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Posts tagged ‘Chicken’

Chicken with chilli, ginger and mushrooms


This is a Ken Hom recipe which I have adapted and every time I cook it, I get compliments from our guests. The original version does not use chilli, so you can leave it out if you want to, but I think it adds a nice dimension. The chunks of chicken in my picture are quite large but if you are feeding a  lot of people, make smaller chunks so that it cooks more quickly and evenly.

If you want to serve it with special fried rice as in the picture, make sure that you have some cold cooked rice available. This is then fried in a wok in a little oil with onion, frozen peas and egg approx 4-5 minutes before serving the chicken. Fry the onion first so that it is soft, add the peas so that they thaw, then either add a pre-cooked one egg omelette that has been chopped into small pieces, or cook a raw egg in the oil and break it up with the spatula before adding the rice. Toss the rice around in the wok to distribute the onion, egg and peas, and keep going until it is heated through.

Another bit of prep to do at least 30 minutes before cooking is to take the dried mushrooms, put them in a bowl or jug, and cover them with boiling water to give them time to reconstitute. You don’t have to use dried mushrooms, but if you do, you get a real depth of flavour and you can use the mushroom water to make the stock.

For the Chicken, ginger and mushroom you need (serves 2-4 people):

Chicken – thighs are more juicy, but you can use breast if you prefer, 100-200g per person should be plenty. This should be filleted and cut into 1 inch chunks.

Chicken marinade – this is enough for 2-4 servings:
Light soy sauce – 2 teaspoons
Shaoxing rice wine (or sherry) – 1 tablespoon
Sesame oil – 1 teaspoon
Cornflour – 2 teaspoons
Black pepper – approx half a teaspoon

Other ingredients:
Dried mushrooms – 25g – make sure these are soaked at least 30 mins ahead of cooking.
Fresh mushrooms (get a nice exotic mixture if you can – shiitake, cloud ears, brown) – 25g
Chilli – 1 small chilli of any variety – regular (or jalapeno if you are a chilli fan)
Ginger – must be fresh – 3 tablespoons peeled and cut into shreds
Garlic – 2 tablespoons peeled and chopped
Shallots or red onion – approx 4 tablespoons finely sliced – this equates to about half a red onion
Fish sauce – 1 tablespoon
Oyster sauce – 1 tablespoon
Sugar – 2 teaspoons
Chicken stock – 150mls – you can buy this ready made or make it up with the mushroom soaking water and a heaped teaspoon of good quality chicken stock powder
Groundnut oil – for cooking – probably a few tablespoons, I always guess mine
Salt and Pepper to taste
Fresh coriander and spring onion for a garnish – if you have some handy – this is optional

Things to do 30 minutes before cooking:

  1. Soak the dried mushrooms in water that you have just boiled in the kettle. They should be soft after about 30 minutes – leave them longer if not. Save the soaking water to make the stock (but remove any leftover bits from it by straining through a tea strainer). Remove the stalks and discard them, slice the mushrooms and set aside.
  2. If you haven’t got stock already made up, make up 150ml of chicken or vegetable stock by either a) using a stock cube or b) a heaped teaspoon of good stock powder with 150 – 200 mls of the mushroom water. Simmer in a little pan to dissolve all of the cube or powder and set aside. Bear in mind that some will evaporate so use more than 150mls of water and top it up if necessary.
  3. Marinate the chicken in 2 teaspoons of light soy, 1 tablespoon shaoxing rice wine, 1 teaspoon sesame oil and some salt and pepper. Ken Hom says to use one and half teaspoons of salt, but I leave the salt out because the soy is quite salty. I do add about half a teaspoon of pepper though. Once the liquid marinade is mixed through, add about 2 teaspoons of cornflour and mix again – this will make the coating thicker and cling to the chicken, give it a good mix so that it isn’t lumpy.
  4. Prep all the ingredients – peel and finely slice the ginger, garlic and shallots, slice the mushrooms. Slice the chilli and remove the seeds if you don’t like your food too spicy.

Cooking the chicken for the first time (this can be done in advance if you are prepping this for a busy dinner party):

  1. This first cooking gives the chicken the flavour of the ginger and chilli and also makes the ginger and chilli lovely and crispy to add another nice texture to the dish.
  2. Put approx 2-3 tablespoons of groundnut oil in a pan or wok and heat it until it is just smoking.
  3. Add the chilli and ginger and fry for a minute until crispy.20180330_180742.jpg
  4. Add the chicken and fry for another 4-5 minutes until almost cooked. The time will depend on how big the chunks are – if in doubt slice a piece to see if it is almost cooked through – if it is too pink, leave longer.20180330_18083820180330_181442
  5. Drain the chicken and reserve approx 1 tablespoon of the oil. Keep all of the crispy chilli and ginger pieces. If you are clever in the way that you do this, you shouldn’t have to clean the pan.

Putting it all together:

  1. Reheat the wok or pan with the remaining tablespoon of oil (don’t worry if you lost it all, just add another tablespoon of fresh oil).
  2. Add the shallots and garlic and fry for a minute to soften.
  3. Add the mushrooms (dried and fresh), and continue to stir fry and soften.20180330_181801
  4. Add the fish sauce, oyster sauce, stock and sugar. Return the chicken to the pan.20180330_181848
  5. Leave to simmer for 3-5 minutes to make sure that the chicken is cooked through.20180330_182228
  6. Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper to adjust seasoning if necessary.
  7. Serve with rice and garnish with fresh coriander and sliced spring onions.









Mango and Lime chicken with spicy oven baked chips

Mango and Lime chicken

Mango and Lime chicken

This is a nice way of making Nandos style chicken. In Australia we can’t get the mango and lime basting, so I make my own.

The chicken is better if marinated for 2 days, but you will still get some nice flavours after an hour of marination.

Buy enough chicken to feed your guests – you can buy it as portions, but I prefer to buy a whole free-range chicken and joint it, because it tastes nicer if the bones and skin are still intact.

Once you have your chicken jointed, place it in a large bowl. There are a few ways of making the marinade, you can use either fresh or tinned mangoes, or mango chutney. The quantities may vary depending on how sweet you like the result, but half a fresh mango, 2 tablespoons of mango chutney or half a tin of mangoes should be enough for one chicken. Then you will need the juice of 2-3 limes. If using fresh or tinned mangoes, chop them into small pieces and mash them a little with a fork. Start by adding the juice of a lime and taste it. If it tastes sweet, add the juice of another lime. It seems to sweeten up a bit during the marinating process so err on the side of slightly sour rather than slightly sweet. Now add a pinch of salt to the marinade and spread it over the chicken pieces. Cover the bowl with cling film and place it in the fridge, turn the pieces regularly – if you are marinating them for a few days, turn them twice a day to make sure they get a good coating.

On the day you are cooking, set the oven to 180 deg C. Take enough potatoes for your guests – I allow a large potato each and cut your potatoes into chip sized pieces. You can do wedges if you prefer. I leave the skin on because it tastes nice and I can’t be bothered to peel them. Toss the potatoes in a little olive oil and bake them in a baking tray – they will take around 40 – 50 minutes and the chicken will take about 40 minutes, so put the spuds in first, then after 10 minutes put the chicken in. I put my chicken and chips in trays lined with baking parchment or foil to save on washing up. Make sure that the chicken is nicely coated with the marinade.

If using spray oil for your chips – a word of caution – don’t spray it on your best non-stick pans. The aerosol in spray oil damages the Teflon coating. I found this out to my cost when I used it on two of my beautiful Circulon fry pans.

You can also use sweet potatoes, but they will not take as long as regular potatoes, so put them in at the same time as the chicken and cut them into large chips.

While the cooking is happening, make the chip salt by mixing the following:

1 tablespoon of onion powder (I ground up some dried onion flakes) do not use onion salt it is too salty

1 tablespoon of smoked paprika

1 teaspoon of ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon of cumin

1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon chilli depending on your spice tolerance

1/4 teaspoon of allspice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Mix the spices together – you can double up these quantities if you have a lot of chips.

When the chips are done sprinkle them with the spice mixture.

Serve the chicken and chips with buttered sweetcorn and peas.

How to make a terrine

I had a party this weekend and decided to make terrine for the food table. I thought it would be difficult and take ages, but it was surprisingly easy and it turned out really well.

Pork and chicken terrine

Pork and chicken terrine

I discovered that you can really make it up as you go along, you can use pretty much whichever meats you like, and you can also add herbs that you like. If I were to make this again I might add some vegetables to it for a change of texture.

I made the terrine from the recipe on the BBC Good Food page but adapted it by adding chicken. I found that the quantities were enough to make one full sized terrine and one smaller one. I used standard loaf tins to make it.

You need

300g pork tenderloin

2 medium sized chicken breasts

2 packs of sausages or an equivalent amount of sausagemeat (if using sausages, remove the skins)

a bunch each of thyme, parsley and chives, finely chopped

approx 12 rashers of streaky bacon (or use long cut bacon and save the meaty part for brekkie)

a splash or two of port or brandy

100g pistachios – shelled

a bag of dried apricots (or you could use prunes or sour cherries)

1. Chop the pork tenderloin and chicken into bite sized pieces and soak in the brandy for a while – just use a few tablespoons of brandy and stir it occasionally. Add a little salt but not too much because the bacon and sausages will add salt.

2. Heat the oven to 180 deg C.

3. Lightly butter two standard loaf tins.

4. Line the tins with the streaky bacon, try not to leave any gaps. If found that my rashers were too short to wrap right around the terrine but it still worked out ok.

5. Sprinkle some of the mixed herbs on the bacon, then line the bottom with pork fillet.

6. Sprinkle with more herbs and some pistachios – you can actually use quite a few pistachios, I was a bit sparing with mine.

7. Layer some sausagemeat on top, sprinkle with herbs again, and place a line of apricots down the middle.

8. Now layer with chicken, add more herbs, and finish with another layer of sausagemeat.

9. If there are any ingredients left just tuck them in where you can – you can do another layer of apricots or pistachios if you like.

10. Wrap the bacon over the top of the terrine and squash it down firmly – I covered it with foil and pushed the foil down quite hard with my hands.

11. Wrap the loaf tins in heavy duty foil, use a few layers and wrap them tightly.

12. Half fill a roasting tray with hot water to make a bain marie, and place the loaf tins in the water. Don’t overfill the roasting tin, the water mustn’t get into the terrines. My water level was approx 2/3 the height of the tins.

13. Place the roasting tin containing the terrines into the oven and cook for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. You can test them with a skewer or a meat thermometer to see if they are done.

14. Take the terrines out of the water bath and let them cool completely. While they are cooling place a few large cans on top to weigh down the meat. This will give you a more tightly packed result.

15. Now transfer then to the fridge – still weighed down and leave overnight.

16. My terrines kept ok in the fridge for a few days before serving. When you turn them out, run a knife around the outside of the bacon, tip them over and tap the tin. The surface will be covered in a thin layer of meat jelly which is quite nice.



My favourite Vietnamese curry

Those of you who know me will know that I love a curry. This vietnamese chicken and sweet potato curry is one of my favourites – once all of the ingredients are prepared, you just chuck them in the pot and leave it to cook. Once the sweet potato is soft, it is ready to serve. It also benefits from the addition of a small amount of caramel – sweetness is very good for relieving hot raw spices, and if I am cooking a curry that tastes too hot, I will generally add a teaspoon of sugar, leave it for a few minutes and then taste again.

I got this recipe from Ghillie Basan’s Vietnamese cook book, but I have added a few tweaks of my own.


1.5 tablespoons curry powder (I use Indian Madras curry powder – if you feel really adventurous you can make your own)

1.5 tablespoons garam masala

1 tablespoon turmeric

500g chicken skinned – thighs are juicier, but I like to mix thigh and breast meat

1.5 tablespoons brown sugar (any type)

2 tablespoons sesame oil

2 shallots (or half a red onion) chopped finely

2 garlic cloves chopped or crushed

4cm galangal (if you can’t find it, use ginger), peeled and grated (it will be mushy when grated)

2 lemon grass stalks (remove the outer fibrous leaves, cut the end off to reveal the white middle, keep about 3cm intact, and make 4 long slits in the other part then bash with a mallet or flat heavy knife blade to release the flavour)

2 teaspoons chilli paste (sambal oelek – or use a large dried red chilli)

1 medium to large sweet potato, peeled and chopped

3 tablespoons fish sauce (use vietnamese nuoc mam if you can find it)

600ml coconut milk

small bunch coriander chopped

salt and pepper to taste

1. Mix the curry powder, garam masala and turmeric in a large bowl. Add the chicken and mix to coat with the dry spices.

2. Heat the sugar on a low heat with 1.5 tablespoons of water, after a while it should dissolve and turn golden. Remove from the heat.

3. Heat a large wok and add the sesame oil. Stir fry the shallots (or onion) with the garlic, galangal and lemon grass until they smell fragrant and lovely. Stir in the chilli paste.

4. Now add the chicken with all of the dry spice mix (don’t leave any behind) – stir fry for 2-3 minutes.

5. Add the coconut milk, mix well. Then add the caramel, fish sauce and sweet potato. Rinse out the caramel saucepan with 150ml water, and add it to the curry.

6. Bring to the boil and then simmer until the chicken is cooked and the sweet potato is tender.

7. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and stir in the coriander. Remove the lemon grass stalks before serving.

The Best Satay

There are many satay recipes around and it is difficult to find a really authentic one, so I have decided to share my favourite satay recipe. These skewers taste lovely, especially if you cook them on the barbecue. The recipe takes time, and you need to allow time for marinating, but the end result is well worth it.

If you are a busy person and you look at my recipe and think “blimey, I can’t do all that”, then make your way to Mr Weezee – he has two shops, one at Booragoon and one on Stirling Highway. Satay is his speciality – he supplies most of the restaurants in Perth, and you can buy chicken or beef satay either on sticks (12 sticks for $10) or as a pack of meat, fresh or frozen along with a pot of satay sauce. It is one of those things that I always keep in the freezer now for a good tasty dinner in super quick time. With the packs of meat, you just stir fry them with your favourite veggies. Here’s a tip, if you decide to make the trip to Mr Weezee on Stirling Highway, there is a wonderful cafe next door called Elixir.

Okay so here is the recipe – you will need a device to grind some ingredients to a paste. I have a Braun Multiquick, but there are plenty of other similar utensils.

Satay Recipe

1.5 Kg meat (beef or chicken work best)

Grind the following to a paste:

6 stalks of lemon grass (remove the fibrous outer layers – just use the white middles)

10 shallots or 2 red onions

4 cloves garlic

1cm galangal (use an extra cm ginger if you can’t get galangal)

1cm ginger

1.5 tablespoons turmeric

2 tablespoons caster sugar (brown if you have it)

1 teaspoon salt

Chop the meat into thin strips (you can do chunks if you prefer, but they will take longer to cook) and marinate in the paste in the refrigerator overnight. Make sure you mix it well so that the marinade really penetrates the meat.

Soak some bamboo skewers in water (this stops them from burning), then thread the strips of meat onto the skewers like thick ribbons.

Cook on a barbecue or under a hot grill – the timing depends on how thick your chunks of meat are, after a few minutes cut one of the pieces of meat to see how it is doing. Serve with satay sauce (see below), cucumber, onion and rice.

Satay Sauce Recipe

Grind the following ingredients to a paste:

4 stalks of lemon grass (again, discard the fibrous outer layers, just use the soft white inner core)

1 cm galangal (if you can’t find galangal just use an extra cm ginger)

1cm ginger

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

1 tablespoon chilli paste (this is usually sufficient – add more or less depending on your taste)

You also need:

4 tablespoons vegetable oil

300g toasted peanuts coarsely ground

1 cup water

a quarter of a cup of thick tamarind juice (you can buy this in jars in asian supermarkets, but if you really can’t find it use lemon juice to add sourness to the sauce)

2 tablespoons sugar

palm sugar or honey if you need it to be sweeter

salt to taste

Heat the oil in a pot and fry the paste until it smells fragrant. Add all the other ingredients and cook until thick. Taste it as you go and add more salt, sugar,and  tamarind if necessary to season to your taste.


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