Showing posts with label main dish. Show all posts
Showing posts with label main dish. Show all posts

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Hainanese chicken rice recipe with a Brazilian twist

Hainanese chicken rice
This iconic Singaporean dish has been on my wish list for ages!  I always wanted to eat Hainanese chicken rice but never had the opportunity. So I decide to look around the net, and I found an enticing recipe. Gosh!!!  this was a delicious feast! 

Hainanese chicken rice,  the rich flavour of the rice comes from the chicken fat and the fresh chicken broth. The chicken is gently poached whole and in some cases, I heard, steamed. The dish is traditionally accompanied with chilli sauce made up of chilies, chicken broth, garlic, and ginger. A thick broth of chicken stock garnished with a sprinkle of spring onions is also a must. This recipe has origins in Southern China, early Chinese immigrants originally from the Hainan province adapted the well known Wenchang chicken recipe.

My twist on this recipe: I used Brazilian chilies (I am Brazilian after all!)  and  add a bit of fresh and zing by adding fresh lime juice and zest to the ginger sauce. 
This blog post is my entry to Destinology competition to potentially win a luxury holiday in Europe. Destinology specialises in luxury holidays around the world, the competition is to re-create a national dish with a personal twist.  Here we go!

Hainanese chicken rice recipe with a Brazilian twist
Serves: 6, very hungry people 
time: approx 2 hours 

There are 4 parts to this amazing recipe:
Part 1: Poaching the chicken (65mins)
Part 2: Cooking the Fragrant Rice (15mins)
Part 3: Chicken Soup for the Soul (assembly only - 5 mins)
Part 4: Sauces, an important part of this dish (3 sauces from scratch approx. 20-30mins)

    1 Large family size chicken (whole) – gutted and cleaned
    4 Spring Onion stalks
    2 Carrots (halved)
    5-6 cloves of Garlic (whole)
    5-6 slices of Ginger (5mm thick)
    2 Tbsp of Light Soy Sauce
    Handful of Kosher or any coarse Salt (chicken exfoliation)
    Mix 1 Tbsp of Sesame Oil + 1/2 Tbsp of Light Soy Sauce

    1)Trim off any excess fat and skin from the chicken and keep it aside (this will be used for the rice in Step 2).
    2) Grab a handful of salt and rub on the chicken to exfoliate it. Give your chicken a facial!
    3) Boil a large  and deep pot of water (that can fit a whole chicken) with the carrots and 2 spring onion stalks.
    4) Rub chicken cavity with light soy sauce. Fill it with garlic cloves, ginger slices and remaining 2 spring onion stalks.
    5) Carefully put chicken into the large pot (breast-side down) and lower the heat and let it simmer for 15 minutes uncovered. Switch heat off, cover with lid and let it stand in the pot for 40 minutes. Alternatively, you if you have meat thermometer insert in the thickest part (i.e. leg) and when it reached 87C is ready.  I tried both methods work well.
    6) Take out chicken and put into a cold bath.
    7) Take the chicken out of the cold bath and empty the cavity. Rub all over with a mixture of sesame oil & light soy sauce.
    8) Leave to rest for 10-15 minutes before cutting into desired pieces.
    9) Pour a mixture of 60ml hot chicken stock + 1 Tbsp of Sesame Oil + 2 Tbsp of Light Soy Sauce over the chicken pieces just before serving.

Rendering of the chicken fat:  while the chicken is gently boiling, render the chicken skin to get the oil out for the rice and sauces.
Put all the trimmed chicken fat and skin in a wide pot or pan. Heat the chicken parts over a  medium-high heat, gradually the melted fat at the bottom of the pot and the skin look fried and amber gold. Switch off the heat and reserve. There will be enough for this recipe only.

Part 2 - THE RICE

    2 cups of Long Grain Rice
    2 Tsp of Salt
    5-6 slices of Ginger (2-3mm thick)
    2 cloves of Garlic (finely diced)
    2 1/4 cups of Chicken Stock
    1 Pandan Leaf (knotted)
    2 Tbsp of Chicken fat with skin attached (obtained by trimming excess fat from chicken)
    2 Tbsp of Oil
Pandan leaves

    1) Wash the rice.
    2) In a pan, pour 2 Tablespoons of the chicken oil. Add garlic and ginger and fry until fragrant under medium heat. Add rice and 1 teaspoon of salt and continue to fry for another 2 minutes. Transfer all ingredients into a rice cooker, if you have one. If not, keep in the pan and cook as you would normal rice. Add chicken stock and Pandan leaf* and cook rice until done.
* - bought them in Chinatown (London)

Part 3, THE SOUP

    Chicken Stock from poaching the chicken
    1 tsp of Salt
    Few dashes of Ground White Pepper

    1) Boil poaching stock (from step 1)
    2) Season with salt and pepper. Simmer or keep warm on very low heat until ready to serve.
    3) Garnish with spring onion slices and coriander leaves when serving.


Ingredients for the Chilli Sauce
    1 whole Malagueta chilli (Brazilian chilli) is very hot, so one is enough
    2 cloves of Garlic, finely diced
    4 thin slices of Ginger
    1 Tbsp of Lime Juice
    1 tsp of Caster Sugar
    1 Tbsp of Chicken Stock
    1 tsp of Chicken Oil (obtained from rendered chicken fat)
    Pinch of Salt (to taste)

Mix all the ingredients and place into a bowl ready to serve.

Ingredients for the Ginger and Lime Sauce
    40g of Ginger, finely diced
    1 clove of Garlic, finely diced
    2 Tbsp of Spring Onion, finely slice
    1 Tbsp of lime juice and 1/2 zest
    1 Tbsp of Chicken Stock
    1 tsp of Chicken Oil (obtained from rendered chicken fat)
    Pinch of Salt (to taste)

Mix all the ingredients and place into a bowl ready to serve.

This recipe is based on, and some parts adapted from Singaporean Mom Blog  by Irene So (
Hainanese chicken rice recipe with a Brazilian twist

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Minced Turkey Pie

The consumption of Turkey has become quite popular lately. This protein laden poultry is a healthy alternative to red and fat meats. It can be easy found in local supermarkets, butchers and even street markets. Turkey is a source of protein, healthy nutrients and widely consumed, not just at Christmas, but all year round.

Turkey is sold in many forms beyond the whole bird; there are steaks, sausages, drumsticks and even minced. In any case, the most important point to remember is not to overcook this poultry  or it will become dry quickly.

5 facts about Turkey:

1)skinless turkey is low on fat
2)this protein is rich zinc, potassium and phosphorus
3)when frequently eaten, Turkey can help lower cholesterol
4)due to its constitution it plays an important role in strengthening the immune system
5)it contains vitamin B6 and niacin, which are both essential for the body's energy production.

TIP: Minced Turkey pie can be made with your leftover turkey Christmas meal.

view the full recipe at Great British Chefs Blog: Minced Turkey Pie 


Friday, 10 October 2014

Aji de Gallina, a Peruvian recipe

Some years ago, I took a sabbatical and went to Peru to visit some friends. Once there, I stayed in their houses and learnt to cook Peruvian food with their native mothers, sisters and aunties. It was a fabulous experience. 

Visiting and travelling around Peru in itself was an very special adventure which I highly recommend. Peruvian food has always been intriguing and vibrant. Many dishes are steeped in history and use delectable, exotic and local ingredients. Their fare is varied and divided by three regions; coastal with the most famous dish being ‘ceviche’, highlands (Andes) with the speciality being the ‘pachamanca’, which consists in a varied of meat cuts wrapped and cooked in a hole on the ground and the  jungle (Amazon) with the traditional ‘juanes’, rice and chicken wrapped and cooked in banana leaves, river fish dishes and exotic tropical fruits. 

Throughout Peru there’s a large number of Chifas (Chinese/Peruvian) and Nikkei (Japanese/Peruvian) fusion food. When I came back to London, I continued to learn to cook Peruvian food with my Peruvian friends and learnt where to source both fresh and dry produce in London. These days you can get a few ingredients over the internet. Lately, Peruvian food has taken centre stage in London. There are so many dishes I like but only a handful are known in the UK. 

My favourite dish is a Peruvian classic, Aji de Gallina.  A dish with roots on the French revolution. At that time, chefs working for the affluent families, lost their jobs and some migrated to the new world. Wealthy Peruvian creole families employed them to show their wealth to the ruling Spaniards. 

This is a classic example of a fusion of European/French cooking techniques, available ingredients and local produce.  I have a suspicion that  over the years this recipe has been modified, for example the use of chicken instead of hen (gallina). The Peruvian table always has a pot of aji (chilli) to accompany the food.  This dish reminds me of my lovely Peruvian adventure. For full recipe pop over to Great British Chefs

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Mexico: Mole Poblano recipe

learning about Mexican chillies

One of the most elaborate pepper sauces in Latin America,  mole poblano de  Santa Rosa is the king of moles. A recipe based on Spanish and pre-Columbian cooking, it reflects the the colonial Mexican style with spices from the Mediterranean, local Mexican chillies, balanced with sweetness, sour and savouries with Moro elements.

Mole Poblano is made of : dried chillies ( I bought the chillies at Borough Market, London), spices that add aroma and flavor; nuts and seeds that act as thickening agents and add richness; bread gives body to the sauce, vegetables (onions, tomates, tomatillos*), garlic are bases of sofrito, they add body too. Dried or fresh fruits gives the mole body and sweetness. Chocolate or cocoa nibs and sugar important flavouring ingredients, added at the last stage of cooking, note that not all moles contain chocolate. Liquid (broth) dilute the paste ready to be used on final dishes.

Mole is used as sauces for meats like turkey and chicken, as dip for tortillas, to flavour tamales or empanadas and why not add a spoon to a duck dish?  This sauce is so luxurious and complex that it’s usually made for special occasions  like weddings, baptism or birthdays.  Mole is a labour of love, so make lots and keep some for special occasions or as a treat, if you can resist it!  It’s not too complicated but has a few steps so mise en place is highly recommended. 

Mole Poblano

Makes: about 1kg of thick, smooth velvety sauce


View the full recipe at Great British Chefs blog: hot&chilli

This recipe was adapted from the book:The Food of Latin America, Gran Cocina Latina by Maricel E. Pressilla.   
To accompany this dish I prepared a Red Onion Pickled recipe below:

red pickled onions

 Red pickled onions: 
1 very large red onion cut lenghwise, in cold water for 10 minutes
juice of 4 bitter oranges (2 cups)
 salt, sugar, to taste
drain the onions, add the juice, salt and sugar
leave standing in a jar for at least 2 hours.
will keep in the fridge for a couple of days

mole poblano

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Roast Chicken Sous Vide way

It’s been quite exciting times experimenting with cooking sous vide. I like a roast chicken diner  for  two reasons. Firstly, it’s such a warming homely dish and secondly, the use of leftovers for another meal. I looked in to how to cook a whole chicken sous vide, I didn’t find anything on roasting subject, but found on pouching and I also learned that each part of the chicken cooks at different times and temperatures on sous vide. After much deliberation, I made some mental maths, now that is dangerous since I am not good at it! Anyway, I came up with a few possibilities based on my findings. 

First attempt,  I pouched the chicken for 6 hours at 60C  as per my finding online and it didn’t worked for my taste, the meat doness wasn’t quite what I was expecting, it was a bit too pink and juices weren’t running too clear. Next experiment I poached another chicken for 7 hours at 62C, every degree counts on sous vide, and bingo! It was perfect! The meat is moist, juicy and the chicken still just about holding it’s shape. It looked quite pale, but after a good 5 minutes under a very hot grill, you just want to crisp up the skin and not to cook the chicken. It looked very appetizing. I tried the blow torch method and it didn’t look that great.  I also sous vided the vegetables. The onions taste so good and sweet afterwards, I made an extra dish, onion puree. Don’t worry about unpleaseantt breath. Here is a recipe good if made on the day or in-advance for a stress-free roast chicken meal. 

View the full recipe at the Great British Chefs blog

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Ox cheeks in red wine, recipe

  Yesterday, I received a mystery box containing Lurpak cooking liquid, part of their new Cook's Range, their latest products  target ambitious home cooks and foodies alike. This particular product is a blend of rapeseed oil (74%) and butter (23%) and salt and milk. It's a viscous, light butter coloured appearance, the addition of oil stops the butter from burning in the cooking process. 
After weeks of slow cooking,  I decided to try out the new Lurpak cooking liquid using another cooking method, the pressure cooker. It's been a while since I put it into good use.  Sometimes when you are in a hurry or have last minute gathering, the pressure cooker is instant salvation!  In Brazil, every household has a pressure cooker, we usually use to cook beans and large pieces of meat.
A pressure cooker is a cooking pot in which foods are cooked at temperatures above the boiling point (100 degrees Celsius ) of water at ambient pressure , thus allowing a  reduced cooking time. They are fitted with airtight lids that seal the inside and exhaust valves for steam and enable the safe use . Normally there is a valve for pressure control and safety valve, which breaks down below the maximum pressure that the pan supports.It can be used as sterilizer , since the high temperature undoubtedly exceeds 100C. A pot in a normal state , with valve and rubber cap in perfect condition, can reach 120C , this way generating a much safer sterilization.
Operation of the pressure cooker : When closing the pan , it already contains a quantity of air that is equal to the atmospheric pressure. Seen in it a rubber that seals the pan to keep warm, the water vapor increase and its escape is prevented . The pressure of the trapped air is added to the vapor , so that the internal pressure becomes even greater. With a high pressure, the liquid takes longer to boil and cooks food faster.


Ox cheeks  in red wine -  the pressure cooker method
wheat-free and gluten-free

Yield: 4 generous portions

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cooking time : 40 minutes on pressure cooker, 5 hours in the oven

Mise en place

Ox cheeks

800 g  Ox cheeks, cut in 8 large cubes

50ml of Lurpak cooking liquid

3 bay leaves

150ml of water

200ml of passata

250ml of red wine

200ml of beef stock

1 large leek, (300g) sliced

2 medium carrots, (140g) sliced

1 large red onion, roughly chopped

3 cloves of garlic ,  roughly chopped

2 medium ripped fresh tomatoes, ( approx 230g) chopped

1 handful of fennel tops, it gives great taste to the meat

and finally, salt and pepper to taste


1)   In a pressure cooker in medium heat, add 50ml of Lurpak cooking liquid and seal the meat.  I used a shallow pan to make easy to show the cooking process to the readers.
easy to use and golden results

2)   Add the sealed meat and  the other ingredients  to the pressure cooker.

3)   Close the pressure cooker according to the manual,  once is hissing and cook the meat for 40 minutes.

4)   Salt & pepper to taste at the end of cooking time


P.S.: If you don’t have a pressure cooker, use a heavy ovenproof pan or casserole and  cook the meat in medium heat (about 150C for electric fan oven and 120C on gas mark 2)  for 4 hours, preferably 5 hours. Until the meat is tender and easy falling apart .

This dish can be cooked in advance, making a perfect centre stage for a celebration meal.

It can be frozen once completely cold, in a sealed bags and defrost completely before re-heating.

Serving suggestion:  white boiled rice.


The perfect white rice, the Brazilian way:

Yield: 4 servings

Cooking time: approx 15 minutes, dependent on the type of rice used.


1 & ½ cups of white rice, I like Basmati

2 and a splash, cups of water, I use hot water to speed up the process

1 generous tablespoon of Lurpak cooking liquid, approx 25ml

1 garlic glove, chopped

½ of white onion, finely chopped

salt to taste


1)   saute garlic and onion in Lurpak  cooking liquid.

2)   add the rice and fry for about 30 seconds

3)   add boiling water and salt

4)   lower the heat and cook until the water has almost evaporated 

5)   cover the pan and wait about 20 minutes before serving


disclosure: the Lurpak mystery box was sent to me free of charge to test the new product and I was paid to test and write a recipe using the Lurpak Cook's Range, Cooking Liquid. All views are my own based on my cooking experience.

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