food for thought

by michelle

Posts Tagged ‘spicy

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

Posted in poultry & game

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steamed fish with spicy sauce

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Here’s a spicy Sichuan-style sauce for any white fish.

This recipe is for 700g (1½ lbs) of fish fillets. Make a slurry of 1 tablespoon of water and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and set aside. Finely chop ½ an onion and mince 1 clove of garlic. Finely chop a few shiitake mushrooms and ¼ of a red pepper. Into a small bowl measure out 1 tablespoon of Shaoxing wine, 1 tablespoon of Doubanjan (spicy Sichuan bean paste), 1 teaspoon of hoisin sauce, ½ teaspoon of sesame oil, ½ a teaspoon of sugar, and ground white pepper to taste. Mix well and set aside. Prepare some chopped coriander (cilantro) and spring onion greens for garnishing. When you’re ready to cook the sauce, heat a wok to high heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the garlic and onion and cook for a minute, stirring constantly. Add the rest of the vegetables and cook for another minute. Now add the prepared sauce ingredients and ½ a cup of water and bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat while you prepare the fish. To steam the fish, place it in a shallow bowl and season with a little soy sauce. Place the bowl into a steamer over boiling water and steam until the fish is cooked through and flaking apart. Use a slotted spoon to remove it to a serving plate. Reheat the sauce and add the cooking liquid from the fish. Thicken the sauce with the cornstarch slurry until it coats a spoon. Stir in another teaspoon of oil to finish and pour the sauce over the steamed fish. Garnish and serve with steamed white rice.

* recipe adapted from this recipe.

Written by michelle picker

January 31, 2018 at 12:41 am

spicy stir-fried squid + cabbage and bok choy with bean paste

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Now that I’m home I’m inspired to try some Korean cooking. Ojingeo bokkeum is a perennial favorite among Koreans and can be found on most restaurant menus. Like most Korean food it is hearty and spicy. This recipe is adapted from

In a large bowl mix together 1 tablespoon of minced garlic, 2 teaspoons of minced ginger, 1 tablespoon of gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes), 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, ¼ of a cup of gochujang (Korean red pepper paste). Clean and score 450g (1 lb) of squid (or use thawed frozen squid) and cut it into pieces. Add it to the sauce, making sure it is thoroughly coated, and allow it to marinate for 20 minutes. Heat some oil in a wok or large frypan over high heat. Add 5 stalks green onions (cut into lengths), 1 green chili pepper (thinly sliced) and 1 red pepper cut into pieces. Sauté until the onions start to wilt. Now add the marinated squid and cook for approximately 1½ – 2 minutes until cooked through (the squid will curl and become opaque). Remove from the heat and stir in 1 tabelspoon of sesame oil. Remove to a platter and garnish with sesame seeds and green onions.

This cabbage and bok choy recipe (adapted from is a great foil for the spicy squid.

Cut 300g (10½ oz) of cabbage into pieces and separate the leaves of 3 large bok choy. Blanch the cabbage in boiling water for approximately 5 minutes then add the bok choy for 1-2 minutes until the stems appear slightly less opaque. Strain the vegetables and rinse under cold running water to stop them cooking. In a bowl combine 1 minced garlic clove, 1 minced green onion, 2 tablespoons of doenjang (fermented soybean paste), 2 teaspoons of gochujang (hot pepper paste), a pinch of sugar and 2 teaspoons of sesame oil and mix well. Squeeze the cabbage and bok choy to remove excess water and add to the bowl, mixing well. Serve garnished with sesame seeds.

Written by michelle picker

July 20, 2017 at 5:42 am

spicy tofu with oyster mushrooms

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Oyster mushrooms have great texture and robust flavour making this a very satisfying vegetarian meal.


Heat oil in a large flat frypan or wok until smoking hot then add 2 brown shallots, 2-3 cloves of garlic and 2-4 red chillies, all finely diced. Next add large squares of tofu (classic Chinese style) and allow them to fry on both sides to add a little colour. As the tofu is frying add an equal amount or more of oyster mushrooms which have been torn into smaller pieces. When the tofu is sticking and the mushrooms wilting add 1½ tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of dark soy (caramel) sauce, some ground white pepper and a sprinkling of black rice vinegar (this is available at Asian stores or you could try apple cider vinegar). Serve with steamed rice and seasonal vegetables and make sure you scrape all the good bits off the bottom of the pan.

Written by michelle picker

May 25, 2015 at 6:56 am

spicy grilled duck breast

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This wonderfully aromatic and spicy grilled duck breast, which I served with a tomato rice and grilled asparagus, is based on a recipe from Bobby Flay’s ‘Boy Meets Grill’ .

The skin on the duck breast is first lightly scored and then rubbed with a dry spice mix made of the following:  1 tablespoon of Spanish paprika, 2 teaspoons of dry mustard, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon of ground star anise, 1 teaspoon of ground ginger, ½ a teaspoon of ground allspice and a pinch of cayenne pepper.

The glaze is made by frying 3 finely diced cloves of garlic and a finely chopped piece of fresh ginger (equivalent size) in some vegetable oil. When softened, add 1 tablespoon of sambal oelek (chilli paste), ¼ of a cup of honey and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce. Continue to cook for one minute.

Heat a heavy pan or griddle and fry the duck breast with the skin side down until it becomes crisp. Now turn the duck over and coat with a generous amount of glaze. Place the pan or griddle under a pre-heated grill and continue to cook for a few more minutes. Allow to rest before serving.

Written by michelle picker

June 24, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Posted in poultry & game

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