Yummy simmered chicken with carrots and onions

It has been quite a while since I posted anything in this category and it is time I bring this category back to life, after it has been stalled for almost 2 years. Not that I have not been busy cooking, but rather, I have not been on a discovery journey for new recipes over the last 2 years. Too busy trying to get myself settled in my new job that I hadn’t had time to try out new recipes. One thing for sure, I’ve got myself a brand new mixer (*woohoo*). Gonna start baking too …

But first, here’s introducing a new dish which I tried out yesterday. I followed the marinate recipe from the book, but after that I reinvented the recipe by adding some other ingredients to spice up the dish a little. It’s called Simmered Chicken with Carrots and Onions. Here it goes:

Ingredients:

  1. 1/2 a chicken – chopped into pieces OR you can use 1 chicken thigh and 2 strips of chicken breast meat (serve 2) 
  2. 1 carrot stick – sliced into small bite-size pieces
  3. 1 big onion – sliced
  4. 2 cloves of garlic – diced
  5. spring onion (for garnishing)
  6. 2 cups of water
  7. 1 tsp of chicken stock (powder or concentrated sauce)
  8. 1 tbsp dark soya sauce
  9. 1 tbsp Siu Heng wine

Marinate:

  1. 1 tbsp soya sauce
  2. 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  3. 1 tbsp glutinuous rice wine
  4. 1 tsp pepper
  5. 1 tsp salt
  6. 1 tsp sugar

Methods:

  1. Mix the marinate with the chicken and leave it in the fridge to marinate for 1 hour.
  2. Heat up the wok, add in oil and saute the garlic, carrots and big onion
  3. Add in the chicken and stir fry all ingredients for about 5 minutes
  4. Add in the water and let it simmer for another 3 minutes or so
  5. Add the chicken stock.
  6. Add just a tiny bit of pepper, sugar and salt  for taste (not so much because the carrots and chicken stock are both sweet and salty already)
  7. Add dark soya sauce
  8. Let the chicken simmer for 20 – 25 minutes (covered)
  9. Once it is almost done, you can add the tapioca flour to thicken the sauce if it is too watery.
  10. Switch off the fire and splash a bit of Siu Heng wine over the chicken.
  11. Mix it nicely and serve with the garnishing.

I am sorry for I did not manage to snap a photo of the dish. Was to eager to dig into this dish that I just could not be bothered with the photos .. will snap one the next time I cook this dish …It’s simply delicious .. hubs can attest to that 🙂

Ayam Masak Merah (Malay-style Red Chicken Curry)

After so many attempts at Chinese cuisine cooking, I have decided to cook up a Malay dish which I love and miss so much from the east coast – it’s called “Ayam Masak Merah” or the Malay-style Red Chicken Curry. It’s a privilege living in Malaysia where there are abundance of food from all ethnics in Malaysia. It was also a great privilege to have lived in the east coast of Terengganu where Malays made up the majority of the composition of ethnics in Malaysia, and that’s where great Malay foods are served. I’ve been watching cook shows by local Malaysians on how to cook Ayam Masak Merah but never really got the guts into trying to cook it myself. So one fine day, I’ve decided to search for the recipe on the internet and the search for “Ayam Masak Merah” on Google, drew a 1,030,000 results @_@. Talk about variety. There are indeed many ways to cook up this dish – according to many Ayam Masak Merah enthusiasts who are quick to share their recipe on their blogs (I am one of them .. haha). Some recipes are simple to follow and some are just too complicated for my liking. So I’ve decided to mix them up and came up with my own recipe. What makes a good Ayam Masak Merah depends very much on the sauce. I’ve added the following ingredients in my first attempt of cooking this dish:

Blended ingredients

  1. 4-5 pieces of fresh red chilies
  2. 4-5 pieces of dried red chilies (soaked in hot water)
  3. One garlic clove
  4. 3 shallots
  5. 1 red onion
  6. a small piece of ginger

For the sauce

  1. Tomato sauce
  2. Chili sauce
  3. 2 stalks of lemongrass (crushed to release those aromatic smell)
  4. 1 fresh tomato
  5. 1 fresh chili
  6. sliced red onion
  7. blended ingredients (as shown above)

However, the dish did not turn out as well as I’ve hoped it will be simply because (after much analysis) I did not wait for the sauce to cook till the oil separates from the sauce and secondly, I think I needed to add star anise, cinnamon and cloves. Will try that out in my 2nd attempt of this dish. But overall, the taste was not too bad. Oh, as for the chicken, I’ve coated them with tumeric powder and salt and deep-fried them till crispy or golden brown.

Ayam Masak Merah - from MyKitch

 

Getting creative with steamboat…

My love for steamboat and the heavy influence from AFC (Asian Food Channel on Astro) has gotten me springing with excitement as I prepared a steamboat sumptuous dinner on the fourth day of the Chinese New Year for hub’s family. The fourth day of CNY poses as a special day as they celebrate the death anniversary of their beloved father, my father-in-law who passed away on the fourth day of CNY in the year 2004. So every year, the family gathers for lunch and dinner and offers prayers to their late father, thinking that he is still with them on this very special occasion. I did not think of plating up the ingredients for our steamboat dinner until the very last minute when I suddenly had this idea of reducing the number of individual plates/bowls to fill the ingredients. The sudden surge of creativity just swept through my mind as I looked upon the ingredients that are made up of different colours, sizes and shapes, and I proceeded to plating them with the large round porcelain plates I have currently in my kitchen. The ingredients were simple, nothing fancy. The soup base was even simpler with just a packet of herbs and a large piece of kampung chicken which made the soup tasted so sweet that everyone enjoyed it together with the ingredients that I had prepared. I have also added a little twist to my dishes by naming them – “The Fantabulous Twirl”, “My Lil Sunshine” and “Mushroom Patch”. It seems (psychologically) that the steamboat dinner tastes farrrrr better with a little twist to the plating of the ingredients .. hrmmm .. I wonder ….

"The Fantabulous Twirl"
"My Lil Sunshine"
"Mushroom Patch"

Blessed Chinese New Year 2012

Time flies real fast! It’s already 2012! Will the world come to an end? Nobody knows. But while it still lasts, we need to savour every moment that we have here in this world, including enjoying ourselves during the Chinese New Year (CNY). Chinese New Year to me has become more like just another public holiday … more than a festive occasion to celebration reunion with family members whom we have not kept in touch for over a year or so. It has been a pretty quiet celebration for us … only had dinner with hubs’ family and my family… other than that .. life goes on as normal. But this year, I’ve decided to take over the kitchen to cook up some scrumptuous meal for the family during CNY eve. I’ve made steamed fish, steamed herbal chicken, sweet & sour prawns and vegetables… and not forgetting, winter melon soup with bamboo shoots. Thought I relieved my mother in law for she has been cooking for the family for so many years. Time for the youngters to take over. Didn’t really do much visiting, just a couple of friends we know and hubs’ foster parents in Seremban. Overall, though it’s a pretty quiet celebration, what matters most to me is that I get to spend time with the family that God has blessed me with and to count my blessings of how God has been good to me over the past 1 year of last year. Without him, I would not be celebrating this festival with such joyous mood … thank God for everyday, everything, everyone that you have brought to my life. To those who are reading my blog, here’s wishing you guys, Happy New Year, may you have a blessed, prosperous and roaring dragon year ahead! Here are some pictures I took during the eve of CNY with the dishes I’ve cooked for the reunion dinner with hubs’ family. Enjoy!

CNY 2012 Reunion Dinner

New Year, New Recipe : Bak Kut Teh (Pork Ribs in Herbal Soup)

I am going to take a break from Battlefield of the Mind and take a moment to share my new try out – Bak Kut Teh! It has never been in my wildest dream of cooking this Malaysian delicacy, but I thought, what the heck – it’s a brand new year, time to try something new in life. A little history about Bak Kut Teh (or BKT for short) – BKT was introduced in Malaysia in the 19th century by Chinese coolies of Hokkien origin. Bak simply means “pork”, Kut means “bone” and Teh means “tea” in Hokkien. Bak Kut Teh is usually served with white rice or rice vermicelli and what goes in the pot are mushrooms, Chinese cabbage, pork ribs, pork lean meat and a whole lot of other ingredients according to individual preference. Other additional dishes that are served with a hot pot of BKT include a plate of Yau Chau Guai (or Chinese donut), Chinese tau hu, vegetables, steamed fish or chicken in rice wine. The soup base is usually cooked with a variety of herbs that include star anise, cinnamon, cloves, dang gui, fennel seeds and garlic, but it is made easier now with readily packed herbs that are sold in most Chinese herbal shops.

In my own version of BKT, I added pork bones and meat, one roasted garlic (with skin peeled off, then washed) and one packet of herbs to start off with. I wasn’t very sure how many packets should I add into the soup, but to be on the safe side, I put in one packet first. If it lacks taste, then I will add another one to supplement the rest of the ingredients. According to my mum, I have to boil the soup for at least 8 hours which is just about time for the herbs to release those wonderful fragrant smell. Once the soul is about right, I added the pork ribs and lean mean into the soup, cook them for just a little while so that they do not harden. Once the lean mean’s cook, I removed them from the soup and cut them into edible pieces. Then I added the straw and Chinese mushroom and foo chook (or dried beancurd skin) as supplementary dishes. Wa lah … there you go my home-made Bak Kut Teh … Enjoy!

My Home-Made Bak Kut Teh

Going West

Been preparing lotsa Chinese dishes .. kinda bored of it … tried something different by going West 🙂

First, I made pasta … but because I couldn’t get minced beef from the supermarket, I decided on vegetarian pasta by adding onions and button mushrooms to my preggo’s sauce … tastes as good and best part was, it filled my tummy like any ordinary beef pasta 🙂

Homemade vegetarian pasta

Then one fine evening, hubs decided on steaks and off we went to the supermarket again .. bought ourselves Australian lean beef meat and mutton shoulders .. I am no fan of mutton, therefore, I settled with the beef instead. We marinated the beef and mutton with some spices bought from the spice rack at the supermarket months ago, left it in the fridge to chill for an hour or so. I prepared the sauce using black pepper and bbq sauce mixed in a pot … in the sauce I added salt, sugar and pepper (just a touch of each of the spices) and wa lah .. it’s done!

Then I fried the vegetables (I used french beans and carrots – you may add more if you like, but we just settled with these two) with canola margarine, touch of salt and pepper … and it’s done too … doesn’t that sound simple?

Did we only have vegetables as side dishes? NAH … we bought a box of mashed potatoes from KFC .. kekeke … simple, convenient and fast. I wanted to do my own version of mashed potatoes, but hubs thought of a simpler and faster solution to our needs … get packed ones from a fast food chain … well, it is still mashed potatoes and it tastes good with our steaks … Oh, just to let you know, a meal of steak is nothing without wine / alcohol 🙂

“Cooker” Chicken Rice

A friend of mine at college taught me this method of cooking her version of a “clay pot chicken rice” … without a clay pot of course. Instead of a clay pot she uses the rice cooker to cook this dish and it tastes as good as any normal clay pot chicken rice. For ingredients, she recommends chicken (fillet or whole/half chicken chopped into edible pieces) that are marinated with sesame oil, light soya sauce, oyster sauce and tapioca flour (in my own version, I add pepper, a pinch of salt and sugar); Chinese mushrooms marinated with light soya sauce, oyster sauce and tapioca flour and deep fried Chinese sausage and dried prawns. First, she fries the rice with a touch of oyster sauce in a frying wok and later dish the half cooked rice up and put it into the rice cooker. However, instead of using oyster sauce, I prefer to fry the rice with diced garlic that is fried till golden brown for garlic gives the rice a strong aromatic taste that will spice up the entire dish. Next, she fries the chicken and mushroom together and put the half cooked ingredients into the cooker as well. Pour the right amount of water, make sure the water level goes just right above the ingredients in the cooker and set the cooker on until the ingredients are cooked. While the chicken and rice cooked together, deep fry the Chinese sausage and dried prawns until golden crisp. When the chicken and rice are cooked, pour in the fried Chinese sausage and prawns and mix them up together. Wa la, there you go … our version of “Cooker” Chicken Rice 🙂