Sunday, November 22, 2015

San Bei ji (Three Cup Chicken)

This is a popular dish in Taiwan. The 3 cups refer to the 3 elements that make up the sauce. Rice Wine, Soya Sauce and Sesame Oil. Combined with generous amounts of garlic and basil, the cooking process of this dish creates an appetising fragrance that permeates the whole home (well my little apartment anyway).
San Bei Ji
The result is a really tasty dish with punchy bold flavours that is nutty, savoury and slightly sweet at the same time.

A dish of Taiwanese origins, I believe that a cup refers to the Chinese Tea cup that is about 100ml or so. As opposed to to the metric cup of 250 ml.

Here are the ingredients, serves 2-4. Depending on how much other food you have at the meal.

500 grams Chicken Thighs - Roughly chopped up, about 1-2 inches size chunks.
1 Red Capsicum - Roughly cut up in to chunks.(Optional)
1 Cup Shitake Mushrooms - halved or quartered (Optional)
1 Quarter cup Shaoxing wine
3 Tablespoons Sesame Oil
1 Tablespoon Dark Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce, plus extra for seasoning.
10 cloves of garlic - Halved
1 inch piece of ginger - sliced
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1-2 Birds Eye Chillies - Roughly cut up.
White pepper
Small bunch of Thai Basil (Or Continental if you can't find Thai ones) - Leaves only.
Small bunch of Spring Onions

1. Season the chicken with some soy sauce and ground white pepper and set aside.

2. Heat a large wok or large suacepan over medium heat. Add in the sesame oil. When the oil is heated. Add in the all the garlic and ginger. Fry for about 2 minutes until fragrant.

3. Then add in the chicken, chillies, mushroom and capsicum. Spread the chicken around the pan or work. You want nice browning on the chicken pieces. Stir fry until the surface of the chicken pieces turn light brown. About 5-8 minutes.

4. At this point, add in the Shaoxing wine, both Soy Sauces and sugar. Stir Fry for about 3 minutes, mixing everything well.

5. Cover and lower the heat. Simmer gently for about 10-15 minutes. This allows the chicken to cook through and absorb the sauces.

6. Remove the cover, toss in the basil and spring onions. Stir fry for about a minute.

Serve immediately.


Friday, November 20, 2015

Chilli Con Carne

Chilli Con Carne - Actually means Chilli with meat. Recipe variations are really wide. E.g. There are those who believe beans and tomatoes should not be included and there are those who differ from that point of view. The recipe changes from state to state in the US and Mexico.

Chilli Con Carne
I got inspired to try my hand at this dish after watching an episode Diners Drive-ins and Dives on Foodnetwork Channel. I brought this dish to two pot lucks and it was very well received at both. Its an awesome dish for a pot luck as it can be made the day or even days before. It will taste better after spending some night(s) in the fridge.

Makes about 8 servings

200 grams streaky bacon - Cut up into 1 cm slices
500 grams Minced Beef
2-3 sausages (spicy Italian kind preferred) - Diced up.
300 grams beef chuck - cut into 1 inch cubes. (Optional - I like the chunky pieces in my chilli)

1 Whole Large Onion - Diced
1 Red Capsicum - Diced.
5 Cloves Garlic - finely chopped or minced

2 tablespoons chilli powder (More for extra heat)
2 teaspoons paprika power
2 teaspoons ground coriander
3 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons salt

50-70 grams Dark Chocolate (At least 60%)

1 can diced tomato
1 can tomato paste
1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
1 cup beef stock - (Chicken stock is fine too)
1 can of Beer (Dark beer preferred if you have) - optional
2 cans Kidney beans or Pinto Beans or one of each

1 Bunch Corriander - Roughly Chopped
2-3 stalks of Spring Onions - sliced
1 cup - Shredded Cheddar.
Optional - For added heat, add some thinly sliced bird's eye chillies. (Chilli Padi)
Tip - If too spicy, add some more sugar.

1. Add the bacon into a large stockpot over high heat. Fry for about a minute. Add the diced onions and capsicum and fry for about 3 - 5 minutes (Until they soften and onions turn translucent) Add the garlic and saute for another 1 or 2 minutes.

2. Add the chuck and sear for about 4 minutes (If using) and then add the ground beef and sausage and sear, stirring gently, try not to break up the ground beef too much. Cook until the meat is nicely browned and cooked through should take 6 to 8 minutes.

3. Add the chilli powder, paprika, coriander, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, ground black pepper, salt and cook until the spcies release their aroma, about 3-4 minutes.

4. Add the tomatoes and tomato puree. Cook out the tomatoes and puree for about 4 minutes. Stir in the beer and stock. Use the liquid to de-glaze the pot, mopping up any brown bits sticking to your pot. Add the kidney and pinto beans(with all the juice from the cans, as the starch will help tighten up the chilli).

5. At this point, add the chocolate and tomato ketchup, mix well. Simmer for about 2 hours. Checking and stirring regularly, every 20 minutes or so on very low heat, just so the bottom does not burn. Or or use a slow cooker

Serve the chilli in bowls, garnished with Spring Onions and/or Corriander and Cheddar.
Great with Fries and Tortilla Chips! Enjoy!
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