Category Archives: Chicken

Soy Sauce Braised Chicken

The key to cooking chicken is to do it very slowly and gently. That way, the juices will all stay within and not lose itself to being a dry papery hunk of meat. Especially so here, the chicken has to be braised tenderly, so that as it cooks, it absorbs as much flavour from the broth as it possibly can, giving you an exquisitely fork-tender and succulent mouthful of poultry goodness.

This depends on how much chicken you’re making, but for about two people, here’s what to do:

  1. Into a good pot, toss two cloves of garlic, skinned on and smashed once, three cloves, two bits of star anise, a modest stick of cinnamon, a good dash of white pepper, a small pinch of whole black peppercorns, and a crack of sea salt.
  2. Also, add a teaspoon of pure sesame oil, two tablespoons of light soy sauce and one tablespoon of dark soy sauce.
  3. Place your chicken parts in and fill the pot with water, so that the poultry is just about half submerged. Turn the hob on to the lowest heat setting. Put the lid on leaving a small gap and let it simmer away gently for about an hour, or slightly longer.
  4. Toss in carrot batons and mushrooms in the last 5 minutes if you want, and adjust seasoning of broth with sea salt accordingly. If having with hot steamed rice, make sure it’s saltier than usual.

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Try this with pork belly.

 

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Chicken, Peas, Bacon

Chicken and bacon work together all the time.

  1. Prepare the chicken drumsticks by cleaning up the joint  and wrapping the bone with foil if you wanna be fancy. If not, skip this and poach your chicken in salty boiling water till the juices run clear when pierced at the thickest part.
  2. In a skillet with a little little knob of butter, toss in chopped smoked bacon once the foaming of the butter has subsided.
  3. When the bacon bits are just about browned, toss in minced onions, sweating them on low heat.
  4. Toss in the peas once the onions are just about translucent. Let it simmer and remove when done adding a just small amount of the poaching water if its running dry during cooking.
  5. The chicken should be about done. Let it rest once cooked through.
  6. Baste it in hot butter till golden.
  7. Serve with a potato mash or carbs of your preference. I had it with hot steamed basmati.

Chicken, Tomato, Olives, Capers

This is a brilliant combination if you’re craving that tomatoey flavour of bolognese but don’t want it too rich and beefy.

Chicken linguine in tomato sauce, with carrots, olives and capers.

  1. Set your pasta to boil.
  2. With some oil in a hot skillet, toss in minced shallots, carrot brunoise, chopped tomatoes, and maybe a bit of minced chilli if you want the spicy kick.
  3. Add in the chicken cubes, olives (best if pitted and sliced), and capers.
  4. Use a small blob of tomato puree and water to make a sauce, so everything holds together.
  5. Season well with freshly ground sea salt and black pepper.
  6. Garnish generously with carrot top leaves.

Poached Chicken with Steamed Spinach Omelette

No space for full description above.

Poached and pan-roasted leg of chicken, with a steamed spinach omelette, served with a red onion balsamic & honey jus, raw carrot and Jerusalem artichoke crisps.

Chicken

  1. Poach for approximated eight minutes. TIP! Poke deep with a skewer of small knife, if juice runs clear and is not bloody, chicken is cooked.
  2. Drain well and pan-roast with a little knob of butter till golden.
  3. Remove and let the leg of chicken rest.

Red Onion Balsamic & Honey Jus

  1. In the skillet of remaining chicken juices and butter, toss in minced red onion and sweat it till almost transparent.
  2. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar and reduce it by half.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in a tablespoon of honey.

Steamed Spinach Omelette

  1. Fill a ramekin with finely chopped spinach leaves.
  2. Crack in an egg and using a fork, carefully move the spinach bits about to let the egg white flow in and around the greens. Do not break the yolk.
  3. Steam the egg in a steamer. Remove once egg is cooked, and yolk still runny. Timing is of the essence.

 Serve with raw carrot cubes and a garnish of Jerusalem artichoke crisps.


New Year’s Dinner 2012

You’d know by now that we’re in 2012, unless you live under a rock. In which case, I think it’s awesome how you have internet access under there.

Anyway, I was fortunate enough to spend the new year with my best mate Sam and his lovely family. We’ve known each other since we were ten, and this new year’s day, I had the privilege of making dinner for his family, who are my family’s friends as well.

Planned out a three-course meal, which I wouldn’t say went perfect in terms of timing. After a coupla not-so-smooth processes and hair-pulling moments in the kitchen, here’s what was served:

Starter

Poached and butter-roasted leg of chicken on carrot smash. Served with a deviled egg of spinach and cheddar, and a white-wine lemon jus.

Main

Roasted beef and peppers, dwarf beans and sweet potato gratin. Garnished with a seared mushroom of fresh lemon juice.

Dessert

Bittersweet chocolate raspberry tart

Photography: Gerard Bong

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After this episode, I know how much more I should be doing in the kitchen, there is indeed a lack of finesse, dynamism and flare. 2012, here I come!

In any case, everyone here at Cook For Myself wishes you a splendid year ahead, may you be blessed with a great abundance of superb food, preferably of those made in your kitchen. Merry New Year to all!

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And what do you know, during this time of festivity, I’ve been given the chance to direct and produce the music video of Binary Concept’s English acoustic cover of Let It Snow. Check it out!


Pan-seared Chicken Thigh on Carrot Mash

It’s evident that I’ve been watching way too many cooking shows: I’m addicted to the playing with my food now. All the minimalistic presentations, calling for finesse and vibrance, beckoning the appetite of the impatient diner. I just wanna eat good food without paying exorbitant prices.

Pan-seared chicken thigh on a bed of carrot mash, with peas, parsley and a white wine jus.

A beautiful celebration of crispy chicken skin and velvety sweet carrot, mingling with the succulent texture of the poultry, the playful burst of peas and the rowdiness of parsley. Then everything comes to a halt to welcome the zesty twang of lemon in the delightful reduction of white wine and chicken oil. In dishes like these, a delicious tune is heard with every bite.


Ballotine of Chicken & Mixed Fruits

A ballotine, which means ‘bundle’, is a French dish made of deboned meat fish or poultry (sometimes the whole animal) filled with stuffing and then rolled and tied into a bundle. It is roasted, poached or braised, and can be served hot or cold.

Overwhelmed by curiosity, I tried my hand at it. After removing the bone from a chicken thigh, I packed some wine-soaked dried fruits in it, and proceeded to roll it into tight bundle. I poached it for eight minutes before pan-roasting it in a mixture of foaming butter and dry white wine. Once done, cutting it into thick slices to expose its beauty became much of a moment of truth.

The fruits in the center were a little too sweet for the bird but nonetheless, was well-balanced with arugula and chilli. I should make a sauce next time. Preferably something slightly spicy and definitely something rich.

Endless possibility beckons.