Tag 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.

 


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.


Couscous, Cheat

This is a great lazy cheat for awesome slurpy food when you’ve got some soup leftovers. (Note: This only works for clear soups, mostly the Asian sort. And of course, minestrone soup.)

I know I’ve sorta made a post about this before but hey, this is specifically for Coucous in Chinese Chicken Soup. You might say it’s a level up from Couscous, Stocked.

  1. Get your chicken soup leftover into a bowl and chuck it into the microwave for 2 minutes.
  2. Yes, that’s TWO minutes on high heat; you want it piping hot.
  3. And then in goes the couscous, right into the blistering hot bowl of soup. TIP! The ratio for this a little tricky. But basically, you need enough liquid to cover the coucous. Since you’re doing the reverse i.e. adding couscous to liquid, add the grains just so that there’s still enough water to cover the coucous. In this case, it’s okay to put less than more. (When the couscous is done, the grains would have been completely swollen with tasty goodness.)
  4. Cover with a plate or lid for 5-7 minutes.
  5. Have it hot, like you would with chunky soup.

Lush.

Photography: Sarah Lee


Express Chicken Dippers

I’ve been crazy busy with packing these past few days. It’s the summer and I’m moving, that’s why. So here’s how I’ve been satisfying my fried chicken cravings.

With a pack of battered chicken dippers that I got from Iceland, your friendly neighbourhood frozen food store, I managed to get these babies crispy without having to heat up an entire oven. I don’t even know why I didn’t wanna use the oven but here’s an alternative to the traditional stick-it-in-the-oven trick.

Express Chicken Dippers

  1. Straight from the freezer and into a wok on the hob, toss the dippers in frozen.
  2. Turn up the heat to full whack. Put a lid on. TIP! Doing this keeps the moisture in, steaming the dippers.
  3. After a couple of minutes, get them out and chop them into bite-size pieces. (There is no need to perform this step; I have an obsession with cutting my food into bite-size pieces.)
  4. Flip them about every couple of minutes.
  5. Get them out once they start to brown.
  6. Let them cool a little before chowing down, you don’t wanna burn your tongue, like me.
Or, you can always just use the oven.

Grilled Peppers & Sage Chicken Pasta

I wouldn’t call this a Mediterranean dish ‘cos it isn’t exactly one. But the combination of peppers and sage remind me of Greece. Anyway, here’s a simple recipe for a slight taste of the Great Middlelands.

Grilled Peppers & Sage Chicken Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 1 serving of long pasta
  • 1 tsp of olive oil
  • half a small white onion, minced
  • 1 handful of sliced red peppers, inch-long
  • 1 handful of sliced yellow peppers, inch-long
  • 1 handful of sliced mushrooms
  • 1 handful of chicken fillet, breast or drumstick meat, cubed bite-size
  • half tsp of dried sage
  • salt and pepper, for seasoning, to taste
  • handful of spinach leaves, for colour
Cooking:
  1. Get your pasta cooking on the hob. (Remember: The Italians say the water used to cook pasta should be as salty as the Mediterranean
  2. Put a wok on the hob too. Turn the switch up to full whack and get the wok screaming hot. Add the oil in.
  3. Toss the minced white onion into the wok to flavour the oil.
  4. Before the onion turns brown, get the peppers to join the party. This time, let them sit still up to 2 minutes each time before tossing, until they show signs of slight charring. TIP! The trick here is that you don’t have the time to heat up an oven to specially grill your peppers. Pan-searing does the trick.
  5. Add mushrooms and toss.
  6. When the mushrooms are just about done, get everything out and put your chicken cubes in. You want to dry stir-fry them. This means you use the starchy water from the pasta, to stir-fry the meat. By adding the water in small quantities, stirring as you go along, you allow the meat to absorb all the liquid. Result: the chicken cubes are ‘dry’ yet juicy.
  7. Once the chicken is just done, add all the ingredients back in. And add salt, pepper and sage. Stir.
  8. The pasta should be just about done. Drain and add to the wok.
  9. Turn the heat off and add the lush green spinach leaves.
  10. Mix and serve.