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:
- 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.
- Also, add a teaspoon of pure sesame oil, two tablespoons of light soy sauce and one tablespoon of dark soy sauce.
- 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.
- 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.
Try this with pork belly.
It’s been a long long hiatus that I’ve taken. I blame Instagram. Grainy photos behind retro-esque filters and uninspired dishes. In any case, I’m hoping this entry won’t be like the last one – the last one for a long while.
So I guess from now, I’ll be using more than a couple of Instagramasised photograph. Fingers crossed that’ll work out well.
Alas! The first of the list is Instant Mee Pok! Mee Pok (translated from Chinese dialect as ‘thin noodles’) is a flat egg noodle used a lot in Singapore to make Fishball Noodles and Mushroom Minced Pork Noodles. They say the first creators of pasta were actually the Chinese; Italians apparently discovered it much later. In any case, Mee Pok is usually cooked fresh and unless you buy them fresh from the market or make them yourself, you won’t get a chance to have them this far from East Asia. But, but, BUT! I stumbled upon a pack of dried instant Mee Pok at Chinatown last week. Well, it isn’t quite exactly the same thing as its fresh counterpart, but I’d say it comes pretty damned close.
I am a happy boy.
(Follow me on Instagram @skinnynigel or #skinnynigel)
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.
- Get your chicken soup leftover into a bowl and chuck it into the microwave for 2 minutes.
- Yes, that’s TWO minutes on high heat; you want it piping hot.
- 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.)
- Cover with a plate or lid for 5-7 minutes.
- Have it hot, like you would with chunky soup.
Photography: Sarah Lee
- 200g pork belly, thinly sliced,
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 dash white pepper powder
- half a bulb garlic, minced
- 2 inches of a large carrot, cut into small inch-long pieces
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 300ml water
- a pinch of fresh coriander leaves, chopped
Preparation and Cooking
- Marinade the pork belly and prepare the carrot and garlic.
- In a hot wok with the vegetable oil, fry the garlic till fragrant.
- Toss in the carrot and fry till almost done.
- Put in the marinaded pork belly and stir about, adding water in small quantities, adding each time the wok gets dry.
- When the meat is about done, add all the remaining water at a go to form a gravy.
- Add dark soy sauce, and salt to taste.
- When it starts to boil, turn down the heat to a simmer for approximately 15 minutes, longer if you want the pork to be even more tender, and if your stomach can wait.
- Serve with fresh coriander.
You can have this with steamed rice or Mini Yorkshire Puddings. Delish.
A lovely thing about cooking is being able to cook for people whenever, as long as there’s a kitchen. It doesn’t have to be fully equipped, although the essential knife, pot and hob is necessary.
Anyway, what I really mean to say is, HELLO FROM HONG KONG! I’m staying in my sister’s apartment right now and just made us some brunch. Due to her very busy work schedule, she hardly has the time to make her own meals at home. As a result, there isn’t much food in the house. The night before I bought a packet of spaghetti from the grocer’s downstairs and together with a couple of frozen goodies in the freezer, this was what we had this morning. Yum.
Asian Fried Spaghetti
- Minced garlic is the KEY ingredient. I cannot emphasise that further. Prepare.
- Ingredients sliced and chopped up appropriately, fried and tossed with minced garlic in vegetable, sunflower or peanut oil.
- Pasta added once cooked to al dente. In goes salt and pepper for seasoning. ‘Herbage’ is a bonus.
To all those overseas who crave the good ol’ Tze Char Noodles, I’d like to share this recipe with you. It’s not exactly the same as what you’d get for cheap in the neighbourhood restaurant you frequent weekly back in Singapore, but it’ll serve to satisfy your cravings.
What you’ll need:
- prepared ingredients for Melt-In-Your-Mouth Pork
- 1 serving of quick-cook spaghetti
- 1 generous handful of spinach leaves
- 2 inches of a medium sized carrot, sliced into small inch-long pieces
- half a red onion, sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- a couple of fresh mushrooms, quartered (optional)
- 1 tsp of vegetable oil
- 2-3 tbsp of oyster sauce
How to do it:
- Get the pasta cooking in a pot. And place a wok on another hob, turned up to full whack.
- Add the garlic and onion into the wok to flavour the oil.
- Welcome the Aroma Fairies.
- Carrots go in ‘cos they take longer to cook through.
- Toss the pork in and add water from the pasta bit by bit, stir-frying till just done.
- If you’re having mushrooms with this, dump them in now.
- Add the oyster sauce and grab some pasta water to pour into the wok, till ingredients are almost completely submerged. Mix and watch your gravy form.
- Turn off the heat and drain your pasta. Get them in, together with the spinach leaves. Toss about till the spaghetti is coated with all the gravy goodness, and till the vegetable leaves have wilted just a little.
- Serve hot, with Pickled Green Chilli. More on that soon.
If you wanna make a Chinese Stir-Fry and have no Asian egg noodles in your kitchen cupboard, then spaghetti or linguine works just as well. Just make sure you have all the essential ingredients:
- chopped garlic
- a slice of ginger
- dark soy sauce
- light soy sauce
- oyster sauce (bonus)
Pork is usually my meat of choice for stir-fry ‘cos for some reason, I think it tastes the most Chinese. Onions, mushrooms, shrimps, egg, spinach, beansprouts, chillies, even cheese is up to you. Whatever makes you happy.
Garlic and ginger, almost like the yinyang of Chinese Stir-Fry.