food for thought

by michelle

Archive for the ‘poultry & game’ Category

kari ayam

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At a recent potluck, Jane brought this traditional Malaysian chicken curry and kindly shared her recipe with me. It’s fragrant, comforting and delicious. Jane cooks this by feel so ingredient amounts are a little flexible.

For the curry paste you will need 2 medium yellow onions, 4 garlic cloves, a similar amount of ginger, 3 slices of galangal, 3 red shallots, 5 dried Thai chillies (soaked in hot water and deseeded), 5 fresh red chillies (de-seeding optional), 3 stalks of lemongrass (white part only), 2 sprigs of curry leaves (about 15 leaves), 1 whole star anise, 6 whole cloves, 1 small cinnamon stick, 2 teaspoons of toasted belacan (shrimp paste), 5 tablespoons of Malaysian curry power (Baba’s ia a good one),  ½ a tablespoon of ground coriander, 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric, ½ a teaspoon of ground cumin, 1 teaspoon of palm sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of chilli powder (optional). Blend or pound all these ingredients to a smooth paste. Heat 4-5 tablespoons of oil in deep pot or wok over medium heat. Add the curry paste and lower the heat. Cook for 10-12 minutes until the paste turns fragrant and you can see the oil starting to split from the paste. Make sure you stir continuously as the paste can easily burn. Now add 4 bone-in chicken legs with thighs attached (cut into smaller pieces) and stir and cook until the chicken is evenly coated in curry paste. Add 600ml (1 pint) of chicken stock, turn the heat to high and bring to boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Now add 4 medium peeled and quartered potatoes and cover again. Simmer on low heat for a further 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Next add 600ml (1 pint) of coconut milk, cover and simmer over low heat for another 20 minutes. Season to taste with more salt or palm sugar as needed. Garnish with fried shallots and fresh mint and serve with rice, roti or noodles. 

Written by michelle picker

April 29, 2020 at 12:12 am

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sichuan cold-dressed chicken

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Fuchsia Dunlop fell in love with Sichuan cookery when she moved there in 1994. She attended the Sichuan Institute of Higher Cuisine in Chengdu and was the first westerner to train there as a chef. Her Sichuan cookbook Land of Plenty, which was published 20 years ago, was voted one of the greatest cookbooks of all time by Observer Food Monthly. Since then an appreciation for Sichuanese food has spread, ingredients have become more widely available and Fuchsia Dunlop has continued to explore the cuisine. Her updated cookbook The Food of Sichuan includes new recipes and reflects changes in the cuisine. Needless to say I was delighted to be given a copy recently. This recipe for cold poached chicken salad called to me first – not complicated and absolutely delicious.

First you will need to poach some chicken. The cookbook describes a method for whole chicken but as I didn’t have one, I chose to poach 2 chicken breasts. If you have a sous vide wand and have the time, this would be an ideal method. Otherwise, place the chicken breasts in just enough cold water to cover, add some unpeeled ginger slices and some smashed white parts of spring onions and place over very low heat to bring to a simmer. When the water simmers, turn off the heat and allow the chicken to steep until it is cooked. To check whether the chicken is done either use a thermometer – the internal temperature should be 75°C (165ºF), or take the chicken out of the water and cut into it – if the juices run clear then it is cooked. Cover and set aside to cool. To make the salad cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and place them in a bowl along with 4 spring onions cut into short lengths, 1 teaspoon of toasted sesame seeds and 50g (1¾ oz) of roasted peanuts. For the dressing combine 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 3 tablespoons of cold chicken stock, 2 teaspoons of Chingkiang vinegar, 2 teaspoons of caster sugar and ½ a teaspoon of salt and stir until the sugar and salt dissolve. Add in ¼ – ½ a teaspoon of ground roasted Sichuan peppercorns, 1 teaspoon of sesame oil and 3 – 4 tablespoons of chilli oil (or to taste) with or without the sediment. You can buy chilli oil in Asian stores or you can quite easily make your own. Add the dressing to the chicken, toss well and transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve.

Written by michelle picker

February 19, 2020 at 12:07 am

ayam taliwang + asinan

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This recipe, from Fire Islands: Recipes from Indonesia by Eleanor Ford, hails from Lombok and definitely lives up to being “everything you could hope for in grilled chicken”. Despite a few substitutions, the marinade, which also becomes the sauce, had flavour and heat from garlic and many chillies; sourness from lemon; fragrance from curry and lime leaf; depth of flavour from shrimp paste, oyster sauce and soy sauce and a great texture from coconut milk and almonds.

You need a flattened chicken for this recipe. Lay the chicken on it’s breast, cut down either side of the backbone and remove it. Flip the chicken over again and press it flat. Rub it with a little oil, season it with salt and allow it to come to room temperature.

Meanwhile, to make the sauce heat some oil in a frypan and add 5 large red chillies (cut in half lengthwise and seeded), 2 birdseye chillies, 2 whole dried chillies, a few slices of galangal (or ginger if you don’t have galangal), 1 teaspoon of shrimp paste, 10 whole cloves of garlic and 10 blanched almonds. Cook until the garlic begins to brown then remove everything to a blender, add a pinch of salt and some water (up to 1 cup) and process to a smooth consistency. Return to the pan with 2 kaffir lime leaves and 10 curry leaves and cook until the sauce thickens. Turn the heat down and add 2 tablespoons each of oyster sauce, soy sauce and coconut milk. Simmer for a few minutes more then remove from the heat. Place ¾ of the sauce in a serving bowl, adding the juice of half a lemon. To the pan add some more oil to make a marinade for the chicken. Paint the marinade on the chicken and cook on a barbecue, turning and basting, until the juices run clear when you insert a knife into the thickest part of the chicken or when the internal temperature reaches 74ºC (165ºF). Allow the chicken to rest before serving with the extra sauce.

As a side dish I served Asinan, an Indonesian raw vegetable salad which hails from Jakarta and is related to the popular Thai salad Som Tam. Like its counterpart it’s sometimes made with fresh green papaya but I made my version with what was in my fridge. The recipe is from the cookbook South East Asian Food by Rosemary Brissenden.

Finely shred carrots, cucumber and cabbage and refrigerate them to keep them crisp. Meanwhile, for the dressing heat 1 tablespoon of sugar with 2 tablespoons of water until the sugar is dissolved and then allow it to cool. Soak 1½ tablespoons of dried shrimp in hot water for a minute. Drain the shrimp and together with 2 small sliced red chillies pound or blend them to a rough paste. Add the sugar water, 2 tablespoons of white vinegar, salt to taste and enough water to make a good consistency. Toss the dressing through the salad. Just before serving add 3 tablespoons of roughly chopped roasted peanuts.

Written by michelle picker

January 1, 2020 at 12:02 am

coconut roast chicken

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I love cookbooks. My latest birthday gift, Fire Islands: Recipes from Indonesia by Eleanor Ford is no exception. The book is full of interesting regional recipes, all beautifully photographed. The chicken in this recipe is coated with a wonderful combination of tamarind, coconut milk and spices which not only ensure the chicken remains succulent but also become deliciously caramelised during roasting. Serve with steamed rice.

Preheat your oven to 190ºC (375ºF). Place the whole chicken in a not-too-large roasting dish and paint the skin all over with tamarind paste. Roughly chop 2 onions, 4 garlic cloves, 2 large red chillies, two lemongrass stalks (with the tough outer leaves removed) and a 4cm piece of fresh turmeric and grind to a paste in a food processor. If you can’t find fresh turmeric you can replace it with 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric. Heat some oil in a saucepan and cook the paste until it is no longer raw and smells fragrant. Now paint the outside of the chicken with some of the paste and place a little inside the chicken. To the rest of the paste add 1 can of coconut milk and 2 teaspoons of dark coconut sugar. Bring to boil and simmer for 5 minutes before pouring it over the chicken. Roast the chicken for 1 hour or until it’s golden brown, making sure the chicken is coated with the coconut mixture. When the chicken is ready, remove it from the pan and rest it. You will find the oil has separated from the mixture in the pan and you can discard this and serve the wonderfully caramelised remainder with the chicken.

Written by michelle picker

October 23, 2019 at 12:24 am

slow-cooked turkey wings

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These sticky, spicy turkey wings were falling off the bone and yummy.

Preheat your oven to 100ºC  (210ºF). In a heavy ovenproof casserole brown the turkey wings in batches. Remove from the heat and discard most of the fat. Return the wings to the pot. In a bowl combine ¼ of a cup of soy sauce, ¼ of a cup of balsamic vinegar, ¼ of a cup of tomato sauce (ketchup), 2 tablespoons of dark brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of honey, 3 crushed or grated cloves of garlic, 2 teaspoons of powdered ginger, a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper and ¼ of a cup of water. Mix well and add to the wings, tossing them until they’re all coated. Heat on the stovetop until the sauce is just coming to a simmer then cover the pot and place it in the oven. The wings should be ready after 3-4 hours. When the meat is tender place the wings on an oven tray and keep warm. If you prefer to reduce the fat in the sauce skim it off now then place the pot over medium heat and thicken the sauce using a slurry of 2 teaspoons of cornstarch and 2 teaspoons of water. Spoon the sauce over the wings and put them under a hot grill for a few minutes or until they become caramelised and a little charred.

Written by michelle picker

July 10, 2019 at 12:18 am

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roast duck

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Roasting a duck is not really as daunting as it seems. This Chinese-style roast duck is best cooked on a charcoal barbecue.

Clean the duck, remove the wing tips and any lumps of fat from inside the cavity and pat it dry with paper towels. Rub salt over the entire duck (about 2 teaspoons) and tie the neck tightly with string. Roughly chop 2-3 spring onions, 1-2 cloves of garlic and an equal amount of fresh ginger.  In a small bowl combine ¼ of a cup of soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon of dark soy, 2 teaspoons of five-spice powder and 1 tablespoon of honey  (if you need to liquefy the honey heat it briefly in a microwave). Stir well to combine the ingredients and brush the mixture all over the duck, brushing some into the cavity as well. Place the spring onion, garlic and ginger into the cavity and seal the duck by sewing or securing tightly with skewers. When you’re ready to cook place a disposable aluminium roasting pan under where the duck will cook to avoid flare-ups from the dripping duck fat. Regulate the temperature to approximately 160ºC (325°F). If you’re cooking with charcoal you can add 2 – 3 chunks of smoking wood. Allow the duck to roast for approximately 2½ hours until the skin is golden brown and crispy and the internal temperature of the breast has reached 74ºC (165°F). Serve chopped into pieces with hoisin sauce (diluted with a little water) and chilli oil.  

roast-duck-cut

Written by michelle picker

April 17, 2019 at 12:28 am

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red-cooked whole chicken + mushroom and kangkong stir-fry

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This is a popular cooking method in China where it is used for all kinds of meats and hard-boiled eggs. Served either hot or cold, the remaining stock is reused as a master stock. Ingredients vary from cook to cook but usually include soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, rock sugar and whole spices such as star anise and black cardamom.

Place your chicken into a pot which is not too big. Add 3 tablespoons of soy sauce, 3 tablespoons of dark soy sauce, some large slices of ginger, a few cloves of garlic, 2 star anise, a black cardamom pod and some cassia bark (or a small cinnamon quill). I don’t usually add rock sugar. Fill the pot with cold water until the chicken is just covered and bring to a boil very slowly. Simmer, turning the chicken at least once, until it is cooked. You can tell when the chicken is cooked if the juices run clear when you cut into the thigh. If you have a meat thermometer it should read 74ºC (165ºF). Remove the chicken from the stock and drizzle with a little sesame oil before serving. Serve with steamed rice.

Here’s a lovely simple stir-fry to serve with the chicken.

Trim and slice a few king oyster mushrooms, wash and chop a bunch of kangkong (also known as water spinach or morning glory) and peel and lightly crush a clove of garlic. Place your wok over high heat and when hot, add some peanut oil. Fry the clove of garlic until just beginning to brown and discard it. Now add the oyster mushrooms and cook for a minute or two before adding the kangkong. Finally add a little salt, sugar and white pepper and toss well to combine.

Written by michelle picker

March 6, 2019 at 12:15 am