Archive | May, 2012

The Classic Chicken Rice Is A Tradition In Many Families

22 May

Chicken RiceThis classic one-pot dish is a tradition in many families. Everyone’s got a different recipe, but this method should get you started. The recipe, which uses a whole chicken, feeds about six.

Learn how to make the Chicken Rice on your own here.The best Malaysian recipes and you might be surprised to learn how much Malaysian techniques and tastes are part-and-parcel o your larder eating out experience.


1 chicken

2 tsp sesame oil

1 cube chicken stock

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tsp thin soya sauce

450g uncooked rice, washed

2 tsp oil

2 tsp salt


Cut the chicken into two drumsticks, two thighs and two breasts. Cut the breasts in two pieces and save the backbone and wings for stock.

Rinse the pieces and pat them completely dry. The skin can be discarded, if desired.

Season the chicken on all sides with salt and pepper.

Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. A 12-inch tall-sided skillet is best, but you can also use two smaller skillets.

Add vegetable oil to coat the skillet to a depth of about 1/16 inch.

Add the chicken pieces (use metal tongs) when the oil is hot, and brown them on all sides. Don’t let them get too dark, however. A light golden color is best.

As they brown, remove them and let them drain on paper towels.

Cover, turn the heat to low and cook for another 20 to 30 minutes. You’ll need to check the pan from time to time to test the rice and to make sure it doesn’t dry out. Add hot water in 1/2 c. increments if the rice dries out before it’s finished cooking.

When the rice is done, remove the chicken with tongs or a slotted spoon. Be careful – it will be very loose and tender.

Remove the thyme and bay leaf, place the rice on a serving platter and top with the chicken pieces.


To prepare the chicken, pour enough water in a pan to cover chicken and bring to a boil. Add chicken, lower the heat, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and leave the chicken in the water for 40 minutes before removing to boiled cold water for 15 minutes. Hang chicken to air. Mix 1 tsp sesame oil with 1 tsp soya sauce and brush chicken with mixture. Remove legs, wing tips and neck from chicken and place back in the boiled water. Add chicken cube and boil. Reserve the chicken stock for cooking the rice and making the broth.

To make the rice and chicken broth, heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan and fry garlic until fragrant. Add the uncooked rice, stir-fry for one minute and add sufficient chicken stock to cook the rice. Add 1 tsp sesame oil, salt and pepper to taste. Cook until water is absorbed. To the remaining stock, add ginger, salt and pepper to make the chicken broth.

Chestnut Braised Chicken Which Is Very Easy To Do With The Right Technique

4 May

Braised Chicken Chestnut

Chestnuts have always been my favorite and there are just so many ways to cook them. For example, they can be boiled, grilled, roasted, made into a soup, or braised in a dish. A popular Chinese way to cook  is to braise Chestnuts with chicken. The nutty flavor of the chestnuts complements the chicken very well. Braising ensures that the chestnuts are softened enough to create that melt in your mouth texture.

My mother always used dried chestnuts, so I’m clueless about prepping fresh ones. Using my common sense, I figure boiling should be the right method for tackling fresh chestnuts’ shell and peel. It seems like the obvious thing to do, right?

Boiling 5 minutes or so works for the outer shell, which softens and becomes easy to cut through and tear off. The fuzzy membrane underneath, however, is a different story. It’s stubborn as hell! It sticks resolutely to the nutmeat, so I continue boiling,  and then boil some more. I try peeling off the reddish skin whilst the nuts are hot; I try again when they’re cold. Nothing works. As I fiddle in vain, the pot of chestnuts is bubbling away merrily on the stove. Eventually, after 30 minutes, I have to turn off the heat. Why? Because the chestnuts are cooked!


20 chestnuts, frozen shelled chestnuts, thawed

6 dried dark shiitake mushroom

1 onion, sliced lengthwise into eighths

1/2 lb chicken thigh, cut into bite-size piece

3 slices of ginger

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 shallots, chopped

2 stalks of scallions, sectioned


2 teaspoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons cooking wine

1 teaspoon corn starch


1/2 cup of chicken stock or water

1 teaspoon of dark soy sauce

1 teaspoon of oyster sauce

1/2 teaspoon of sugar

1 teaspoon of cooking wine

1 teaspoon of sesame oil


Use 1 cup of water to soak dried mushroom for 1 hour, remove stems. Save the water. Set Aside.

Marinate chicken with soy sauce, wine and corn starch for 20 minutes

Heat oil in a wok/saucepan, stir fry ginger, shallots, garlics for 2 minutes.

Stir in chicken, cook until both sides golden.

Add onions and cook for 1 minute.

Add chestnuts, dried mushrooms, oyster sauce, sugar, soy sauce, chicken stock and the reserved mushroom water.

Bring it to boil, then turn to low heat, cover and simmers for 20 minutes or until chestnuts are tender.

Stir in scallions. Remove from heat and stir in sesame oil.

If boiling doesn’t work, what about roasting? Roasted chestnuts are quite easy to peel, right? I buy more chestnuts, cut a slit in each one, and chuck the lot in a hot oven. I then wait for the outer shell and inner pellicle to curl and pull back, revealing delicious naked meat underneath. Or rather, that’s how it is with chestnuts that are sold roasted. The ones I roast in the oven are hellbent on defying my efforts. The fuzzy skin sticks to the nutmeat as steadfastly as ever.

Living where I live – which is south of  West Malaysia, west of East Malaysia and east of West Sumatra – I can buy fresh chestnuts already shelled. And now, with just a towel and some boiling water, I can remove the pesky pellicle in a couple of minutes. With the right technique, it’s drop-dead easy. Never stop learning, my mother always said.