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Stirred-Fried Rice Noodle with Thai Flavours

1 Jan

IMG_0275

  • 250g thin rice noodles, soaked in boiling hot water until soft (about 10 minutes), rinse well then drain
  • 3 sprigs of green onion, thinnly sliced
  • red pepper, thinnly sliced*
  • mushrooms, thinnly sliced*
  • 1 small onion, thinnly sliced
  • 1 tsp of ginger, minced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • firm tofu, cut into bite size pieces
  • 100g chicken breast**, cut into pieces, coated with baking soda and corn starch (this keeps the chicken from getting dry and also helps make it a bit crisp)
  • 1tbsp fish sauce
  • 2tbsp soy suace
  • salt
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsps canola oil
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tbsp chili sauce
  • 1tsp sugar

*of course, add any vegetables you like, such as bean sprouts, zuchinni, snow peas, etc.  Cut all vegetables into similar sizes.

**omit chicken if you want to make this a vegetarian dish.

  1. Add oil to a hot wok. Keep the heat hot during the following steps.
  2. Add chicken. Cook chicken on one side for about 2 minutes, then flip and cook for another 2 minutes. Avoid constantly stirring the chicken as this will prevent it from getting crisp.
  3. Add onions, garlic, ginger, peppers, mushroom. Add a small sprinkle of salt. Cook until vegetables soften.
  4. Add tofu, fish sauce, soy sauce (1tbsp), chili sauce, sugar and half the lime juice.
  5. Once the tofu is cooked, make a well and add in the beaten eggs.
  6. Once the eggs are semi cooked, add in noodles and soy sauce (1tbsp).
  7. Add a few tbsps of water if the noodles are stiff. Once the noodles are soft, turn off heat.
  8. Remove wok from heat and add spring onions and remaining lime juice.
  9. Mix well and serve.
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Asian Style Chicken Noodle Soup

28 Dec

IMG_0246

  • A whole chicken*
  • 1 tbsp of whole peppercorns
  • about 8 sprigs of cilantro
  • 3 carrots, peeled
  • 1 onion, peeled
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 thumb size ginger, peeled
  • 1 bay leaf
  • noodles (about 1 cup for every 2 litres of broth)
  • 1 lime (roll it to get more juice out of it)
  • sea salt  and freshly cracked pepper to taste
  • fish sauce to taste
  • soy sauce to taste
  • green onions for garnishing

*I removed the chicken breasts and used them for a stir-fry.

  1. In a large deep pot, place the chicken, carrots, onion, ciltrano, garlic, peppercorn, bay leaf and ginger. (If you have other vegetables such as celery, turnips or parsley feel free to add.)
  2. Fill pot with water until the chicken is just covered.
  3. Bring to a boil.
  4. Turn down to a very low simmer.
  5. Cook for at least two hours (longer is better).
  6. Remove from the broth all the ingredients in 1.
  7. Remove the chicken meat from the bones and place back into broth.
  8. Add noodles, soy sauce, freshly squeezed lime juice, and fish sauce to broth.
  9. Bring broth to a boil. Taste. Season with salt and pepper to your preference.
  10. Serve. Garnish with green onions.

Suggestion: if you want to reduce the fat content in the soup, at Step 7, let the broth cool, place in the fridge to let the fat solidfy and then skim off the fat solids that have formed on the top surface of the soup. Then continue onto Step 8.

 

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!