How I wish Saturday has more than 24 hours!

With a full 5 workday-week, Saturday is considered my least demanding day of the week. It’s the ONLY day of the week when I could dilly-dally a wee bit more and do some shopping, as shops are closed on a Sunday whilst Monday through Friday are just out of the question *sigh*

With Saturday being my no-pressure day, I often opt to prepare hassle-free meals. Nope, no instant meals BUT meals cooked from scratch with fresh and/or frozen-fresh ingredients!

Oh, by the way, here’s one I made last Saturday. It was deliriously yummy!
  
Shining Bright like a Parcel …

En papillote. That’s French meaning “in parchment”. This is one of my favourite methods of cooking a QUICK meal – simple, fast and fresh! As you can tell, I’m so venturing into shortcuts and time-saving beelines. LOL!

A parchment paper is typically used for this method of cooking. Other alternatives are using aluminium foil or paper bag. Since I ran out of parchment paper, I resorted to using aluminium foil. Yup, the bright and shiny roll of ‘”metallic paper” :-)

Here’s how I made my Bright and Shiny Parcel in less than 1 hour, from prepping to serving. This is one of my favourite executions. So easy that I’m almost ashamed to have this post published *blush*

Ingredients

(Serves 4)

  • 4 pieces frozen salmon (thawing not necessary)
  • 1 big red onion, sliced thinly
  • 4 cm root ginger, sliced thinly
  • 4 stalks spring onions, washed and cut in 4 cm length
  • 1 medium-sized carrot, julienned
  • 2 stalks lemon grass, cut on the bias and not too thin
  • Chives

Seasoning ingredients

  • Shaoxing wine, or any type of white wine (if not using, use water)
  • Sesame oil
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Freshly milled black pepper
  • A pinch of fish stock cube

Garnishing

  • Cherry tomatoes
  • 1 lemon, quartered

Direction

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200 deg C
  2. Cut 4 big sheets of heavy-duty aluminium foil and then another 2 sheets. Cut the 2 sheets in half and place each half on the centre of each big sheet of foil
  3. On each foil, assemble the bottom layer with onion, ginger, spring onion, carrot and lemon grass, leaving some for the top layer towards the end. Sprinkle some salt and pepper
  4. Place the salmon on the bed of herbs and continue laying the top layer with the leftover onion, ginger, spring onion, carrot and lemon grass. Finally top it off with some chives , freshly milled black pepper and a pinch of fish stock cube
  5. Start folding the aluminium foil the way you feel would secure the fish in while baking the parcel in the oven. Before the foil is completely sealed, add some liquid, ie wine or water and drizzles of sesame oil
  6. Bake for 32 to 38 minutes (Note: timing depends very much on the type of oven you own)
  7. Done!

   
    

I know, I know… Don’t use aluminium foil to store foods that are high in acids! That’s the reason why I included the lemon wedge and cherry tomatoes right after the salmon’s done and out of the oven and right before serving ;-)

Yums!

   
  

Useful notes:  

  1. It is best to consume the baked salmon the day it is served in the foil – fresh! If kept too long in the foil (eg refrigerated for a few days), small amounts of aluminium may migrate into the food, creating a metallic taste in the food. They are said to be not harmful, but are certainly not appetizing. I never have this problem (touch wood), because I tend to prepare the right amount of parcels for each serving. They never last after one sitting :-D
  2. I used frozen salmon which took a longer baking time. If fresh salmon is used, the baking time is definitely not 32 – 38 minutes. To test for doneness, insert a metal skewer or fork into the salmon. It is done as it begins to flake. Always check for doneness at the minimum baking time.

As Chives were one of the ingredients used in this simple yet delectable dish, I’m joining in the May’s Linky Party for Cooking with Herbs over at Lavender & Lovage’s Wild Garlic and Chives” theme.

I’m also linking this post to #CookBlogShare 15 which is guest-hosted by Angela from Patisserie Makes Perfect this fortnight on behalf of Lucy from Supergolden Bakes.

  

Life is too short to waste too much time on one big thing, when you can do wonders with many little things!

Carpe Diem!

Happy mid-week!

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  
Be warned!

This cake is seriously meant for a very busy someone who craves for something adjustibly sweet, fresh, fast, tasty, home-baked and more importantly, if that someone is in possession of some blackened bananas lying in the kitchen somewhere.  My advice is “Do NOT thrash the bananas!”

That’s exactly what happened to me recently.  With the warmer temps of late, fruits lying in my kitchen untouched, started to scream out to me.  

Eat me, or else…!

Yep… That’s exactly what my 3 bananas reacted. The smooth yellow peels turned almost black!  

  

See, I’m not as attractive now, but I’m definitely sweeter than my yellow alter ego“.  LOL!

Easy Peasy

While I was making this cake, my mind flashed back to a recent weekend when I had some friends over for lunch at my house. After hearing their feedbacks on how little time they could spare in their kitchen, running after toddlers and literally getting involved with the busy extra-curricular activities of their young kids, I could swear that this cake is made for that category of Mums *wink*

By the way, I have passed the stage of running after hyper-active toddlers and being a chauffeur for very young kids , but I AM still a busy Mum to 2 quite demanding teen-aged boys, working full time every work week through weekend. Damn, I needed that occasional treat of sweetness, adjustable sweetness, that is! Energy!

I was so glad I chanced upon this Banana Cake or Bread recipe from Joy of Baking dot com.  

If you like bananas and Banana Cake like me, this recipe is definitely a keeper! I promise! Scout’s honour!

Recipe inspired by Stephanie Jaworski of JoyOfBaking.com
Dry Ingredients –
  • 230g self-raising flour, sifted
  • 150g granulated white sugar (adjustable, of course)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  
Wet Ingredients –
  • 113g unsalted butter, melted and cooled 
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

  

 Method – 
  1. Pre-heat oven to 177 deg C.
  2. Grease spray a 24 x 10 x 7 cm loaf pan. Set aside
  3. In a large bowl, whisk to combine the dry ingredients. Set aside.
  4. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the wet ingredients with a whisk and then a rubber spatula.
  5. Lightly fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Do not over mix the batter as we do not want to end up with tough rubbery bread/ cake.
  6. Pour batter in baking pan. Depending on your oven, bake the bread for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. 
  7. Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes before cooling it further on a wire rack. 
  
  
  
Joy of Baking added chopped nuts, but I left the cake as simple and naked as ever. Less is more 😉

Honestly speaking, there are 3 things I LOVED about this cake.
  1. It’s technically hassle-free, ie, with no stand or hand mixer required. Only a whisk and a rubber spatula.
  2. The batter is lightly mixed, which cuts down laborious hours in the kitchen.
  3. I know this is one of the cakes I have made that my guys would enjoy eating, meaning I would not end up eating the cake myself and feeling guilty of being paunchy. In simple words, I hate food wastage😄

Conclusion : It’s fast and simple to make! It took me less than 15 mins to weigh, sift,  mash, whisk and mix the ingredients to a cake batter, while the baking time depends on your oven. Honestly speaking, the cake would be just right baked for 45 minutes in my oven. I baked this one for 50 mins, while the original recipe indicated 55 to 60 mins. 

  

I’m linking this post to #CookBlogShare 15 which is guest-hosted by Angela from Patisserie Makes Perfect this fortnight on behalf of Lucy from Supergolden Bakes.
  
I love bananas and Banana Cake is definitely one of my favourite desserts. It’s flavourful, healthy and incredibly simple to make, hence I’m linking this post to Best Recipes for Everyone May 2015 (My Favourite Dessert) organised by Fion of XuanHom’s Mom Kitchen Diary , co-hosted by Aunty Young ==>> WITHDRAWN.  See N.B

Enjoy the rest of the week!
Cheers!

N.B. I must apologise to the organisers of BRFE for the month of May 2015 for linking up this post. For obvious reason, a Banana Cake is sort of a sponge cake, hence is one of the restricted forms of dessert for the May theme. I must have overlooked that point. No thanks for being myopic 😁. My sincere apology, Aunty Young. I’ll read more carefully the next time…

 

  

I love the look of this cake. It reminded me of a beautiful cake I once ate, made by an ex-colleague of Russian origin.  It was her birthday and she treated us with 2 types of cakes.  Strange but true, I could not remember what the other cake was, maybe because the lemon and poppy seed cake was uncommonly found in the bakeries in Belgium while the other one was too common? It has been 7 years since and the poppy seed cake remained steadfast in my head.  Unfortunately, I never got round to getting the recipe from my ex-colleague :-(

 

Great Substitute

 

I was searching the net for the recipe that once brought a smile to my face. Surprisingly, there are LOADS!!!  So, it’s not so common, after all :-)

Poppy seeds are relatively expensive and their association with opium does not make it a flattering choice of ingredient to use as direct consumption.  Instead, I found a better substitute and it’s healthier and a lot cheaper!  And not only that, I found the perfect recipe, thanks to Nicole Weston of Baking Bites.


Baking Bites opted to use chia seeds over poppy seeds and I thought that was a PER-FECT substitute, by the way!  I have a plastic tub of 500g chia seeds in my kitchen pantry, which I normally used to sprinkle on my yoghurt, salads and soups.  They are tasteless but are said to be rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and are also high in fibre, protein and other nutrients.  In other words, chia seeds are packed with nutrional benefits, which I’m always opened to, id est, a supplement in its natural form.

  

 

 

Ingredients –

Adapted from Baking Bites.com

(Note: the measuring cups used in this recipe are the US measuring cups)


1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (I used ANCO self-raising flour)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature (or ca 113g)
1 cup sugar (I used granulated sugar)
2 large eggs (I used 3 small eggs)
1 Tbsp lemon zest (of 1 lemon)
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (of 1 lemon)
1 cup plain, greek-style yoghurt (I used 2 tubs of 125g each)
2 Tbsp chia seeds

   

 

 

Method-

  1. Preheat oven to 350F (177C or ca 180C). Lightly grease a round cake pan and line the base with parchment paper (I used a 20cm diameter baking tin)
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, followed by lemon zest and lemon juice.
  4. Stir half of the flour mixture into the lemon mixture, followed by the yoghurt and chia seeds. Stir in remaining flour mixture, stirring just until no streaks of dry ingredients remain and seeds are well-distributed throughout the cake.
  5. Pour batter into cake pan and spread into an even layer.
  6. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the cake springs back when lightly pressed. (Note: the length of baking time depends on the type of oven you own. At 45 minutes, my cake was not set completely. I lengthened the baking time to another 5 minutes which turned out perfect)
  7. Allow cake to cool for about 15 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack and peel off the parchment paper, then reinvert the cake on the wire rack to cool completely.

Nicole Weston recommended dusting the cake with icing sugar.  I’m totally impressed with the result!

Simple but absolutely gorgeous. YUMS!   

 

  

  

 

Verdict: The usage of yoghurt as part of the cake ingredients, moistened the cake beautifully.  The tartness from the lemon cuts through an otherwise overly sweet cake. Yoghurt and lemon go so well together and the chia seeds made a most wonderful substitute to poppy seeds.  I loved the little black spots. It made a mundane-looking lemon cake into something more eye-catching ;-)

 

Please give this recipe a try. For all I know, it’s a keeper! 


This post is linked to the event Little Thumbs Up (May 2015: YOGURT or YOGHURT) organised by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen of my little favourite DIY, and hosted by Cheryl of Baking Taitai

  

I am also submitting this post to Homemade Mondays Week 131 hosted by Sarah of Frugal by Choice, Cheap by NecessityAubrey of Homegrown & Healthy and Kelly from The Sustainable Couple

 

Have a great week !

Cheers!

Two months ago, we had a small CNY pot-luck reunion with some closed friends.  The pot-luck was decided at the eleventh hour as we had planned to dine at a restaurant, hoping for a larger turnout. Since most of the invited friends had scheduled prior appointments with their families and friends for separate reunions, the planned quorum dwindled further. 

 

Then one of the girls suggested meeting up for a simple pot-luck reunion at her house. The rest of us were thrilled because the lady-of-the-house is a fantastic cook and I kid you not! Not only that, she is a Jane of all trades and ‘master’ of all, which completely defies the figure of speech, “Jack of all trades, master of none.” 

  

 

As you  can see from the photo collage, we were well fed with simple, purely homemade yet fantastically delicious dishes!  The lady-of-the-house made the absolutely delicious Yee Sang (Prosperity Toss) and tasty Pan Mee (with noodles she made from scratch!).  She also baked a flawless pandan chiffon cake, almond/ cashew cookies, chocolate mousse and kueh sepit (not in photo).  I brought my signature dish, Ngo Hiang.  My friends, X, brought a meringue cake and C brought a bowl of minced mix ingredients and a packet of frozen gyoza wrappers or gyoza skins.

 

It was the last item that ‘pushed’ me to write this post. Thanks, C for “reminding” me ;-)

 

By the way, it was a good thing that C did not bring pre-wrapped gyoza‘s.  That way, we all had the opportunity to learn first hand crimping of the gyoza’s from … who else? The lady-of-the-house herself!

  

 

Not the First and Definitely not the Last

 

This was not the first time I have cooked a dish that turned out into something else quite differently but completely edible, like so …

  

 

Making yaki gyoza or guo tie or wo tieh or potstickers has been at the back of my mind for a long, long time. The origin of this dish is Chinese. In China, they are called jiaozi.  The Japanese word gyōza indicates that the word is of non-Japanese origin and was derived from the Shandong Chinese dialect giaozi. There’s 2-in-1-method of cooking gyoza. First they are shallow fried with a small amount of sesame oil in a hot pan or wok until  brown crusts appear on the flat base, and then a small amount of water (or cornstarch mixture) is poured over the dumplings, with the pan or wok covered. The liquid helps to steam the dumplings, creating a texture contrast of the thin crispy bottom and soft and juicy upper part, typical of Chinese cuisine.

 

Why I chose to use the word gyoza is because the ingredients I used as filling were more Japanese than Chinese.  I’m also referring to them as  potstickers, because it’s an English word and a lot easier to pronounce.  Anyway, “pot stick” is the literal translation from the Chinese word guōtiē.

 

Grievous Mistake 

 

I have made a calamitous error when purchasing the gyoza skins or wrappers. I knew the wrappers should be round and not square.  The square ones are used for making Wonton. Without reading the label, I placed the round dumpling wrappers in my shopping basket.  I was a happy bunny that day. 


Finally


I’m gonna make potstickers!! Yay!  


My sons were looking forward to the tasty finger food.  They were thrilled and couldn’t wait for the end result!

 

BUT wait a sec … there’s a difference in the thickness of the wrappers! Gyoza skins are generally thicker than the delicate wonton skins, hence, making them more suitable for frying.  It was a shame I bought the thinner and delicate dumpling skins used for wrapping sio bee or siu mai (popularly served at dim sum restaurants).

  

 

Hmmmm….. I had already marinated a bowl of minced filling for the gyoza.  There was no turning back.  The show must go on!

 

Splashing Plan B !

 

With the flopped original plan of making gyoza or potstickers, I told my clearly disappointed looking boys that there was not going to be any dry finger-food-type gyoza but a wet and soupy dumpling soup! If only you had seen their faces and heard their remarks …

 

I told myself that if the Potstickers won’t stick then I had to transform the dish into something equally appetising, hence, Plan B was put into action :-)

 

Yup, a splashing runny dumpling soup!

   

 

Ingredients –

  • 300g minced chicken
  • Napa cabbage, thinly shredded
  • 1/2 Leek, finely diced (or 2-3 spring onions)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cm Ginger, finely grated
  • 1/2 Carrot, grated
  • 5 cm Daikon, grated
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp sushi and sashimi soy sauce
  • 2 tsp Thai spicy fish powder ( in lieu of bonito powder)
  • 1 Tbsp Shaoxing wine ( in lieu of mirin)
  • 1 Tbsp corn flour
  • Freshly milled white pepper
  • Salt, to taste

1 packet (250g) Round dumpling skins

For the broth

  • 1 big carrot, washed and cut in very thin rounds
  • 2 stalks celery, washed and remove stringy outer layer
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, bruised
  • 3 cm ginger, bruised
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 red chilli (optional)
  • Sesame oil
  • Shaoxing wine
  • Dried Coriander (I did not have fresh coriander that day)
  • 1/2 a chicken stock cube
  • Coarse Sea Salt to taste 
  • Freshly milled white pepper to taste 
  • 1.7L Water, boiled in electric kettle
  • Water, boiled for cooking the dumplings 

Method

  1. Mix all the ingredients together and refrigerate for at least one hour 
  2. Remove the minced mix at least 15 to 30 mins before starting to wrap the dumplings
  3. In a soup pot, throw in the cut carrots, celery, 2 cloves garlic, ginger, lemongrass, coriander and chilli. Pour in the boiling water into the pot.  At this point, you can smell the fragrance and aroma of the herbs and vegetables whiffing past your nostrils
  4. Season the broth with sesame oil, Shaoxing wine, salt and white pepper
  5. Cook the broth further until boiled 
  6. In another pot, boil enough water to cook the dumplings per serving. Note: this water is NOT the broth for consumption, but just to cook through the dumplings separately.
  7. Ready to serve.  Place 8 to 10 pieces of dumplings in the hot water. The dumplings are cooked when they start floating to the surface. Scoop the dumplings, removing as much water as possible to a serving bowl. Then scoop the broth picking up some carrots, celery, chillies and coriander and transfer to the serving bowl.

Et voila!

 

Verdict: Without a word said, my boys slurped their bowls of  dumpling soup clean. I think that’s translated as “Thumbs UP” :-)

Be warned, though, of the spicy filling (spicy fish powder) and the extra chilli in the broth. The extra garlicky flavour differentiates the Gyoza soup with a twist from the milder wonton soup. I will definitely make these again ;-)

I’m linking this post to Little Thumbs Up April event “CHICKEN“, organised by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen of my little favourite DIY, and hosted by Diana from Domestic Goddess Wannabe 

 



Have a great weekend!

Cheers!

I first ate this dish in one of our frequent summer breaks to the Provence (South-East France).  My family loves garlic, hence, a dish called “poulet à l’ail” (garlic chicken) on the menu card would not shrug us off in any way, however, we learnt that it was not just another garlic chicken dish.  We were stunned when the waiter told us “Beaucoup d’ail sont allés dans ce plat de poulet” or lots of garlic went into this chicken (dish). Then I recalled of the renowned recipe called “Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic“.  The waiter just winked back at me.

 

Damn, it was brilliant! And I am not kidding.

 

Reliving Provence in Belgium ?

 

I tried to find the origin of the dish. It’s rather obscure, if you ask me.  I double checked with a French colleague who hailed from Marseille and he confirmed the method of cooking the chicken is very Provençal, id est with the fresh herbs, generous amount of garlic, cooking wine and the slow oven-roasting technique by using the extra-heavy cast iron casserole dish or “French oven” or “Dutch oven”.

 

On the other hand, this same dish is ubiquitous to the French-speaking Canadian of Québec while the Americans know this garlicky chicken dish from The Stinking Rose restaurant in San Francisco. The resto has a catchy motto which goes like this, “We Season Our Garlic With Food“. Cool!

 

Wherever the origin of the dish may have come from, I have a gut feeling that it’s a Medieval dish.  Just visualise the poultry cooked in lots and lots of garlic and herbs in a heavy cast iron cauldron suspended above hot charcoals or open fire.  Erm… to shoo away the vampires, perhaps? Ha ha …

 

40 cloves of garlic sounds dangerously lethal, but trust me the slow-cooking mellows the pungent smell of the once raw garlic taste into something very sweet, creamy and buttery-mild paste. This is a very rustic dish, a comfort dish that can be consumed all-year round with the family sitting together at the dining table.

 

And here’s my creation of  THE One Chicken and 40 Cloves of Garlic!

 

  

 

 

There are several ways of preparing this dish.  I’ve experimented and fiddled my way through the many occasions I have cooked this “garlicky” chicken and I found the one I made with the herb-spice-butter mix rub the best.  There’s no need to brown or sear the meat prior to baking it.  The chicken will brown nicely once placed in a pre-heated oven at 230 – 250 deg Celsius for the first 30 minutes or so, uncovered and then slow-roasting the chicken for another hour at 160 deg Celsius, covered. Then again the temperature of the oven depends on the type of oven you own.

 

By the way, the authentic way of cooking this dish is using an earthenware pot, with its lid sealed with a a paste made of flour and water to retain the moisture. The chicken becomes juicy and beautifully tender during the slow cooking in the oven.  I don’t have an earthenware dish, but an enameled cast iron casserole dish (similar to Le Creuset but of a humbler brand)


The original recipe was based on a French cookbook which was at my disposal (for reading and trying out the Provençal cuisine) during one of our summer trips to the Provence.  The cookbook was tucked neatly on the kitchen shelf in our rented cottage.  By the way, all the recipes were in French. I could not recall the title of the cookbook because I was trying to memorise the ingredients of the “poulet aux 40 gousses d’ail”. 


Fortunately, the ingredients used were simple to find and the cooking method was quite straightforward. 


Ingredients –

 

  • 1 whole chicken ( I used Val Dieu chicken, 1.7 kg)
  • A bunch of fresh rosemary (yes FRESH, please!)
  • A bunch of fresh thyme (there you go, FRESH again! )
  • 3 whole knobs of garlic (circa 40 cloves)
  • 1 drinking glass White wine plus 2 Tbsp (I used blends of Semillon and Chardonnay. Note:  this is optional. You may use chicken broth or just water) 

Herb-Spice-Butter Mix  (own method)

  • 40g cold butter
  • Fleur de sel (I strongly recommend to use this salt instead of the common table salt. I bought this moist hand-harvested sea salt in Camargue Note: Fleur de sel or Flower of salt has more mineral complexity than common table salt. Another alternative is coarse sea salt )
  • Black peppercorns
  • Dried Persillade (which I bought at Saint-Rémy-de-Provence)

  

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven 
  2. Use a pestle and mortar to grind the black peppercorns, fleur de sel and Persillade before mixing them in the butter to form a herb-spice- butter mix
  3. Rub the herb-spice-butter mix all over the chicken and inside the cavity.
  4. Tuck in a third each of the fresh herbs and about 10 cloves of garlic inside the cavity of the chicken.
  5. Prepare a bed of herbs with the remaining Rosemary and Thyme and some cloves of garlic in an ovenproof dish and rest the herb-spice-butter rubbed chicken on this glorious bed.
  6. Use the rest of the garlic cloves and sprinkle them nonchalantly around the chicken
  7. Add 2 Tbsp white wine in the casserole dish
  8. Roast with the lid open between 20 – 30 minutes
  9. Lower the oven temperature and add the glass of white wine. Close the lid of the casserole dish and continue slow-roasting the chicken for 1 hour.
  10. Remove the chicken to a clean serving plate and keep it warm.
  11. What’s left in the casserole dish makes a deliciously sweet and fragrant sauce. For this, use your imagination ;-)

And that’s it!

This was probably one of the tastiest chicken dishes I have made and not only that, it was so simple to cook.   

   


I’m linking this post to Little Thumbs Up April event “CHICKEN“, organised by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen of my little favourite DIY, and hosted by Diana from Domestic Goddess Wannabe 

 

Because I have used Rosemary, Thyme and Persillade, I’m linking this post to Lavender and Lovage’s Cooking with Herbs April Linky

 



This post is also linked to Tasty Tuesdays @ HonestMum


  



Have a wonderful weekend!


Cheers!

 

 

Either you like it or you LOVE it! I don’t think I’ve met anyone who does not like Chicken Satay, unless you’re a vegetarian or a vegan ;-)

 

This meat on skewer snack makes one of the best, tastiest and fast moving pot-luck platters loved by every carnivore from 2 to 92!  Chicken or Beef Satays are popular dishes at Malay ‘kenduri‘ (feast), and open-houses during the festive seasons. This dish knows no boundaries and appears on the table of a Chinese family at Chinese New Year, a Malay/ Muslim at Hari Raya Aidil Fitri or Eid al-Fitr, a Christian at Christmas, an Indian/ Hindu at Deepavali, native Sarawakian at Hari Gawai and native Sabahan at Pesta Kaamatan (Harvest Festival). It’s a dish that unites the people of Malaysia! Satays are sold in every strata of the society from roadside hawker stall to high end hotel restaurants.

 

My husband and both my sons LOVE their skewered meat. It’s sweet, tasty and simply delicious on its own but doubly addictive, smothered with peanut sauce!  It has been a while since I made this dish and I thought of treating the guys to another feast of chicken satay *wink*

  

 

Labour of Love

 

It takes only seconds to nibble the skewered meat down one’s throat, but it takes a LOT of preparation and a LONG time waiting for the end result. I call it “labour of love”. That accounts to the infrequent investment of time in making the dish at home, especially so when I’m the one and only chef in the kitchen :-(

 

The labour begins with the chopping of the fresh herbs and spices and blend them, one for the meat marinade and another batch for the peanut sauce.  The sliced meat needs to be marinated overnight, hence, a waiting time of 12 hours or more.  The peanut sauce takes at least 2-3 hours to cook to the right taste and consistency.  It’s hard work if done alone and I’m glad I had 3 pairs of thumbs UP, otherwise, I’d go on strike. LOL!

  

 

To Bake or to Grill?

 

Authentic satays are sold, grilled over hot charcoals, dabbed with cooking oil and coconut milk using a stalk of lemongrass, bruised at the fatter end of the stalk, like a paint brush. The taste and aroma of the slightly charred meat is to die for.  

 

My first chicken satay made in Belgium were oven-baked, and the most recent ones were home-grilled using an electric Grill-teppanyaki hot plate, which I got as a gift from work. It’s so easy, but you need to make sure that the kitchen extractor is on at full blast and the windows are opened!  It can be a rather smoky affair :-)


But the result was worth it!

  

 

Main Item (for the satay) –

  • 1 kg chicken meat (I used 5 pieces chicken breasts)

Marinade ingredients-

For blending

  • 9 shallots
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 lemongrass
  • 4 candle nuts 
  • Fresh ginger
  • Fresh turmeric

Dry ingredients to be added to blended ingredients-

  • 1/2 Tbsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 Tbsp cinnamon powder
  • Brown sugar and salt, to taste

Marinade chicken overnight.

  1.     

Peanut Sauce

Ingredients

  • 400g roasted peanuts
  • Fresh ginger
  • Fresh turmeric
  • Galangal
  • 4 Lemongrass 
  • 20g dried shrimps in lieu of belacan
  • 4 candle nuts 
  • 12 dried chillies
  • 3 fresh chillies
  • 9 shallots
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, ground 
  • Tamarind paste
  • Cumin powder
  • Coriander powder
  • Brown sugar, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • Water
  • Cooking oil 

   

   

I prefer to have lots of peanuts in my peanut sauce, hence, you will notice that the end result of my peanut sauce is a lot thicker than the ones you get at  the satay stalls or restaurants in Malaysia. Well, nothing beats home-cooked food wherever you may be ;-) 

If you have an allergy for peanuts, try cashew nuts or any other nuts of your choice. I’m sure they work as well. 

!! Warning !! Please be warned when using candlenuts.  According to Wikipedia, the seeds contain saponin and phorbol, that are mildly toxic when raw.

The rule of thumb as follows-

  1. If making uncooked sambal, it is absolutely a must to toast / dry roast the candlenuts before blending them with the rest of the herbs and spices
  2. If you are making a paste which includes candlenuts as one of the ingredients, make sure to stir-fry the paste absolutely well before preparing your desired dish.

And by the way, the chicken satay freezes well too. 

I’m linking this post to Little Thumbs Up April event “CHICKEN“, organised by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen of my little favourite DIY, and hosted by Diana from Domestic Goddess Wannabe 

 


This post is also linked to HonestMum @ Tasty Tuesdays live.

 


I’m also linking this tasty chicken satay dish with its absolutely delicious peanut sauce to Lavender and Lovage’s Cooking with Herbs April Linky

 


Cheers!

I wanted one whole chicken, but hubby came back with 8 pieces of chicken breasts! 

 

I was planning to try out my new Philips Multi Cooker (PMC) by cooking the entire bird in there, after Miss B from EEWIF showed me a photo of her cooked bird in her PMC not too long ago. Hmmm… yummy! 

 

With 8 chicken breasts, it’s another story.  I definitely had to put on my thinking cap and think of Plan B. So I ended up making this in my Philips Multi Cooker😄

  

 

Just one of my Kitchen Gadgets …

 

The PMC was one of my latest additions of kitchen gadgets.  I had wanted to buy a new Rice Cooker to kinda  “replace” my 20-year old National Rice Cooker.  It’s not that my “grand dame” was not working. On the contrary.  She’s been fighting tooth and nail, winning every battle by providing us with nicely cooked rice and porridge and cakes! The new RC was thought of under the condition of “what if..”

 

I bought my PMC during the Big Sale month of January this year, by the way. Miss B already bought hers in December. It’s good to have someone giving a review for the same product. Thanks, Miss B for “pushing” me into buying this new toy.  Ha ha …

 

I’m glad the PMC came with a recipe book in 2 languages (Dutch and French).  I was turning the pages looking for a chicken recipe.  There were a few – chicken curry, chicken tagine, basque chicken, however, the one that caught my eye was chicken legs with honey and soy sauce.  I did not follow the recipe completely as there were too few ingredients used; only 4. I wanted more flavours which I’m used to in my cooking, however, what I was interested in was the method of cooking the chicken with the PMC. To me, the steps are more important than the ingredients that went in the chicken. Well, that’s just me 😜


The following are the ingredients I used a lot in my kitchen, not necessarily the same, but ingredients that are available in my kitchen pantry, hence it can be any “mystery” item😄


Main item

8 pieces chicken breast meat

Marinade ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp Sushi & Sashimi Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp runny honey (I used Borneo Wild Honey)
  • 1 Tbsp ABC Kecap Manis (dark sweet soy)
  • 1 Tbsp Shaohsing wine
  • 1 fat clove garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon grass, minced
  • 3 cm piece ginger, finely grated
  • Fresh coriander leaves and stems, finely chopped
  • Freshly-milled White pepper
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes 
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil 

 Steps

  • In a clean bowl, prepare the marinade, mixing all the ingredients together (see marinade ingredients)

  

  •  In a large bowl, coat the chicken breast meat with olive oil. 
  • Select the Bake/ Fry function. Pan-fry 3 pieces of chicken meat at a time to seal and brown lightly for 1 minute each side. Transfer to a plate.  Continue with the rest until the entire batch is done. Select the Off/Keep Warm function.

  

  • Coat the chicken meat with the marinade and immediately transfer to the cooking bowl of the PMC. Select the Slow-Cook function and pre-set the timer to 35 minutes.
  • After 35 minutes, make a cornflour mixture to thicken the gravy. Slow-cook for another 20 minutes. 
  • Garnish with torn fresh coriander leaves and white sesame seeds

  

Verdict: The chicken was tender and succulent, not dry, which I liked. I was amazed that the chicken browned really nicely with the Bake/ Fry function. The sauce turned out rather thin despite the cornflour mixture. Overall, it was a tasty chicken. 

I will cook this again, but improving as I go along😉

I’m linking this post to Little Thumbs Up April event “CHICKEN“, organised by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen of my little favourite DIY, and hosted by Diana from Domestic Goddess Wannabe 

 

This post is also linked to HonestMum @ Tasty Tuesdays live.

 

I’m also linking this special slow-cooked chicken to Lavender and Lovage’s Cooking with Herbs April Linky

 



Happy Easter everyone!

I’m glad to see the sun shining outside as I write this post😄

Have a great week!

Cheers!