Tag Archives: chicken

Hainan Chicken Rice with Oyster Sauce Pak Choi

Last week was Chinese New Year…Gong Hey Fat Choy! Whilst my dearly missed family were having a series of dinners, including an awesome Tuoan Nien Hot Pot (click for photographic evidence), Dim Sum and much much more, I had to settle for Tesco noodles with shredded duck in hoisin sauce followed by massive bowl of frosties. Not quite the culinary delights I am used to and I could do naught but imagine what was being eaten at the mass gatherings of Chinese relatives in Australia, Brunei and Canada.

Not letting the above get me down, I decided to invite some friends over for a quick Sunday supper. Being the Year of the Rabbit I should really have popped down to the butcher for a couple of hares and made a pie or curry but instead decided to cook Hainan Chicken Rice. It is a dish found all over South-East Asia and most reminiscent of my time spent growing up in Brunei and Singapore.

Quite simply this is a steamed chicken, where the broth is reused and sometimes topped up with boiling water to cook the other components that make this dish. It is also accompanied with a variety dips involving chilli, garlic, ginger oyster sauce and soy sauce. To make it more of a complete meal I always serve this with some pak choi in oyster sauce.

The Bruneians, the Malaysians, the Singaporeans and the Thais all have their own versions; this is mine. It is very straightforward to cook and even more easy to eat.

Hainan Chicken Rice with Oyster Sauce Pak Choi

Serves 5 

You will need: 

For the Chicken

1 Chicken (approx 1.4kg) (parson’s nose and excess fat from the cavity removed)

2.5cm of ginger (peeled)

3 spring onions

½ cucumber (sliced) (to be served with steamed chicken)

For the Rice;

450-500g of rice (uncooked and unwashed)

parson’s nose and excess chicken fat

vegetable oil or sesame oil

the leftover stock from the steamed chicken

some soy sauce for serving

For the Pounded Ginger and Spring Onion Dip;

2.5cm of ginger (peeled)

3 spring onions

vegetable oil

For the Chilli Sauce;

3-4 chillies

3 garlic bulbs

50ml of Rice wine vinegar

100ml of stock from the steamed chicken

For the Pak Choi;

3 heads of Pak Choi

3 garlic bulbs (finely sliced)

1-2 tbsp of oyster sauce

100-150ml of stock from the steamed chicken

  1. Using a large pot and something to rest your chicken on (look at my Flickr photos to see what I used), pour in enough water so that it is plenty but won’t touch the chicken. On medium heat bring that to a boil. I also suggest bringing a smaller pot of water to a boil too (just in case you need to top up levels whilst cooking).
  2. Once boiling; place the ginger and spring onions in the pot, cover and set your timer for approx 1 hour 10 mins.
  3. On a low to medium heat, in about 2tsp of vegetable oil or sesame oil, fry off the parson’s nose and excess fat. 
  4. Whilst this is happening; using a pestle and mortar, ground the ginger and spring onions for your Pounded Ginger and Spring Onion Dip. When roughly combined, scrape into a small bowl, cover in plenty of vegetable oil and leave to one side.
  5. In a processor, blend all the ingredients for the chilli sauce. Leaving in the processor, put to one side for later.
  6. By now the chicken fat and parson’s nose should be crispy. If so, remove, throw away/eat and turn the heat down to a low setting. Pour in the uncooked and unwashed rice. Continuously stir till all of it is covered in fat and oil – make sure not to burn the rice – this should take a couple of minutes. Once done, take off the heat and put to one side.
  7. Once the time is up on the chicken, remove the lid and make sure it is cooked to your liking. Remove from pot and put to one side.
  8. Pour in 100 ml of the stock into the chilli sauce. Put to one side the stock for the pak choi too. Pour the rice into the remaining stock, maybe some more boiling water if needed. Cover and cook. Clean off any rice left in the frying pan, pour in a couple of glugs of vegetable oil and return on a medium to high heat.
  9. Fry off the garlic and pak choi, once the greens have reduced; mix in the oyster sauce, stir and pour over 100-150 ml of boiling water or stock, cover and steam for a few minutes. Once done, put to one side.
  10. Once the rice is cooked you can serve everything up. Remember to blend the chilli sauce and added stock before serving. The best way to plate the chicken is to chop in half down the middle, remove the legs and wings, then cut each half width wise into three or four smaller pieces. Place the pieces in a serving dish with the sliced cucumber. Oyster and soy sauce to go on the side too.

Enjoy and check out the Flicky Flicks for a bit more guidance!


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My Broccoli Salad with Bacon, Roast Chicken and a Punchy Dressing

I desperately need a photographer for my food shots, any volunteers?

My Broccoli Salad with Bacon, Roast Chicken and a Punchy Dressing 

For many, January must bring the usual self proclaimed promises of dieting and exercising. I am one of those people. Every year as I roll of the train armed with my post Christmas and New Year gut I make promises to eat healthy and be fit…every year I break this promise. Much like a season for my beloved Middlesbrough FC, my diet starts of very promisingly with carefully prepared salads, soups and steamed vegetables, only for it all to end with a disappointing mid-table finish as I start to reach for the Gregg’s sausage rolls, After Eights and Jaffa Cakes.

 So far 2011, has been a good year for the diet. I have already managed to lose ½ stone and maintain a fairly healthy diet plan. My secret has been variety and I don’t mean spicing up breakfast with a different cereal from the Kellogg’s cereals mini multi pack, even though frosties mixed with coco-pops and honey nut loops bloody rocks! I have been mixing up breakfast with various mueslis, yoghurts and fruits; smaller portions at lunch and the same at supper but with more greens. 

Tonight I cooked a broccoli salad from Jamie’s America cookbook; it’s in the bit where he goes to stay with the cowboys. I just added some rotisserie chicken meat (no skin) to give it a bit more substance. The dressing was unbelievable, so simple yet very subtle and pronounced in taste. The salad was delicious, crunchy and refreshing; the perfect incentive to remain on the diet.

 Serves 3 or 6 as a side 

You will need: 


1 Large head of broccoli

8 Rashers of smoked streaky bacon (fried to a crisp and finely chopped) (set the cooked bacon fat aside)

the meat from ½ a rotisserie chicken, stripped and roughly chopped

Olive oil

3 tomatoes (deseeded and finely sliced)

a small bunch of chives (finely chopped) 


1 clove of garlic (finely chopped)

2 tsps Dijon mustard

5 tbsps Virgin olive oil

1 tbsps of the cooked bacon fat

2 tbsps White wine vinegar

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 

  1. Fry off the bacon and set aside, finely chop it once it is cooled
  2. Put all the dressing ingredients into something like a clean old jam jar, give it a good shake and set aside
  3. Using your hands or a small knife cut or tear all the broccoli florets of their stalks into smaller ones. Cut off and throw away the thick dry bits of the base then finely slice and chop up the remaining stalks. Make sure they look nice and well presented.
  4. Bring to the boil a large pot of salted water.
  5. Once boiling, blanche the broccoli  for 60 seconds, drain and spread out on a clean tea towel to dry
  6. Whilst this is drying; finely chop your chives and tomatoes
  7. Once the broccoli is dry, mix all the salad ingredients in a big bowl, taste your salad dressing (add some more salt, pepper or vinegar if needed), pour on top of salad, mix a bit more and serve!
  8. Goes nice with a brewsky or a smooth white wine.


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Leftover Fried Rice



This was meant to be a weekend of cocktails, cooking, eating, frolicking and being rejected by every unattached girl in the SW6 postcode. But, alas, it was not. My housemate and I have been struck down with the dreaded man flu and are still suffering from its affliction. We have done naught but watch TV, use the Playstation 3 to kill bad guys online and watch Megan Fox in Transformers 2. 

One thing that had not been hampered was our hunger. Considering none of us wanted to leave the house and would rather stay indoors in our sky sports, duvet cover, Lemsip induced cocoons our weekend was catered by our local Chinese takeaway – Oriental Express – and cooking with what we had left in our adequately stocked cupboards, fridge and freezer. Before you think I stayed in all weekend, I did muster the energy to head down to the local market for a shop and a walk…It started to rain, I had forgotten my umbrella and returned home sodden, defeated and even more miserable. 

Fried rice was one of the first dishes my mother taught me, this is my effort using what was found in the kitchen plus a few supplies from the North End Road. 

Leftovers Fried Rice 

Serves 3  

You will need:  

300g of cooked rice 

100 – 150 g of frozen peas 

8 rashers of cooked streaky bacon (the crispier the better) (roughly chopped) 

100 – 150g of cooked chicken (roughly chopped) 

3 spring onions (roughly chopped) 

3 – 4 pieces of garlic (finely chopped) 

3cm of ginger (finely chopped) 

3 chillies (halved vertically down the middle and chopped into matchstick size pieces) 

3 eggs (beaten) 

½ a teaspoon of five spice powder (optional) 

Groundnut oil 

Sesame oil 

Soy sauce 

  1. Mix the five spice powder into the beaten eggs.
  2. Heat a couple of teaspoons of groundnut oil in a wok on a medium heat.
  3. Once the oil is heated make an omelette from the beaten eggs.
  4. Once cooked, remove the omelette, let it cool, chop into little strips and put to one side.
  5. Add a little bit more oil into the wok (2 teaspoons worth).
  6. Fry the garlic and ginger (make sure not to burn).
  7. After about 30 seconds add bacon, chillies and chicken.
  8. After a couple minutes of stirring, add the peas and spring onions.
  9. Stir for a further minute, possibly turning up the heat a little.
  10. Add the rice and about three or four splashes of sesame oil.
  11. Stir and mix all the ingredients in the wok.
  12. Add the egg strips.
  13. Add soy sauce (as much as you like but about four teaspoons should be enough).
  14. Sir for another minute or so making sure all the ingredients are mixed.
  15. Plate up and enjoy!

Make sure you are constantly stirring everything you put into the wok to ensure nothing gets burnt and everything gets cooked.


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Croquetas de Pollo

The feedback on my opening post, you could say my amuse-bouche, has been incredible. Understandably the majority of responses have been from people I know, but what has been really encouraging are the comments I get from those I do not. In particular a lovely sounding lady called Hilary. Finding the courage and self-belief to write a food blog, especially an interesting one, has been an arduous process. I have been taking the plunge one toe at a time.  

So to you all, Thank you very much! 

Without a doubt, there have been some changes. Most notably the picture of myself in the About section. I have been told I look like a right chinless wonder and that nobody wants to see me in my morning suit quaffing an apple flavoured martini (my fav!). Therefore I have replaced it with a photo of me perusing a menu in a restaurant, or should I now pronounce it res-tor-raun? You know, the way some foodies do. 

To keep the ball rolling I have decided to submit my first recipe – croquetas de pollo! (Hopefully the exclamation mark will encourage you to strike the pose of a bull fighter shouting ‘Ole!’…or is that just me?). 

I first heard about this recipe whilst working at a well known chain of Spanish restaurants during my last year at university. I use the adjective “Spanish” very loosely; it was about as Spanish as my post A-Levels holiday to Magaluf. The exchange students who worked there were the only element of Iberian authenticity to the whole establishment. It was understandable that they held the food they served in contempt, in particular Rafa, a Mallorcan, from where this dish hails. 

He must have really complained to his mother as she actually mailed him a hamper, and snuggled amongst the chorizo, jamón Serrano, manchego cheese, tortas de aceite and turrón was where I found this tupperware-ensconced delicacy. I was enamoured at first bite. 

Today I rely on it as a starter, a moreish snack and believe it to be one of the ultimate comfort foods (a much healthier and less post-devourement-guilt-inducing alternative to a chicken nugget). 

Whilst I have compiled many recipes for this particular dish, I have found the best offering has come from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage cookbook

Croquetas de Pollo 

Makes about 20 

You will need

350 ml of full cream milk

50g of butter

50g of plain flour

1 small onion (finely chopped)

1 clove of garlic (finely chopped)

250g poached chicken breast

2 eggs (beaten)

1 tbsp of parsley

75g of breadcrumbs (I recommend fine blending some olive oil toasted baguette laced with ground nutmeg)

Couple of glugs of Olive Oil

Groundnut Oil (will be used for frying, so make sure you have enough)

Salt and Pepper

1 Gem Lettuce

Juice of half a lemon 

  1. Heat the milk in a sauce pan (do not boil).
  2. In a heavy frying pan melt the butter then add the flour. Stir into a fine roux.
  3. Bit by bit add the warm milk (remember not to boil).
  4. Stir continuously for two minutes then remove from heat.
  5. You should now have a lovely béchamel sauce to put aside.
  6. Sweat the garlic and onion in olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Once sweated, place garlic and onions and the poached chicken into your blender.
  8. Blend.
  9. With a wooden spoon fold the béchamel sauce and herbs into the blended mixture.
  10. Spoon the mixture into a container…cover and place in fridge to cool (this is very important as the cooled mixture will allow you to successfully mould the croquetas).
  11. One cooled (to avoid sticky fingers, dust your hands in flour) mould the mixture into any shape you want. I normally try to shape small circular spheres of chickeny goodness and end up with small patty-like creations. Whatever the case they will taste wonderful.
  12. Each croquetas should be coated in flour, rolled in the beaten eggs and blanketed in the breadcrumbs.
  13. Heat some groundnut oil in a frying pan.
  14. Fry each of the croquetas for approximately 2 to 2 ½ minutes on both sides until brown (remember to place on some kitchen roll to soak up the last vestiges of excess oil).
  15. Serve on a bed of finely chopped lettuce, drizzled in lemon and possibly with a sauce for dipping. I recommend a sweet chilli sauce.

Please do tell me what you think.


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