food for thought

by michelle

Archive for the ‘poultry and game’ Category

hainanese chicken rice

leave a comment »

Adapted from early Chinese immigrants from Hainan province in Southern China, Hainanese Chicken Rice is a popular street food in Singapore and Malaysia. There are many different cooking methods and the dipping sauces seem to be a personal choice. I chose to follow Rosemary Brissenden’s recipe from her book South East Asian Food.

The chicken is steeped rather than boiled and this gives a tender juicy result. First remove the 2 pads of fat from near the opening of your chicken and keep them. Boil a pot of water large enough to fit your chicken and fill enough to immerse it completely. When the water boils add the chicken, 2-3 cloves of crushed garlic, an equal amount of sliced ginger and ½ a brown onion. Boil for 2-3 minutes then take the pot off the heat and allow the chicken to steep for 30 minutes. Repeat this one more time and the chicken should be cooked. While the chicken is cooking you can make your sauces. I made a chilli/ginger sauce and a sweet soy sauce. For the chilli/ginger sauce, with a mortar and pestle pound 6 chopped red chillies with 3 chopped cloves of garlic and an equal amount of diced ginger until they become a paste. Season with salt to taste and a drizzle of white rice vinegar. If you need more moisture add a little of the chicken stock. For the sweet soy sauce, caramelise some sugar and add soy sauce to taste. While the chicken cooks you can also prepare some chopped coriander (cilantro) and spring onion for garnish as well as slicing some cucumber and tomato as an accompaniment to the meal. When the chicken is cooked remove it to a plate and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. Now take the chicken fat and in a saucepan fry it in some oil until the fat renders then remove the solids. Rinse and drain your rice and add it to the saucepan, cooking for a few minutes until coated with the fat and a little translucent. Add the chicken stock (for 2 cups of rice you will need 3 cups of stock) and some salt to taste. Cover and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Meanwhile season the remaining chicken stock to taste with salt and white pepper. Traditionally the chicken is  garnished with chopped coriander and spring onion and chopped then eaten with rice, cucumber and tomato, a small bowl of soup and the dipping sauces.

Advertisements

minced chicken salad

leave a comment »

Loosely based on Thai Larb, this minced chicken salad makes a tasty summer meal.

lao-style-chicken-salad

To cook the chicken you will need some Thai chilli paste in soya oil. Add 3 tablespoons of the paste and some of the oil to a saucepan and heat over medium heat. Add 450g (1 lb) of minced chicken thigh meat and cook, mixing well and breaking the mince into small pieces. If necessary add a little water. When the chicken is cooked set it aside to cool. In a bowl make a salad of finely shredded celery, finely sliced red onion, julienned carrot, plenty of chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) and mint, bean thread noodles (cooked for 2 minutes and shocked under cold running water), chopped cucumber, chopped tomatoes, finely chopped fresh red chilli and chopped roasted peanuts. When the chicken has cooled add it to the salad and season with fish sauce and fresh lime juice to taste.

Written by michelle picker

April 17, 2017 at 5:51 am

red-cooked duck legs

leave a comment »

Red cooking is a Chinese method of slow braising. Popular throughout most of northern, eastern, and southeastern China, the name is derived from the dark red-brown colour of the cooked items and their sauce. Here is a version using duck legs.

red-cooked-duck

First place your duck legs into a cold pan and turn the heat to medium. Allow the fat to render out of the duck and the skin to brown. Meanwhile soak 8-10 whole dried mushrooms in boiling water allowing them to soften. In a pressure cooker or saucepan with a lid, heat a little of the duck fat and fry 2 diced shallots, 3 diced cloves of garlic and a diced knob of ginger. Add 1 whole star anise and 1 teaspoon of Szechuan peppercorns. When the shallots are translucent add the duck legs, 2-3 whole carrots, 4 chopped spring onions, 2 red birds-eye chillies, ½ a cup of chicken stock, a splash of shaoxing wine, ½ a teaspoon of sesame oil, 1-2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of Chinese thick caramel sauce and the soaked mushrooms. Cover and cook until the duck is tender and pulling away from the bone. In a pressure cooker 25-30 minutes will be enough otherwise you will need at least 1-1½ hours, making sure from time to time that there is enough liquid in the pot.  Serve with steamed rice and green vegetables.

I served mine with bok choy (pak choi).

bok-choy-with-oyster-sauce

Wash and separate the leaves of the bok choy or if they are very young you can cook them whole. Bring a pot of water to boil and add some salt. Drop the bok choy into the water and cook for a few minutes until tender. Drain well and toss in 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce, a drizzle of sesame oil and ground white pepper to taste.

Written by michelle picker

March 6, 2017 at 5:44 am

chicken with cardamom rice + spinach salad with dates

leave a comment »

Two fragrant dishes from JERUSALEM by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi.

This one-pot chicken and rice dish is wonderfully spiced, rich with caramelised onions, tangy with barberries and fresh with herbs.

chicken-with-onions-and-rice

First put 2-3 tablespoons of sugar into a small saucepan with an equal amount of water and heat until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat, add 25g (less than 1 oz)  of dried barberries and set aside to soak. Heat a generous amount of olive oil in a large sauté pan which has a lid. Fry 2 finely sliced onions over medium heat until quite brown. Remove from the pan and set aside. For this recipe you can either cut a whole chicken into pieces or use portions. Place them in a bowl and season well with 1½ teaspoons of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Add 10 bruised cardmom pods, 2 broken cinnamon quills, ½ a teaspoon of whole cloves and 2 tablespoons of olive oil and mix well with your hands. Heat the pan again and sear the chicken pieces on each side for a few minutes then remove from the pan. Now add 300g (10½ oz) of basmati rice to the pan along with the caramelised onions, the strained barberries, 1 teaspoon of salt and more freshly ground black pepper. Stir well then push the chicken pieces into the rice. Pour in 550ml (18½ fl oz) of boiling water then cover the pan and cook over very low heat for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and quickly replace with a tea towel or paper towels under it. Allow to stand for a further 10 minutes. Garnish with 15g (½ oz) of chopped herbs consisting of equal parts parsley, dill and coriander (cilantro).

This baby spinach salad with dates and almonds has a wonderful balance of fresh, tart, sweet and crunchy elements.

spinach-salad-with-dates

In a small bowl combine ½ a finely sliced red onion, 100g (3½ oz) of pitted and quartered Medjool dates, a pinch of salt and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. Mix well and allow to marinate for 20 minutes. Meanwhile heat 1½ tablespoons of butter with 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a fry pan. Add approximately 100g (3½ oz) of torn pita bread and 75g (2½ oz) of roughly chopped whole almonds. Cook, stirring, until the pita pieces are crunchy and golden brown. Remove from the heat and add 2 teaspoons of sumac, ½ a teaspoon of chilli flakes and ¼ of a teaspoon of salt. Set aside to cool. When ready to serve, place baby spinach leaves, the pita and almonds and the drained dates and onions in a salad bowl. Add a little olive oil, 2 teaspoons of lemon juice and some salt to taste. Toss and serve immediately.

duck red curry with lychees

leave a comment »

This classic Thai curry, often made with Chinese style roast duck, is a popular restaurant dish. I used fresh pan-roasted duck breasts in this version, although I cheated with a bought curry paste.

duck-red-curry

To make the curry, fry 2 tablespoons of red curry paste in some coconut oil until it’s fragrant. Add 1 – 2 cans of coconut milk and 6  kaffir lime leaves and allow it to cook until thickening slightly. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Score the skin of your duck breasts and salt liberally. Place them (skin side down) in a cold, heavy, oven-proof fry pan and turn the heat on, cooking over low to medium heat until the skin is crisp and the fat is rendered. Pour off the excess fat from time to time (this will keep well in the fridge and can be used another time). When the skin is crisp and the fat rendered, turn the breasts over and cook in the oven for just a few minutes. If you have a meat thermometer, take the duck out when the temperature reaches 63ºC (145ºF). Rest the duck for 5 minutes while you finish the curry. If there are any juices in the pan, add them to the curry along with 10-12 pitted fresh lychees or a can of drained lychees. When the duck is rested, cut it into pieces and add it to the curry. Add 2 tablespoons of chopped Thai basil and serve immediately with plain or coconut rice.

Written by michelle picker

August 8, 2016 at 5:48 am

quail and chick pea stew + bulgur and zucchini pilaf

leave a comment »

This fragrant dish of quail with chick peas, saffron and herbs is from Saraban – A chef’s journey through Persia by Grey and Lucy Malouf.

quails-with-chick-peas

Heat some olive oil over low heat in a large heavy-based pot with a lid. Gently fry 2 finely sliced red onions and 4 finely sliced cloves of garlic until soft and translucent. Meanwhile soak some saffron in 2 tablespoons of boiling water and set aside. Add ½ a teaspoon of lightly crushed cardamom seeds and ½ a teaspoon of dry oregano to the onions. Cook a little longer then remove to a plate. Add a little more oil to the pot and turn the heat up. Season 6 quails with salt and freshly ground black pepper and brown them on each side. Now reduce the heat again and return the onions to the pot along with a drained can of chick peas, 2 large or 4 small carrots cut into pieces, ⅓ of a cup of fresh oregano leaves, 8 sprigs of fresh thyme, a bay leaf, 300ml (10 fl oz) of good chicken stock and the saffron water. Bring to boil then cover the pot, lower the heat and simmer slowly for 1 – 1½ hours until the quail are tender. Towards the end of the cooking time add 2 tablespoons of currants and simmer for a few minutes. Season to taste with salt and add a squeeze of lemon juice.

I served the quail with a bulgur (burghul) and zucchini pilaf. Heat some butter and oil in a saucepan and quickly fry the sliced zucchini until barely tender, seasoning to taste. Remove to a bowl. Add the bulgur to the same saucepan. When it’s hot and a little toasted add double the quantity of boiling water and salt to taste. Cover and cook for 15-25 minutes (un-hulled bulgur will take longer). Chop some fresh dill and when the bulgur is ready, stir through the zucchini, some chopped fresh dill and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.

chicken and sweetcorn soup

leave a comment »

Every culture has it’s chicken soup and this classic Chinese one is my kind of comfort food.

chicken-and-sweetcorn-soup

First, make a good chicken stock from a boiling fowl or some chicken carcasses with a few slices of fresh ginger in it. When the stock is ready, strain it into a saucepan. If you have cooked a whole chicken then you may be able to use some of the shredded meat in your soup, but fresh chicken will taste better. Add a few skinless chicken thighs to the stock and gently poach them until just cooked. Remove them to a plate and set aside. Now add some corn kernels (either fresh or frozen) and cook for 5-10 minutes until soft. Now the soup will need a little processing, but not to a smooth purée. Thicken the soup with a slurry of cornflour and cold water – just enough to allow the corn to float throughout the soup. Shred the chicken and return it to the soup. Bring to a rolling boil and, while stirring, slowly pour in some beaten eggs. Finally, season with salt to taste, a generous amount of ground white pepper and a little sesame oil. Garnish with spring onions.

chicken-and-sweetcorn-soup-2

Written by michelle picker

May 10, 2016 at 6:01 am