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.
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.
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.
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.
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!