Asian Dishes, Poultry, Rice

Saffron Rice with Za’atar Chicken

Today’s simple dinner was inspired by sheer inertia. After staying home for several days cooking daily, I decided to create something simple yet delicious.

Saffron rice is really simple to make. This time round I used butter from an Indian store here. The butter is imported from India and it’s got a very strong flavour. Not good on bread or western type of cooking but for this rice, because it reminded me of ghee, I thought it made the rice more flavourful.

This is the brand of butter. I’ll never buy this again when this butter runs out because it’s just too strong for my daily use.

Add about 50g of butter together with a few swirls of olive oil into a saucepan. Add half a white onion finely chopped and a stick of cinnamon. Over low fire, cook the onions till very soft and translucent.
In a separate small bowl, add a pinch of saffron to some milk. In the saucepan with the softened onions now, add about 500 ml
of chicken stock (I used boxed ones) and two teaspoons of salt. Add the saffron milk mixture and stir well. Pour the liquid into two cups of washed basmati rice that have been sitting in a rice cooker. Close the rice cooker lid and press the ‘cook’ button. We Asians cannot live without a rice cooker! Hassle free staple every day!

For the za’atar chicken, marinade a small whole chicken with two tablespoons of za’atar spice blend, one whole lemon juice, salt and olive oil. Before roasting in the oven, marinade the chicken for a few hours.

And voila! The rice turned out perfect! It was flavourful and the chicken was tasty and juicy and crispy all at the same time.
I served this with a side of mesclun greens and a bowl of coriander, tomato, green chilli and lemon juice chutney made from scratch. Just blend one fresh tomato (roast them over a flame or in a pan first), two green chillies (depending on how hot you like), a bunch of coriander and one whole lemon juice. Season with some salt.

Asian Dishes, Poultry

Easy Everyday Fried Chicken

This is a very common way to marinade chicken or even fish at home or hawker stalls. It’s quick and tasty and the fried chicken or fish will taste good even on its own without rice.

Simply add powdered turmeric and salt to the protein of choice and voila. That’s it. In Malay it’s simply called ‘garam kunyit’ – garam meaning salt and kunyit means turmeric.

But to make it crunchier, add a bit of corn flour. And for spicier, a little bit of hot chilli powder or cayenne.

It’s a staple in Malay homes with children because that’s all there is to it for these little kids’ lunch. Rice and fried chicken or fish. And that’ll keep them full after they come back from school. Be careful though not to add too much of turmeric powder. When I first got married and started cooking, I added too much and the smell of turmeric was overwhelming. About one or two tablespoons, depending on the amount of chicken you have will suffice.

Try it. It’ll be a new spin to KFC like chicken at home.

Poultry

Hainanese Chicken Chop

This is a western style chicken chop dish originated from Malaya. The story went as usual when it came to colonist foods. A British man wanted a taste of home and the cooks, many of them Hainanese, would make this version for their colonial masters.

I made my version because I had frozen deboned chicken thighs and a packet of frozen peas. After browsing other recipes and blog sites, I made my version based on the family’s preference. I mean, that’s what cooking is all about right? To be creative and inventive and cook things your family will like.

So anyway, the first part is to marinade the chicken with salt and give spice powder. Then immerse the thighs in soy sauce, sesame oil, oyster sauce, pepper and sugar. By right, remove the skin. But I wanted the skin on for some reason.

The breading. Plain flour, egg and Pablo bread crumbs.

The sauce. In a pan, sauté onions. Then I used chicken stock. And added a heaped teaspoon of wholegrain mustard. Season with salt and a tinge of sugar. Added four packets of tomato ketchup (leftover ketchup packets from fast food joints) and a packet of chilli sauce. To thicken the sauce, the cornflour slurry technique. And voila! They loved the sauce.

To assemble, place crispy chicken thigh on a plate then spoon over the onion sauce. Serve with homemade potato wedges and a side of boiled green peas.

And there you have it. A relic from the colonial past and carried on today in some coffeeshops. I hear, mostly in the northern parts of Malaysia where this dish is still popular.

Marinade the chicken well for a few hours

Make the onion sauce

Once sauce is done, set it aside for use later

Set up the breading station for frying. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention after frying in a shallow oiled pan, I made it crispier by putting the cooked chicken in the air fryer for a few minutes

Asian Dishes, Poultry, Soups

Herbal Chicken in a Thermo Pot

I used to watch over my pot boiling for hours this chicken soup dish but with the thermo pot it’s so simple!

The family loves Chinese herbal chicken soup and thankfully shops sell plenty of the ready made herbal ingredients.

To make this dish, it is really about buying, and then throwing all in and wait it out. I love it!

The above are some of the root ingredients that come in the packet. With it are also a small packet of goji berries. I added some red dates which I kept in the fridge in the mix too.

My thermal pot is a small one but it’s enough for the four of us and even for leftovers the next day! I only added three large pieces of chicken meat to it.

Boil furiously for ten minutes or more then cover in the thermal pot.

Since it’s fasting month, it was a perfect dish to keep.

The taste is sublime! So chickeny and herbally! I served it with rice, and fried broccoli with beef, omelette and plenty of fresh coriander.

food, Places, Poultry

Best Fried Chicken Ever

So right in front of the hotel entrance by the side of the road, we chanced upon a Muslim lady selling fried chicken on Saturday. We then realised the reason we couldn’t find a single halal place in Phuket was that they close on Fridays! So yesterday we saw the couple early morning but by the time we arrived back in the evening they were no longer there.

So this morning I walked over (it took only 1 min walk!) and smelled the wonderful aroma of greasy fried chicken. And I had the pleasure to see the husband seller pour the pink liquid batter into the frying vat for that crispy crunch. I chose my parts and then she weighed and voila! Soon we were enjoying such flavourful aromatic Thai fried chicken. But i went a second time and they gave me free chicken skin! Lol. Yummey!