Chicken


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I was craving adobo again recently and decided to try my hand at a new recipe. Only recently, thanks to Joey, have I discovered this popular Filipino dish, which is also their national dish.

Adobo can be prepared in numerous ways and with a large selection of ingredients and flavors. One of my favorite aspects of adobo is the addition of a little vinegar to some of the recipes early on in the preparation. This adds a great tart flavor, different from that gained from adding lime juice to some Thai dishes. A lot of the recipes also calls for cracked or fresh peppercorns, another favorite of mine.

The dish I made was a chicken and pork adobo. I strayed a little from the recipe, I marinated my meat a little first and used coconut milk instead of stock- I did not have any available when I started cooking.

So to make my version of this dish you need to find:
– 200g pork belly, cut into cubes
– 200g chicken, cut into cubes
– 2 tablespoons vinegar
– cracked pepper
– ¼ teaspoon turmeric
– 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
– ½ teaspoon salt
– 1 tablespoons fish sauce
– 2 tablespoons oil
– 1/2 cup coconut milk (or 1 cup stock)
– fresh green peppercorns

To make:

Marinated the meat in 1tablespoon oil, the turmeric and about a ¼ teaspoon cracked pepper for an hour.
When the meat is ready, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan and sauté garlic until fragrant. Add the meat and brown until golden. Add the vinegar, but do not stir until the vinegar boils and release it’s acidic odor. Add a little more cracked pepper if you like and the fish sauce. Add some green peppercorns and the coconut milk (or stock) and stew for a couple of minutes, while stirring regularly. Dish up and serve.

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I topped the adobo with some fried plantains. It made a fine accompaniment to the stew. Note that you can completely leave out the whole marinating in turmeric part, I just felt like experimenting.

Where has the time gone? We’re leaving for Hanoi on Friday and somehow it feels like there are loads of things I still have to finish before then.

One of them is to mention that I received the sweetest prize package from Joey last week and have been experimenting with some adobo recipes. Adobo is the national dish of the Philippines, and I now know why. It’s delicious. There are a myriad varieties on the dish and you can make it using almost any kind of meat or vegetables.

I made one adobo with chicken and another with fish and what was fascinating is how some of the flavors were similar to those used in Thai cooking, yet it tastes completely different. Blending coconut milk in a stew with a little vinegar and some pepper is a sure winner!

Besides Filipino dinners I also tried my hand at some dessert. I made a crazy rich and creamy rice crispy ice cream which can easily be done without using an ice-cream maker. Very simple but really tasty!

I feel I should be sharing the recipes, but I also feel like my head is spinning with everything that needs to be done in the next two days. So I’m just going to share some pictures of…

…the coconut chicken adobo…

… the fish adobo…

… and the ice-cream. It looks a bit wobbly, but it was yummy!

In other news… I’ll be posting the roundup to HHDD on Friday before leaving. Even though entries closed on Monday I will accept some late entries until tomorrow 12PM my time (GMT +7 hours). Entries should be emailed to me at bordeaux76@gmail.com.

We had a friend from work over for lunch last Sunday, and I decided to try these sandwiches I saw in a copy of Real Living I picked up recently. It’s real simple to prepare and a makes for a very satisfying and refreshing lunch.

All you need is some pesto and olive oil, grilled vegetables, some fresh greens or herbs like basil and parsley and cheese. Grill your veggies. Slice the top off the bread and hollow it out, the breadcrumbs can be saved for other cooking (like in burgers). Spread pesto and olive oil along the insides of the bread and then layer veggies, cheese, and greens inside the bread. Put back the top of the bread, wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate overnight. Slice and enjoy.

Alexander made a dragon fruit and watermelon salad to accompany the bread. Refreshing!

I made the pesto using fresh basil, garlic, cashew nuts and olive oil. Of course I made too much, so the leftovers found themselves being used up in other dinners throughout the week.

Monday I made mushroom burgers and sweet potato chips. I spread some pesto on the toasted buns. And there was a surprise in the burgers! What you do is make two thin patties and put some sauteed mushrooms on one, cover with another and seal before cooking. I am convinced that you can absolutely have your imagination run wild here.

Thursday night I made oven baked chicken and had pesto and pasta on the side. Marinade some sliced chicken breasts in a mixture of fresh lemon juice, chopped garlic, black pepper, and olive oil. Wrap this and some sliced shallots and fresh green peas in aluminum foil and cook in a preheated oven (250C) until juices run clear. Mmm succulent and flavorful chicken.

And that was pretty much my week in the kitchen.

I grabbed what was lying around in the fridge last night and tried to make something like a thom khaa kai, it translates as boiled galangal chicken and is used to describe a milder coconut-y sour soup. Mine was less soupy and more like a kind of stew, but it was still tasty, blending some lovely Thai flavors in a creamy-dreamy coconut dish.

To make my version of TKK you need to round up:

1 chicken breast- sliced

4 slices galangal

1 stalk lemon grass chopped into 1 inch pieces

4 kaffir lime leaves

1 small green chili, chopped

3 shiitake mushrooms

6 cherry tomatoes

2 spring onions- whites slices into 1 inchpieces

some sliced and wash banana flower

lime juice and fish sauce to taste

1 and 1/2 cups water

1 cup coconut milk

Make:

Bring the water to a boil and add the lemon grass and galangal. Cook till fragrant. Add the chicken, mushrooms, tomatoes, banana flower and the coconut milk. Bring to a boil and cook until the chicken is done. Add the spring onions, kaffir lime leaves and chili. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add lime juice and fish sauce to taste. Remove from the heat and serve.

I cooked some brown rice to go with the dish and sliced some kaffir lime leaves to garnish and to add a bit more flavor. The earthiness of the brown rice and the creaminess of the main dish were quite complimentary I thought.

An old favorite of mine is stuffed or filled chicken breasts cooked in liquid of one kind or another. The options are almost limitless; I’ve used pesto, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, feta and even peanut butter for stuffing and cooked in balsamic vinegar, red wine and stock.

Seen as we are living in Thailand and get to savor new combinations of ingredients and tastes on a regular basis I decided to experiment with a new filling and cooking sauce inspired by some Thai flavors.

Collect:

3 cloves of garlic, crushed and minced
1 red chili, sliced
3 sprigs of spring onion, the white and light green parts separated from the darker parts- mince two of the spring onions and slice the third on in half
3 kafir lime leaves, roughly copped
2 big shallots, sliced
juice of half a lime
2 chicken breasts, trimmed of the skin and fat
1 cup of flour
salt
toothpicks
½ chicken stock cube
½ cup of warm water
½ cup of coconut milk
1 tablespoon curry powder

Make:

Heat a little oil in a saucepan over medium heat, when the oil is warm, add garlic and chili and fry quickly until fragrant. Add the rest of the ingredients (except the halved spring onion) and stir-fry it for about two minutes. Remove from heat and add the lime juice. Set aside.

Dissolve the stock cube in the warm water, add the curry powder and coconut milk and set aside.

Flatten your chicken breasts with one hand and make careful incisions in them with a sharp knife for the filling. Divide the stuffing between the two chicken breasts and insert half a sprig of spring onion in each. Close the breasts with one or two toothpicks. Season with a little salt.

Spread the flour out onto a flat surface and roll the breasts around in it till covered, shake of any excess flour and set aside. In the same saucepan you used for preparing the filling, add a little oil. Put the chicken breast in the saucepan and cook until a light golden brown. To this, add the liquid mixture and lower your temperature to a gentle simmer. Cover the saucepan slightly and cook the chicken until it is cooked through. I left it on for about 20 minutes.

The end result was superb. The flavors of the filling were pleasantly subtle, complimented by the curry flavored cooking sauce, the leftover sauce I poured over the steamed rice I served it with. The chicken breasts were also incredibly tender. Definitely one to try again.

Suggestions for Chicken Breasts with Thai flavors filling.
– depending on your personal tastes you can add more or less of any of the ingredients to change the flavor and of course you can add any other ingredients that may add to the end result.
– the dark green parts of the spring onions can be used as garnish and a little bit of curry powder sprinkled around a side of the plate adds to the presentation
– keep a small dish handy for discarding the toothpicks

One more food related entry before I do one about the bag I’ve finished this week.

After spending a day at Chatuchak Market we decided to eat in tonight, rather than go searching for the mythical Ethiopian Restaurant on Sukhumvit Road. I felt like some comfort food inspired by Bangkok street food and so I picked satay and fried rice.

Fried rice is something I crave every now and then and recently I’ve been craving it quite a lot of it. We had it the other night at Suan Lum Night Bazaar and yesterday from a street stand near our school. For dinner I decided to make some myself again. It’s so easy to prepare, you can add almost any ingredients and it rarely disappoints.

To accompany the leftover satay sauce from earlier this week I grilled some chicken kebabs with pineapple, small tomato, and green chili like you find on the streets of Bangkok. Comforting and tasty!

I was a bit lazy last week and did not do too much in the kitchen. And it was good. Wednesday our first visitor is arriving and I don’t think I’ll be getting around to writing for a while. So, I’m going to post one or two recipes from the old ‘Marita’.

Perhaps I’ll experiment with something new for our visitor to write about after next week.

The following recipe was my first attempt at Fried Tofu with Cashew Nuts.

This was my first experiment with a dish we learned how to prepare at the Thai Farm Cooking School in Chiang Mai. It is a very straightforward and tasty Thai dish. The original recipe called for chicken and carrots, I decided to try it with tofu and asparagus.

You’ll need:
90 grams of sliced firm tofu
¼ cup of asparagus sliced into chunks
¼ cup of sliced onions
¼ cup mushrooms
¼ cup of cashew nuts
2 sliced chilies, lightly toasted
¼ cup chopped spring onions
1 tablespoon oil
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon fish sauce
½ teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon mushroom sauce
2 tablespoons water

When you have all the ingredients chopped and ready, here is how to prepare it:
Heat the oil in a wok and add the tofu. Fry until golden brown. Add asparagus, onions, mushrooms and water. Continue stir-frying. When it is almost cooked, add the mushroom sauce, fish sauce, sugar, salt and spring onions. Stir-fry and mix well. Turn off the heat, add the cashew nuts and chili and you’re done!

Suggestions for Fried Tofu with Cashew Nuts:
– for more bite, do not seed the chilies
– if you cannot find fish sauce you could probably use soy sauce instead
– you can of course substitute tofu with chicken and the asparagus with carrot