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Chicken Salad Rolls

29 Apr
Freshly made salad rolls with chicken, basil, carrots and cucumbers.

Freshly made salad rolls with chicken, basil, carrots and cucumbers.

Salad rolls are traditionally served cool and hence ideal for summer time. They are also light, refreshing and healthy.

  • rice paper, about 15 sheets
  • (rice) vermicelli noodles, boiled as instructed and then thoroughly rinsed with cold water, drain well
  • 1lb ground chicken*
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • a few tbsps soy sauce
  • 1 tbsps honey
  • 2 tbsps oil
  • one small onion, finely chopped
  • one carrot, cut into match sticks
  • cucumber (same amount as carrots), cut into match sticks
  • juice of half a lime
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • a few fresh basil leaves

*Instead of chicken, try grilled shrimp or thinly sliced bbq beef or pork. For a vegetarian style salad roll, visit Frugal Feeding.

Rice paper.

Rice paper.

1. In a bowl, combine carrots, cucumber and lime juice. Add a sprinkle of sea salt. Allow mixture to marinate for 15 to 20 minutes.

Cucumbers and carrots with lime juice and sea salt.

Cucumbers and carrots with lime juice and sea salt.

2. In a wok on high heat, add in oil, garlic and onions. Cook until onions are soft, then add in chicken.

3. Use a wooden spoon to break up the ground chicken as much as possible. If chicken appears dry, add a splash of water.

4. When the chicken is almost done, season with honey, ground pepper and soy.

5. Choose a shallow dish with sides that is  large enough to fit the rice paper. (A pie plate works nicely.)

6. Fill dish halfway with hot water.  TIP: have a kettle of just boiled water ready on the side and once the water in the dish begins to cool, top up with more kettle water.

7. Gently place one rice paper sheet into water. The rice paper will soften in a few seconds. Once this is achieved, remove from the water and onto a plate or cutting board.

Rice paper with vermicelli noodles.

Rice paper with vermicelli noodles.

Rice paper with vermicelli, chicken, carrots and cucumbers.

Rice paper with vermicelli, chicken, basil, carrots and cucumbers.

8. Add a small handful of vermicelli noodles, a scoop of the ground chicken and a few of the marinated carrots and cucumber. Place the filling a little off center.

9. Tear a few pieces of basil leave and add to the filling.

Rolling the rice rolls.

Rolling the rice rolls.

10. Begin by rolling the portion of the rice paper nearest the filling. Roll about halfway and then fold the sides inward towards the center. Finish rolling. The rice paper is naturally sticky so it will seal itself.

11.  The first salad roll is finished. Repeat steps 7 to 9 to make the remaining rolls.

12. Chill salad rolls in the fridge before serving. Store in an airtight contain so that the rice paper does not dry out.

Assembling the salad rolls is very simple but a little time consuming. This task may be fun for kids.

Spiced Baked Chicken

5 Feb
Season chicken thighs, baked.

Season chicken thighs, baked. Served with steamed green beans.

  • chicken thighs, trim fat, leave skin on
  • a few slices of garlic

For each chicken thigh, season with approximately

  • 1/4 tsp sugar 
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1. Massage spices (paprika, salt and pepper) into each chicken thigh.

2. Place 2 to 3 pieces of garlic slices underneath the skin of each chicken.

3. Rub oil on the bottom of each chicken.

4. Sprinkle sugar on top of each chicken.

5. Place chicken in baking dish.

6. Bake in a preheated 375º oven for 30 minutes. Then turn down temperature to 350º and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes.

Light Carbonara

1 Jan
Carbonara with chicken bacon.

Carbonara with chicken bacon.

Here is a healthier version of the Italian classic. (This recipe was inspired by Weelicious.)

  • 4 to 5 strips of chicken bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 small tomatoes*, roughly chopped
  • 2 to 3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • cilantro or italian parsley leaves (optional)
  • spaghetti, enough for two people (about 250g or 9 ounces)

1. Cook pasta as instructed. Drain pasta well when done.

2. While pasta is cooking, in a large sautee pan, add in oil, garlic and onions. Cook until onions are soft (about 3 minutes) on medium heat.

3. Add in chicken bacon.  Cook for another 5 minutes or until chicken bacon begins to brown.

Onions and chicken bacon sauteing in a pan.

Onions and chicken bacon sauteing in a pan.

4. In a bowl, add parmesan cheese and eggs. Beat.

5. Right before the pasta is finished cooking, gradually laddle in about 1/3 cup of the boiling pasta water to the egg and cheese mixture. Whisk mixture while adding in water.  (This technique is known as tempering and increases the temperature of the eggs without  scrambling it.)

6. By now the chicken bacon and onions should also be done. Turn off burner but do not remove pan from burner.

7. Add pasta, egg mixture and tomatoes to sautee pan. Mix well. There should be enough residue heat from the burner to warm the pasta and sauce.

Carbonara in a pan.

Carbonara in a pan.

8. Season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper.

9. Dish out and garnish with cilantro or parsley.

*Other vegetables that go well with carbonara include sliced cremini mushrooms, asparagus, string beans and/or zucchini.

Chicken and Tomato Stew with Tofu

26 Jun

Chicken and tomato stew with tofu.

  • 6 to 8 skinless boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can of stewed tomatoes
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 pack of tofu, cut into large chunks
  • freshly ground pepper and sea salt 
  • 1 green onion (optional, it is mostly for colour)

Sauteed onion and garlic.

Heat a pot on high heat. Once hot, add in the oil, garlic and onions.

Chicken thighs seasoned with cinnamon, paprika, sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

When the onions begin to soften, add in the chicken and seasoning (cinnamon, paprika, salt and pepper). Mix well.  

Chicken with stewed tomatoes.

When the chicken is almost completely cooked, add in the stewed tomatoes. Mix well. Simmer on low to medium heat for 25 to 30 minutes. Add in the lemon juice. Mix well.

Chicken with stewed tomatoes, tofu and green onions.

Add in the tofu and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes, then add in the green onions. Mix well and serve while hot.

Crispy Chicken

29 May

Boneless skinless chicken breast encrusted with a homemade cracker coating.

  • depending on the size, 2 or 3 skinless boneless chicken breasts
  • 20 to 25 crackers, finely crushed. I used Christie’s Toppable Crackers. I find the easiest way is to place all the crackers in a ziploc bag and then using a meat mallet pound them until finely crushed.
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 eggs beaten

Crushed crackers.

Using a meat mallet, pound the chicken breasts to make them more thin.  This will reduce the cooking which also reduces the likelihood that the chicken will dry out in the even. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge each piece of chicken in the egg and then place into the bag of crushed crackers.  Repeat (this is optional but I like to double coat the chicken). Place the chicken on a lined baking sheet. Cook in a pre-heated oven at 400ºC for approximately 30 minutes. Flip the chicken halfway through. Serve with rice, pasta, potatoes, grilled vegetables or salad, or make into a chicken burger.

Chicken right before being placed in the oven.

Chicken after being in the oven for 15 minutes. Ready to be flipped and put back into the oven for another 15 minutes.

Crispy chicken after a total of 30 minutes in the oven. It’s done!

Udon Noodles with Chicken and Vegetables

1 May

Udon noodles with chicken, carrots, green peppers, shitake mushrooms and onions.

  • 3 packs (200g each) of fresh udon noodles, boil the noodles so they are loose; thoroughly drain
  • 1 chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces (Make it vegetarian by substituting the chicken with some firm tofu or scrambled eggs.)
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 3 sprigs of green onion, coarsely chopped
  • 5 dried shitake mushrooms, soaked in 2 cups of water for 3 to 5 hours
  • 2 tbsps honey
  • 3 to 4 tbsps soy sauce
  • juice of lemon
  • 2 tbsps oil (e.g vegetable oil or canola oil, extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 tbsp of sesame oil
  • sea salt and pepper

Feel free to use different types of vegetables such as baby corn, green beans, broccoli, asparagus, cremini mushrooms, shredded cabbage, zucchini, bean sprouts, etc.

Udon noodles, carrot, green onions, lemon, onion and green pepper.

Five dried shitake mushrooms soaking in water for 3 hours.

In a bowl, season the chicken with salt and pepper. Mix in the cornstarch and a couple tablespoons of water. Combine well. Also, slice the mushrooms and save the water from which the mushrooms were soaking in.

Stir fried chicken, green peppers, carrots, mushrooms and onions.

Heat a wok on high. Add in the garlic, onion and chicken.  Add a couple tablespoons of the mushroom water. Once the chicken is almost cooked, add in the carrots, mushrooms and honey. Sprinkle the contents in the wok with a tiny bit of salt and pepper. Add another couple of tablespoons of the mushroom water.  Cook until the carrots become slightly soft, then add in the green peppers and green onions. Add in half the amount of lemon juice. Cook for a couple of minutes.

Udon noodles with chicken and vegetables.

Then add in the udon noodles and soy sauce.  Mix well. If the noodles seem dry, add in a couple more tablespoons of the mushroom water. Add in the remainder of the lemon juice and sesame oil. Combine well. Once the noodles are piping hot, you are done. Serve immediately.

For other noodle recipes, see Oriental Style Noodle Soup, Rice Noodles with Coconut Peanut SauceChicken Curry Noodle Soup and Chicken Stir Fry with Egg Noodles.

Sweet Indian Chicken Stew

24 Apr

Chicken Breast simmered in coconut with spices and hearty vegetables.

  • one large chicken breast, cut into large chunks (or substitute with boneless skinless chicken thighs)
  • 2 small yellow potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and halved lengthwise, then sliced into 1/4 inches
  • 2 medium tomatoes, cut each into eights or so
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1 can of chick peas, thoroughly rinsed and drained
  • 1 tsp each of cinnamon, curry, paprika, sea salt, sugar, black pepper
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Heat a large pot on high heat. Once hot, add in oil and then garlic, carrots, yellow potatoes, chicken, tomatoes and spices.  Mix well. Add in the coconut milk, sweet potatoes and chick peas.  Bring to a gentle simmer. Cover on medium low heat and cook for about one hour. Taste to see if more salt is needed. Serve with plain brown rice or a flat bread.