Thursday, October 31, 2013

Mushrooms with white wine vinaigrette and tarragon

This is a great appetiser or side dish that you can prepare up to 2 days ahead. Tastes great served warm, and even better when left in the fridge for at least a day. Its an earthy dish with a sweet and sour tone, made fragrant with the fresh tarragon. Serve with crusty bread, its great as a vegetarian appetiser.
Mushrooms with white wine vinaigrette and tarragon

Very important note in preparing this dish is to get the mushrooms caramelised to a nice brown colour on the outside.

Ingredients to serve 4-6

400-500 grams white button mushrooms - kept whole
2-3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3-4 sprigs of tarragon - leaves only
1 purple onion - sliced
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
cooking oil for frying
Extra Virgin Olive Oil for drizzling

1. In a large saute pan, heat some cooking oil over medium high heat. When oil just about starts to smoke, add in the mushrooms and saute for about 4-6 minutes. Until they release their moisture and  start to brown. (Most of the browning will occur only after the moisture is released).

2. When the mushrooms are browned, add in the sliced onions and saute for another 2 minutes.

3. When onions soften and brown a little, add the vinegar and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Drizzle a little Extra Virgin olive oil and add the tarragon leaves. Mix well. (This will help to form a vinaigrette that will allow the mushrooms to soak up flavour)

5. Serve immediately or chill and serve the next day.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Stir Fried Bean Sprouts with Silver Fish

Stir Fried Bean Sprouts with Silverfish
Bean sprouts are arguably the cheapest vegetable here in South East Asia. Very nutritious and high in fibre. It is also one of those veggies that pose a challenge to parents, when trying to get their kids to eat them.

This is a really tasty dish, common in Chinese households here in Singapore. Quite easy to prepare.
The silverfish is an optional addition, but I like the additional savoury hit and crunch that they give.

Ingredients for 4
300 grams bean sprouts, - husks and tails removed
1/2 tablespoon soya sauce (or to taste)
3 cloves of garlic - sliced/chopped
5 stalks of spring onion - cut into 2 inch lengths
1 regular chilli or 2 chilli padi - thinly sliced
Cooking oil
crushed White pepper

2 tablespoons fried silver fish (optional) - See here for silver fish preparation.

1. In a wok or large frying pan, heat some oil over medium high heat. When oil is heated, add in the garlic and chillies (if using), and fry for about 1 minute. Until the garlic just starts to turn brown.

2. At this point add in the bean sprouts and fry until they start to soften a little. About 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with Soya Sauce and White pepper to taste.

3. Add in the spring onions, stirfry for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. When done, dish onto a serving plate.

4. Garnish with silver fish on top and serve hot.

Note: The cooking times for the bean sprouts are highly subjective as there are varying preferences on how well cooked one would prefer their "tou geh". I like them a little on the well cooked side. There are those who like them on the raw side, with a good crunch.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Korean Style Spicy Chicken (Dak Galbi)

A popular dish in Korea. The name "Dak Galbi" actually means "Chicken Ribs" but there are no ribs in this dish. In fact the recipe that I am sharing here uses boneless chicken thighs. Its grilled or pan fried chicken that is marinated in a spicy Korean chilli paste called "Gochujang" (Pronounced - Go - Choo - Jang). Gochujang is usually made of chillies, rice flour and fermented soya beans and seen almost everywhere in Korea.

Dak Galbi
Can't really say how authentic this recipe is but I did this recipe twice at a BBQ and it was a hit both times. This recipe is my rendition of the Korean dish.

Here is what I used to serve 4.

2-3 boneless chicken thighs. (about 500-600 grams)
thinly sliced spring onion for garnish.

Ingredients for marinade:
1 1/2 tablespoons Gochujang
1 yellow onion - roughly chopped
5 cloves of garlic - peeled
1 tablespoon soya sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
white pepper - crushed or powder


1. Chop the chicken thighs into hunks, about 1-2 inches across.

2. Place all marinade ingredients into a blender or food processor and turn it into a puree.

3. Mix the marinade with the chicken thoroughly and seal with cling film and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours. Overnight is fine too.

4. To cook the chicken, pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees celsius. Spread the chicken pieces on a baking tray and cook in the oven for about 25-30 mins.

Garnish and serve with steamed rice or even in a bread roll with some shredded lettuce/cabbage.

Optional Step, if you have leftover marinade in the container/bowl you marinated the chicken in, you can transfer all the marinade into a small saucepan and bring it to a boil. It can be served as extra sauce.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Pork Chops in Brine

Soaking the chops in a brine is a great way to impart flavour into the pork chops. It lifts the flavour of the chops to another level. Finishing the chop in the oven helps it to cook more gently and evenly.

Bone-in Pork Chops with Oven Baked Potatoes and Onion Jam

Ingredients for 2
2 pork chops bone-in (about 350-400 grams each)
Salt and pepper to taste
Cooking oil for pan searing

2 sprigs of fresh parsley - roughly chopped
2 sprigs of fresh sage - roughly chopped
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary - leaves only, roughly chopped
2 sprigs of fresh thyme - leaves only
5 cloves of garlic - roughly chopped
1 teaspoon of black peppercorns
2 tablespoons of sugar
2 teaspoons of salt
1/2 cup of red wine vinegar (White wine vinegar is fine as well)
juice of 1 lemon
1-2 cups of water

1. In a large bowl or container, mix the vinegar, water and lemon juice. The add in the sugar and salt. Stir until dissolved. Then add in all the herbs. Place the chops in the liquid and ensure they are fully submerged. Add a little more water (maybe a teaspoon or so of vinegar) to the brine if there is not enough liquid to cover the chops. Soak the chops in the brine for at least 4 hours or even overnight.

2. When ready to cook the chops, Preheat your oven to 130 degrees celsius. Take the chops out of the liquid and pat really dry. Season with salt and pepper. If any of the herbs or garlic from the brine stick to the pork chops, just leave them on.

3. Now heat some oil in a cast iron skillet (or thick based frying pan) over high heat. When the pan gets really hot, place the chops into the pan and sear for about 2 minutes. Turn the chop over, with the seared side up, place the pan in the oven for another 20 minutes or so. (Cooking times depend on the thickness of your chop, mine were about an inch thick). I sprinkled some dried rosemary before the chops entered the oven, but that's just a personal preference.

Note, if your pan cannot enter the oven, just transfer the chop to a baking dish. Preferably heated as well. If the baking dish is cold, the cooking time in the oven should be a few minutes longer. You can just finish cooking on the pan too, about 4 minutes per side.

4. Serve wtih a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil together with your preferred sides.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Pulled Pork Sandwich

This is a recipe for braising or slow cooking pork shoulder. I use shoulder because it has a good ratio of fat vs muscle. During the cooking process, the fragrance of the spices will fill the kitchen, if not the whole home. (Then again, depends on how big your home is. I live in a humble HDB flat.)

Open Faced pulled pork sandwich. Top it off with a sunny side up and it reminds me breakfast.
Fork tender pork shoulder and crusty grilled bread, simply awesome. It'll save you money too, as pork shoulder is a cheaper cut compared to tenderloins. It also has less fat than the belly. At the end of the braise, the stock is reduced to a gravy like substance that is packed full of flavour, use it as a drizzle on your sandwich. Note that the spice rub is a guideline, you are free to use your own preferred spices.

500grams pork shoulder - (should be in 2 pieces instead of 1 whole piece, allows more surface area for the rub.)
1 yellow onion - sliced
4 cloves garlic - lightly crushed
2 sprigs of thyme
2 - 3 cups chicken stock

1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons ground white pepper
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin

1. Mix all rub ingredients together. Coat the pork fully and generously with the rub.

2. In a casserole dish or deep sided baking dish, line the bottom with half the onions. Then place the pork on the onions.

3. Place the thyme and garlic around the pork and then cover with the rest of the onions. Lastly pour in the chicken stock. Enough to at least submerge the pork halfway.

4. Cover with aluminum foil and cook in an oven at 160 degrees Celsius for 3 hours. Until the meat is fork tender.

5. Pull apart the meat with a fork and serve with toasted bead with some barbeque sauce and some of the braising liquid.


Monday, October 7, 2013

Stir Fried Beans with Minced Pork

Stir Fried Beans with Minced Pork
This is a common household stir fry dish and incorporates meat and veg together. Coupled with a pot of soup and served with steamed rice, you'll have a meal that is served commonly in Chinese households here in Singapore. How well you cook to beans will determine how much crunch they retain.

1 pack of green beans - cut in to 2 inch lengths
70-100 grams of minced pork
1/3 cup of grated carrot strips (optional)
1 tablespoon of dried shrimp - chopped in small pieces
3 cloves of garlic - chopped
3 shallots - sliced
3-4 thin slices of Ginger
2 chilli padi / bird's eye chilli- sliced (optional)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar
white pepper
soya sauce


1. Season the mince pork with sesame oil, 2 teaspoons soya sauce, 1 teaspoon sugar and white pepper. Mix well and set aside.

2. Blanch the beans in salted boiling water for 2 minutes. Remove and shock them in cold water. Drain and set aside.

3. Over medium high heat, in a wok or large saute pan heat some cooking oil. when oil is heated, stir fry the pork until there is some browning. Make sure you break up the mince into smaller bits as you fry. Remove from the wok/pan and set aside when done.

4. In the same work, add a little oil, fry the dried shrimp until crisp and add in the garlic, shallots, ginger, chilli and carrots(if using). Fry until the garlic and shallots just start to brown and release their fragrance. Then add the cooked pork and blanched beans and stir fyr for 1-2 mins more. Drizzle a little soya sauce to taste.

5. Dish onto serving plates and serve immediately.

Note: Well cooked beans means less crunch. There are those who find the tartness of raw veg rather unappealing. If you are one of these people, you can blanch the beans slightly longer, maybe up to 3-4 minutes.

Have your household way of cooking beans? Do share!


Friday, October 4, 2013

Chicken Thighs with Scallion and Ginger Sauce

Chicken Thigh with Scallion and Ginger Sauce
This is a great tasting savoury dish to go with any East Asian meal. The aroma just hits you when the plate of chicken lands on the dinner table. Makes you just wanna dive right in. This sauce goes great with chicken wings as well. Just adjust the cooking times accordingly. Both the wife and I enjoyed this dish. I will definitely make this again sometime soon. 

2 Chicken Thighs - cut into large chunks
4-5 stalks scallion/spring onion - roughly cut up
2-3 tablespoons ginger - skinned and roughly cut up
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 tablespoon corn flour
Salt and pepper to taste
Sesame oil
Soya Sauce
White pepper

1. Marinate chicken thighs with 1 tablespoon of soya sauce, dash of white pepper, 1 tablespoon corn flour and 2 teaspoons sesame oil. Mix well and leave in the fridge for at least an hour.

2. To make the sauce, put all the scallion, ginger, 2 teaspoons soya sauce, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, with some white pepper in a food processor and blitz till you get a paste. Its alright if the texture is slightly grainy. Set aside in a large bowl.

3. Pre-heat your oven to 190 degrees celsius. Cook chicken on the oven for about 25 minutes. (Cooking time may vary depending on the size of your chicken chunks)

4. Remove the cooked chicken from the oven. Toss the chicken with the sauce in the large bowl and put it back in the oven for another 7-10 minutes. Just for the sauce to dry up a little and stick to the chicken.

5. Dish on the serving plates and serve immediately.

Note: for step 3, you stir fry instead of cooking in an oven if you prefer.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Baked Chicken Breast with Leek and Mushroom Cream Sauce

Chicken Breast with Leek and Mushroom Cream Sauce
Leek, mushrooms and cream are a great combo anytime. Together with a succulent chicken breast, this makes for a great meal. Baked Chicken Breasts soaked in a rich, creamy and fragrant sauce, what's not to like?

Ingredients for 2:
2 Chicken breast portions - boneless (About 200 grams or so per person)

For the Sauce
100 grams Swiss brown mushrooms - cut into quarters. (You can use white buttons as well)
1 leek - quartered lengthwise and then sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar (optional)
200ml cream

Salt and pepper to taste
cooking oil for frying


1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Season the chicken breasts assertively with salt pepper and some paprika and thyme.

2. Place chicken in oven and cook for about 20 minutes. (cooking times may vary depending on the size and thickness of your chicken meat) Chicken breast can overcook rather easily, so know your oven. =)

3. To make the sauce, heat some oil over medium heat in a large saute pan. When oil is heated up, add in the leeks and saute for 2 minutes and then add in the mushrooms. Saute until the the moisture released by the mushroom are almost evaporated and mushroom start to brown lightly. About 6-8 minutes

4. De-glaze the pan with white wine and white wine vinegar. Allow to simmer for a minute. Then add in the cream and lower the heat. Turn off the heat just before the cream starts to boil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

5. Serve warm together with the cooked chicken breasts, garnished with fresh parsley.

To have it child friendly, you can omit the white wine, vinegar and paprika.

Enjoy! Leave a comment on how yours went!
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