eastern shop.

1/3 cup of chopped coriander leaves
1/3 cup of chopped parsley leaves
4 garlic cloves
3 shallots
2 tsp of cumin powder
1 tsp of coriander powder
1 tsp of chili powder
1 tsp of smoked paprika
1/4 cup of olive oil
juice from half a lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a food processor and roughly chop and blend until you get a medium course paste. Alternatively this can be done using a mortar and pestle.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Curried Sausage And Vegetables On Rice

Many of my Anglo friends grew up with a version of this peculiar but delicious curried sausage dish. It is also one of Tummy's childhood favourites - something his late father would cook when they wanted something a little more exotic than their usual meat with three veg. Though I haven't got his exact recipe but Tummy reckoned my version was pretty similar to that of his father's.

This is a simple and balanced one dish meal that can easily be altered to suit your taste; replace the sausages with some firm tofu, add a can of chickpeas or your favourite vegetables perhaps?

recipe from the tummies' kitchen
serves 4 as one dish meal
you'll need;
2 tbs of cooking oil
1 tsp of mustard seeds (optional)
a few curry leaves (optional)
6 good quality sausages of your choice, removed casing and break into pieces
1 onion, cut into chunks
2 green chillies, sliced
1/3 jar of vindaloo curry paste (I prefer Pataks)
1 can  (400ml) of coconut milk (use light or yoghurt for a healthier version)
1.5 cup of stock
1 head of broccoli, divided into bite size florets and stem cut to chunks, blanched and refreshed
2 carrots, peeled and cut into batons, blanched and refreshed
200g of green beans, topped and tailed hand halved sidewise, blanched and refresh
1sweet potato, peeled and cut into cubes, boiled until just cooked, drained well
3/4 cup of frozen peas, thawed
2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
salt and pepper to taste
steamed rice to serve

Get all the chopping, cutting, blanching and boiling out of the way.

Heat up a little oil in a large pan then add in the mustard seeds and curry leaves, when the contents start to pop add in the sausages, mix well and cook until the sausages are slightly golden.

Add in the onion and chillies and continue to cook for a minute to soften and enhance the flavour of the onion.

Add in the curry paste and half of the coconut milk and mix well, let it simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.

Finally add all the precooked vegetables, tomatoes, peas and stir well, pour in the rest of the coconut milk and stock and simmer for a further 3 to 5 minutes, season well with salt and pepper.

Serve with plenty of steamed rice and enjoy!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Polenta Crumbed Potato And Tuna Patties

Looking for something economical, tasty and nutritious for your midweek dinner? Well I think I might just have the answer for you!

Contrary to popular belief potato doesn't make us fat but the lack of exercise, potato chips and mash laden with fats are the main culprits. In fact the slow energy releasing starch in potato makes us full and satisfied without resorting to overeating, another reason for the thickening midsections. Together with everyone's pantry favourite - canned tuna and a few other easy to get ingredients, a wholesome meal can be prepared in less than an hour.

For those who are not big fans of deep fried food, you can easily bake these patties in the oven. To do that simply place the patties onto a non stick oven tray, lightly spray with canola oil and bake in a hot oven (200 C) until golden (~25 to 30 minutes)

For something a little more fancy please check out my salmon fish cakes with salsa or if you prefer something vegetarian how about my panko crumbed sweet potato and red lentil patties instead?

recipe from the tummies' kitchen
makes 12
you will need;
6 potatoes, boiled till tender, peeled and mashed
1 onion, chopped, sauteed with a little oil until soften
1 can of tuna in spring water, drained well
half a bunch of parsley, finely chopped (~1/2 cup)
1 tbs of capers, chopped
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup of breadcrumbs
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup of polenta
oil for frying
relish of your choice to serve

Cook the potatoes until tender, when they are cool enough to handle peel and set aside.

Mash potatoes in a large bowl then add in the rest of the ingredients except for the polenta and oil.

Mix everything well and check for seasonings.

Form little patties with wet hands then lightly press the patties down onto the bowl polenta. You may crumb them with normal or Japanese breadcrumbs instead but I really love that light crunchy crust from the polenta. Place the crumbed patties in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up before frying.

Fry patties in batches until golden brown and drain well on kitchen towels.

Serve tuna patties with a simple salad and some relish on the side.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Wa Bao Fan 瓦煲飯 Claypot Rice With Chicken, Chinese Sausage And Salted Fish - "Malaysian Monday 72"

Claypot rice is a Cantonese staple that can be found all over Malaysia. It is hard not to notice the rolls of charcoal burners and claypots of different sizes blazing away while hungry customers wait patiently for their delicious one-pot meal, otherwise the wonderful aroma will tell you there is a such a stall nearby.

Some claypot rice sellers these days offer luxury items such as abalone and fresh water prawns to be added to the rustic one-pot meal, often charging ridiculous prices for this once humble and affordable everyday dish. My opinion is stick to the basics and that was exactly what I did with my version here. 

The weather has been extremely mild for this time of the year to allow this comforting meal to appear on our table...blessed!

P.S You may add some presoaked Chinese mushrooms to the recipe. Use halal Chinese sausage made from chicken and omit the Chinese cooking wine for a halal version. 

serves 1 or 2 as a one dish meal
you'll need;
1 chinese sausage, steamed and sliced
2 chicken thighs (~200g), cut into manageable pieces
1 small piece of salted fish
2 spring onions, cut into 5cm lengths
1 cup of rice, washed and rinsed
1.5 cups of water
chopped spring onions to serve
sliced chilies to serve
1 very fresh free range egg

for the chicken marinade;
1 clove of garlic, grated
1 tsp of grated ginger
1 tbs of soy
1 tsp of sesame oil
a dash of chinese cooking wine
1 tsp of corn flour

for the sauce;
2 tbs of light soy
1 tbs of dark soy
1 tsp of castor sugar
1/e tsp of sesame oil

Steam chinese sausage until it plumps up, cool slightly before slicing. Prepare the rest of the ingredients and set aside.

Marinate chicken pieces with the marinade for at least an hour then mix in the sausage and spring onions.

I used salted mackerel and this is how it looks like. Check the cold storage department of you Asian grocer.

Pan fry a small piece of the salted mackerel on medium heat until golden, remove and allow to cool.

Place rice and water in a claypot and bring it to a simmer, add the chicken, sausage and spring onions, cover and cook on low heat for 15 minutes.

Pour in the sauce and put the cover back on and cook for a further 5 minutes. Increase the heat for a delicious light crust to form on the bottom of the pot. Break up the salted fish into pieces and add to the pot.

Top with chopped spring onions and chili rings and break an egg in.

Mix well and enjoy with extra sliced chillies with soy on the side.

I am hosting this month's event so please send all your entries to me at, to find out more about Muhibbah Malaysian Monday and on how to participate, simply click HERE. I will be waiting!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Midweek Pasta - Spaghetti Carbonara

There are many disputed stories about the origin the dish but give a medal to the genius who invented this fabulous dish I say!

With so few ingredients needed and most are readily available in our kitchen, this is the perfect dish on days when cooking up a storm is not the key phrase for the night.

They key to the success of a good carbonara is the quality of the ingredients so go out and get the freshest free range eggs and a good chunk of Parmesan cheese (non of those tasteless locally made stuff). More importantly no cream please!

serves 4 as a one dish meal 
you'll need;
500g of spaghetti
3 eggs
2 egg yolks
2/3 cup of grated parmesan cheese
2 tbs of olive oil
40g of butter
3 garlic cloves
300g of pancetta or bacon, cut into small strips
extra parmesan to serve

Cut pancetta or bacon into strips and place eggs, egg yolks and parmesan cheese in a bowl, whisk everything with a fork and set aside.

Heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan and add in the pancetta or bacon together with the garlic cloves. Cook over moderate heat until the pancetta is crisp, discarding the garlic and remove the pan from the heat source and allow to cool slightly otherwise the residue heat from the pan might cook the egg further.

Cook spaghetti with plenty of salted water until al dente, drain well and add to the pan, toss well before adding the egg and cheese mixture and mix well.

Serve immediately with sprinkling of extra parmesan cheese.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Bangers And Mash From The Tummies' Kitchen

Oh I love bangers and mash and why weren't we served this when we were little?  I have been talking about my childhood dishes since day one and I think it is time to share some of the other tummy's favourite childhood fares as well.

It is easy to pick up top quality sausages with so many wonderful butchers near us and the good news is most supermarkets stocked a huge variety of good quality sausages these days. Make your own gravy if you must but I am quite happy with the packet gravy on the market, it just adds that little naughtiness to an already quite sinful meal.

recipe from the tummies' kitchen
serves 4 as a one dish meal
you'll need;
olive oil
16 good quality sausages of your choice
2 cups of frozen peas
a knob of butter
salt and pepper to taste
beetroot relish to serve

for the onion sauce;
1 large onion, halved then sliced
1 packet of onion gravy, prepared according to the packaging

for the mash;
8 potatoes, boiled until tender with plenty of salted water and peeled and cut into chunks
3 tbs of olive oil
4 tbs of light sour cream
salt and pepper to taste

Saute onion in a pan with a little olive oil until soft and lightly caramelized.

Prepare the onion gravy according to the packaging then mix in to the cooked onion.

For the mash - Return cooked potatoes to the pot and mash it with a potato masher, add in the olive oil and butter and season well with salt and pepper.

Cook sausages in batches and drain well.

Serve sausages with some mash, buttered peas and some onion gravy over. Oh don't forget the relish too.

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3 hungry tummies

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melbourne, victoria, Australia