Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Claypot Chicken Rice Revisited - Recipe

When juggling a career together with kids and husband, cooking has become a luxury. One pot dishes and leftovers are our weekly menus, with the occasional take-out or fast food for the kids.

To keep things exciting, I either have to upgrade the one pot dishes to an extra pot or step of browning, or glorify the leftovers baking it with loads of cheese. Or sometimes with some fried crisps for the final touch.

One such busy weekend called for one of my one pot dishes. If you recall I had made this claypot chicken rice in the rice cooker previously, however I just must share with you how I added more vegetables into the dish for a complete one dish meal, a finger licking one at that!

You need:
Marinade:2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp ginger paste
salt to taste
4 pieces of whole chicken thigh.
2.5 cups rice
Water (to cook the rice)

Sautee:1 Onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
some leek, chopped
some shitake mushroom, chopped
some cooking oil
1 cinnamon stick
1 stalk of lemongrass

bak choy, chopped medium size
spring onion, chopped

Method:1) Marinate the chicken with the marinade ingredients for 1 hour or so.
2) On a lightly oiled pan, brown the chicken thighs on both sides. You do not need to cook the chicken, only get the grilled effect. Set aside.

3) Start to cook the rice in the rice cooker with slight less amount of water.
4) Sautee the ingredients in an oiled pan. Finally add the remaining amount of marinade and once it comes to a simmer turn off the heat and pour the mixture into the rice cooker and mix into the rice well.

5) Gently arrange the browned chicken onto the rice and cover the cooker to continue cooking.

6) Leave it to 'keep warm' function for at least ten minutes before adding the chopped bak choys. It is ready to eat after 5 minutes. Top it up with some chopped spring onion and serve.

Serve it with some fish crackers, it is an awesome wholesome meal!

It works alright to use chopped chicken pieces. Also you could choose to skip the browning and sauteeing vegetables and dump everything right into the rice cooker. This was a slightly glorified version I made as I had some extra time, and needed the extra fragrance all over the house.

I had a good amount of leftover rice from this and guess what, because of the chicken flavours and vegetables in it, it was perfect for dinner the next day with a glorified version of omelette!

Happy cooking to me and to you!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Slow Cooker Spiced Chicken Recipe

There is a new revolution going on, have you heard? In the culinary or rather shopping for culinary area. Yes, people are rushing to catch the best deals on the latest best kitchen device, that is the pressure cooker. It cooks fast, and super delicious, as I have heard from the raves everywhere. And nowadays with online shops like Lazada, it is not impossible to get the best deals anytime, especially during this festive season.

While the others are moving towards fast cooking pressure cookers, I am slowing my cooking down, and heading for a slow cooker. Often I got asked, why not buy a pressure cooker? And I am like, I need the food to be ready once I am home from work. It has the whole day to cook, hence the slow cooker.

And, oh, did i mention? I have started working for a software development organization. In the meantime, I am still a full time slave to the boys at home. Due to that, I have managed to find a solution for us to be able to have home cooked meals at least 2 or 3 times a week.

Here I present you the menu for this week. Spiced chicken with Chinese cabbage and oyster mushroom. It has the protein, the vegetables, and sufficient amount of spices for the goodness of it all! Fair amount of gravy, thick and flavourful, that my boys love, to be eaten with fragrant rice cooked with a tablespoon of virgin coconut oil.

One thing with the slow cooker, once you step into your house, you are greeted with lovely aroma of the stew dish that you have been slow cooking the whole day. Don't let the ugly picture deceive you, it has no indication of the taste whatsoever.

The recipe is very simple. You simply need to prepare vegetables and gather your seasonings and dump everything into the slow cooker and let it cook away.

You need:
1kg chicken, cut medium side
Chinese cabbage and oyster mushroom, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 tbsp miso paste
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
some fish sauce
salt to taste 
Seasonings to blend1 potato
1 carrot
1 star anise
a few cloves and cardamom
5 cloves of garlic
some black peppercorns
some ginger
1 onion 
Method:1) Blend the seasoning ingredients till fine.
2) Spread the vegetables in the base of the slow cooker. Top it up with the chicken.
3) POur in the seasonings and the blended seasonings next. Give it a quick stir.
4) Cook on slow cooker for 4 hours.

The slow cooker can be set to cook at low, high or auto. I bought a socket timer to control the amount of time the food is cooked, for safety and also to make sure the meat is not overcooked. As I go on I am picking up a few tricks and best practices in using the slow cooker. Surely I would share once I have got my hands and slow cooker dirty!

The final result is tender and falling off the bones chicken meat. The leftover chicken has been useful too as I got the meat shredded  and brought in to office for lunch with some tortilla wraps and leftover salad!

And in the meantime, I will remain faithful to my old Indian-made-lugged-all-the-way-from-India Prestige pressure cooker which has been serving me well for the past 5 years, never failing me with yummylicious dhal everytime.

Till then, slow cooking away!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Aloo Paratha / Potato Stuffed Paratha Recipe

In Malaysian weather, to cook in a non air-conditioned kitchen is a total perspiring experience. And if you include food that require individual rolling and grilling such as capatis, then it becomes a total sauna experience. You come out totally wet with sweat, and later taste the salt of your own sweat (literal translation from a Hindi saying), otherwise you pretty much taste the goodness of the capatis at the end of the sauna.

While aloo parathas are my total favourite and most comfort food, I have always avoided making it, leaving the complicated steps to my expert mummy. It is really impossible to cook up all the other side dishes while also making aloo parathas when you have two young toddlers who are happily playing one moment and fighting the other moment.

So when I had some leftover dhal and vegetables from the day before, I thought what perfect platform to give a try on making the aloo parathas. After gathering info from my mom I was all set to work on it! Here's sharing the recipe.

You Need:
(Yields 12 aloo parathas)

The dough
5 cups of atta flour
1 cup of all purpose flour
1 cup yogurt
2 cups of water, add more if needed
some butter

The filling
3 potatoes, peeled and boiled
1 small onion, chopped fine
3 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
2 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves
1 green chilli, deseeded and chopped fine
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
some paneer, thawed and broken into small pieces
salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup atta for rolling
some butter for cooking

1) Mash the boiled potatoes and mix all the filling ingredients together. Keep aside.

2) Mix the dough, and knead dough for two minutes on a lightly greased surface to make the dough soft, smooth and pliable.
3) Divide the dough into 12 equal parts.
4) Take a dough and using your hand press it into a 3 inch circle. Place1 tbsp of filling into it and pull the edges of the dough to wrap it and roll into a ball.
5) Press the filled ball lightly on dry atta flour from both sides.
6) In the meantime heat an iron pan or any shallow pan.
7) Roll the filled dough into a 6 inch circle. If the dough sticks to the rolling pin or rolling surface, lightly dust some dry atta.

8) Cook on the pan till both sides brown. Lather generous amounts of butter on both sides for the pleasant browning.
9) Serve hot with yogurt and coriander chutney.

The parathas were awesome and I even had balance that I can freeze and eat on another day. Nothing beats taking comfort out of the fridge!

Here is my kids' version of Transformers: Age of Extinction. I would rather not talk much about the movie except that we brought the toys in just like this!


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