Stir Fried Tofu

I always wonder what you guys must think when you see me post another tofu recipe? I expect most would just scroll down or navigate elsewhere and in a way i can understand, hehe, i used to be the same way. But lately, tofu’s just doing something for me. Discovering how it’s best used, what it goes with, how to cook it etc.

I chose this recipe on the weekend, it was the last of 3 meals i had picked out to start the week. At times i was like, ‘ahh, i’ll do something else’, but i’ve learnt to stick with the choices you made because in most instances they’ve been pretty amazing. This dish may sound a bit ‘boring’, but believe me it will surprise you, i know it did me 🙂

Stir fried tofu with bean sprouts and pak choy.

Have you ever removed the roots from a whole bag of bean sprouts? I doubt many will say they have, but now i can. Recipe recommended that you remove the roots. When i first tipped the bag out on to the board i’m like, ‘you’ve got to be kidding me’. Anyway, they won’t remove themselves so i got stuck into it. Took about 15 minutes, but i can understand why you’d want them removed, all those stringy bits in your stir fry, how ugly! 🙂

Rooted ;)
Rooted 😉

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Serves 4

300g firm tofu. I used medium and worked fine.

250g bean sprouts.

100g pak choy.

1 tbs sesame oil.

1 tbs sunflower or vegetable oil.

2 tsp granulated chicken stock.

Salt and pepper.

Coarsely ground white sesame seeds to serve.

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Drain the tofu and then wrap it in kitchen towel to remove excess water. Replace the towel 15 minutes later and then rest for another 15 minutes.

Cut the pak choy between the stem and the leaf, slice the stem length ways into about 2 cm strips. Chop leaves horizontally into pieces. They will wilt a bit during cooking so don’t cut them too small.

Heat the sesame oil in a large frying pan. Break up the tofu by hand and fry for about 5 minutes on medium-high heat, tossing the tofu to coat in sesame oil. Try to toss it, that way you won’t mash it up by using utensils. When it’s really sizzling remove from pan and into a dish.

Add the sunflower oil to the frying pan and heat, add the pak choy and then the bean sprouts. Return tofu to the pan, mix gently with the vegetables and season with the chicken stock powder and salt and pepper.

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Cook for a few more minutes tossing to coat and let stock powder dissolve into the cooking juices. Once pak choy is bright green and crunchy, remove and serve with a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

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When i tried the pak choy to see if it was cooked the taste really surprised me, the slight hint of sesame oil with a salty undertone created by the chicken stock. Perfect crunch of the pak choy and bean sprouts along side the silky soft tofu, finished off with nutty sesame sprinkles justified my faith in this dish.

The ingredients for this meal were cheap as chips so for like $10 you’ve got a tasty Japanese meal for 4.

 

 

XO prawns and snow peas

With a handful of ingredients, minimal prep and hardly any cooking time this recipe was perfect for a hot and windy Monday.

I was eager to get XO sauce back on the menu. Stir fried with juicy prawns and crunchy snow peas this simple dish would have ample flavour, spice and texture. Fabulous XO prawns tonight!

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Serves 2.

12 large green prawns, peeled, deveined.

1 tsp peanut oil.

80g snow peas, trimmed, sliced in half on an angle.

1tbs XO sauce, (i use Lee Kum Kee).

1/2 tsp cornflour, combined with 2 tbs of chicken stock.

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The wine wasn't part of the recipe ;)
The wine wasn’t part of the recipe 😉

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Butterfly the prawns by cutting through the back about halfway through and pressing open with the flat side of a knife.

Heat a wok over high heat and drizzle the oil around the edge. Add prawns, season with a pinch of salt and stir-fry for about 1 minute or until prawns start to turn pink.

Add the snow peas and stir-fry for a further minute. Add XO sauce and toss through for a further minute or until the prawns are just cooked and snow peas are tender but still crunchy.

Drizzle over the cornflour mixture, a little at a time, while tossing to combine for a final 30 seconds. Transfer to warmed plates and serve immediately.

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Get all your prep done, get that wok smoking and off you go, tossing, turning, scraping, ahhh the smell as each ingredient is added! Luckily it only takes a few minutes cook, it’s torture.

Beautiful meal, the prawns were succulent, the rich, salty, spicy sauce with crunchy snow peas.  Ange was pretty wrapped, she’s not usually one for the rich, salty dishes but she was thumbs up in this case.

You could use any greens really, whatever you have available, just cut them into appropriate sizes. XO sauce is quite versatile so having a tub in the fridge can be used with a variety of ingredients!

This recipe was from delicious magazine 131

 

Ricotta Gnudi with rocket pesto

I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for a couple of weeks now, it’s so damn good. Even heating it up the next day i was amazed how tasty it still was!

A bit messy and a bit of messing around but making your own gnudi will be well worth it when you eventually sit down and fork one into your mouth for the first time. It’s actually not that difficult, just clear yourself a bit of space to roll out the thin logs and just be patient as you roll, cut, ball and press a batch of these little treats 🙂

With a vibrant pesto and served with slow roasted cherry tomatoes this little beauty has layers of flavour, texture and colour.

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400g fresh ricotta, well drained.

2/3 cup, (100g), plain flour plus extra to dust.

1/2 cup (40g) of grated Parmesan.

1 egg, lightly beaten.

Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg.

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Rocket pesto.

100g rocket leaves.

1/2 garlic clove.

100ml extra virgin olive oil.

2tbs slivered almonds.

1/2 cup (40g) finely grated parmesan.

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Slow-roasted cherry tomatoes.

1 garlic clove, thinly sliced.

2 thyme springs, leaves chopped.

250g punnet cherry tomatoes, halved.

Extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle.

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Preheat oven to 90degC. For the tomatoes, place garlic, thyme and tomato in a bowl. Drizzle with oil, then season and toss to combine. Transfer to a baking paper-lined tray. Bake for 45-50 minutes until soft and caramalised. Remove from oven. Set aside.

Meanwhile to make the gnudi, combine all ingredients in a bowl to form a soft dough. Transfer to a lightly floured work surface and divide dough into 4 portions. Roll each into a long 1cm-thick log, then cut into 2cm pieces. Gently roll gnudi into a ball, dust with a little flour to avoid them sticking, then press the top of each with a fork to leave indents. Freeze for 15 minutes or until firm.

For the pesto, whiz rocket, garlic, oil and almonds in a food processor until smooth and combined. Transfer to a bowl and fold through Parmesan. Season and set aside.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil over medium-high heat. In batches, cook gnudi for 3-4 minutes until they rise to the surface. Remove using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.

To serve, toss gnudi with pesto and divide among plates with cherry tomatoes.

Beautiful contrast of colours.
Beautiful contrast of colours.

The gnudi has its own unique flavour, added with its soft texture coated in fresh pesto it’s absolutely delicious. The acidity and sweetness of the cherry tomatoes pair nicely, you’ll find it hard to stop. If you do cook this dish which i highly recommend make sure you save a serving for the next day. You’ll thank me for it 🙂

The recipe serves 4. I halved the recipe and still have one serving left over, of course that may depend on your portion size.

Recipe from delicious magazine 141.

 

Shepherd’s Pie

In the past i would use the terms blindly; ‘shepherd’s pie’, ‘cottage pie’; i just never thought anything of it. It was just a meat pie with mashed potato on top but on a larger scale. It was something my Mum would make and further back my Nan. One thing they both had in common though is the memory of how good they are. The cliche is well known, ‘comfort food’.

Until recently when a discussion arose i realized that a shepherd’s pie was lamb and cottage pie was beef, hence the shepherd/lamb thing. I know you’re sitting there thinking, ‘duuuhhh’, hah.

Anyyyywaaay. If you were hovering over the Me Jules OK Facebook page last week you would of seen the leg of lamb i cooked for Angela’s night in the kitchen. Usually my ‘go to’ distribution of leftovers is pizza and it was close, oh so close, but the shepherd’s pie managed to stay on top the list, constantly chopping and changing on how it would be served, and how it looked in my mind. It wasn’t until i sorted through the dishes i had available to me that i was like ‘yep, that’s it’. Funny how things work.

Let’s get stuck into the recipe. I didn’t have to go and buy anything for this one that’s what made it so appealing. The same would have gone for pizza but it was a trade off between potato or pasta as a base. We bought some kipfler’s from the market’s recently, so that decided it.

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Serves 2

250g cooked lamb meat.

1/4 tsp mixed dried herbs.

1 tbs chopped parsley.

1 tbs plain flour.

1/4 tsp salt.

Pinch pepper.

A little grated lemon rind.

1/2 cup of beef stock.

4 medium-sized cold cooked potatoes.

A little butter and milk.

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Chop the meat finely,  removing any skin or gristle.

Put in a saucepan with herbs, parsley, flour, salt, pepper, lemon rind and stock, stir over medium heat for 5 minutes or until it begins to thicken.

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Mash the potatoes adding a little butter and milk to make them smooth.

Grease your pie dishes.

Line the dish with a thin layer of mash potato, spoon in the meat mixture and then top with the remaining potato, smoothing the top and add a couple dollops of butter for extravagance.

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Place in a pre-heated 180deg oven until golden. I added some finely grated Parmesan cheese for the last few minutes.

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I let Angela eat a little of hers first so i could get a photo, she didn’t want to stop for the shoot hehe. Photo’s a bit dark but you get the idea, looks pretty good. Cooked in the oven the pie dish stays hot for ages so nothing better than relaxing in front of the TV slowly delving into a steaming hot shepherd’s pie.

So simple, simply superb 🙂

Sumac crusted Tuna with Mint & Coriander salad.

Getting towards the end of the cooking week i try to use as much as possible from the week that was. Trying to find that recipe that not only uses the rest of what you have but makes you drool reading the ingredients? It’s rare to find one! Having to only buy the tuna, coriander and cucumber for this dish made it quite an inexpensive meal with plenty to get excited about.

Mint from the garden, left over feta, spices, beetroot relish, Greek yoghurt, lemons, pomegranate molasses, slivered almonds, cannellini beans; this was already in the kitchen somewhere.

Lots of fresh and vibrant colours :)
Lots of fresh and vibrant colours 🙂

To coat the tuna you’ll need 1 tbs each of dried oregano and spearmint, (this is a better replacement for normal mint), sumac and freshly ground black pepper. This will coat 4 steaks. I halved the recipe, using 1/2 tbs of each for 2 steaks and had some left over which i jarred for another time 🙂

Wonderful image.
Wonderful image.

Mix all the spices together, brush the tuna with some good quality extra virgin olive oil, season with sea salt, coat the tuna and set aside.

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For the salad.

1 telegraph cucumber, halved length ways, seeds removed and thinly sliced.

1 cup of torn mint and coriander leaves.

2 tbs slivered, toasted almonds.

80g marinated feta.

1 tbs lemon juice, plus wedges to serve.

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Place all items in a large bowl and add  2 tbs olive oil, season and toss to combine, set aside.

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400g can cannellini beans rinsed, drained.

1 tbs pomegranate molasses.

1 tbs olive oil.

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Combine the beans with the pomegranate molasses and olive oil in a small saucepan. Stir over a low heat to warm through.

Heat remaining 1 tbs olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Sear the tuna for 1-1/2 minutes each side depending on the thickness of your steak. You still want it rare in the middle.

Spoon some of the bean mix on the plate then top with tuna, add some salad, top with a dollop of yoghurt and beetroot relish, finish with a drizzling of pomegranate molasses and a wedge of lemon.

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For a dish that was comprised of mostly leftovers it was an absolute sensation. From the herbs in the salad, the crunch of the cucumber, fabulously toasty almonds then fantastic soft feta, and that’s just the salad! The cool yoghurt and relish, the sweet pomegranate molasses, the beans, freshly squeezed lemon and finally the star of the dish, that spice crusted tuna, still rare in the middle, again, what a dish.

I wasn’t going to write this recipe up to begin with being just a ‘leftovers’ dish but it warranted an inclusion here 🙂

Just pulling out random magazines is good fun sometimes because you never know what you’re going to find.

This recipe is from delicious magazine 131.

Indonesian Mapo Tofu

If you read the introduction to last night’s burger (here), i spoke about having to cater some meals to the other people you’re cooking for, in my case my wife. This is one of those times, unlike last night.

Angela had been giving me subtle hints about this dish for weeks now and remembering how good it was the first time i cooked it i knew i could bring this recipe out again at an opportune time that would satisfy my wife’s cravings but also appeal to mine.

I distinctly remember how good this tasted the first time. I would definitely cook it again and now after the second time, it’ll be again and again, with emphasis on ‘and’.

The word ‘tofu’ will scare most people and automatically turn them off a recipe. I just don’t understand why. Funny thing is i used to be one of those people, but the more i have it and the more you let it shine the more you will love it, trust me. Give it a go and this recipe will ‘wow’ you.

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I’ll do the full recipe, serves 4-6

2-1/2 tbs peanut oil.

8-12 cloves garlic, finely chopped/minced.

2 tbs finely grated ginger.

1/2 tsp ground chilli powder.

350g pork mince.

500g firm tofu, drained & cubed.

3tbs soy sauce.

1/2 tsp ground white pepper.

1 tsp caster sugar.

1 tbs cornflour.

1/2 cup water.

1tsp sesame oil.

2 green shallots, sliced.

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Lots of garlic and ginger. Yummosta
Lots of garlic and ginger. Yummosta

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Heat the oil in a wok over high heat. Saute the garlic, ginger and ground chilli powder until lightly browned and fragrant. About 30-60seconds.

Add the pork and saute another 2minutes. Add the cubed tofu, gently stir-fryin until well mixed. Lower heat to medium high.

Add soy sauce, white pepper and sugar, simmer for another 5minutes.

Mix cornflour with the water and add a few tablespoons to the to wok. Cook, making sure to lift and fold the tofu gently, you don’t want to mash it,

Turn off the heat and add the sesame oil and slice shallots. Toss and serve.

Be gentle :)
Be gentle 🙂

The quote from the Dina Yuen’s, Indonesian Cooking, ‘the tofu should be silky soft, how the hint of heat from the chilli powder and white pepper should barely tingle the back of the palate and how just a touch of aromatic sesame oil was needed to round out the delicate flavours of the dish’. It’s like poetry. Not sure my dish is that poetic but it tastes great and i encourage you to give it a go 🙂

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A cheap, healthy, tasty, filling meal. What more could you want?

Hold that thought, i know what you’re thinking but that’s a story for another time 🙂

 

Texas Tailgate Burger

Ange is out for the night and you know what that means? Burger time! When you’re cooking for two you’ve go to cater for the other person, you can’t simply cook everything you want, you have to take into consideration what they enjoy too. I don’t have to worry about that tonight haha 😉

I have a folder of recipes which i print out, it’s another sort of addiction, print.. print..print… I have a tonne of burger recipes. This recipe was the first one in my folder, one of many. I kept skipping past it not even bothering to read it….finally i did…. hmmmm…. wow… this looks great. I’ve made my own pickles, my own BBQ sauce, i know where i can get these Kettle BBQ chips, let’s get the ground chuck, i have salad, sorry, was getting carried away there in my semi-9:37pm-drunken stupor 🙂

So many elements of this burger poked me in the eye with excitement. Let’s start off with the burger pattie itself. Ground chuck, with finely chopped pickled jalapeno, chilli powder, salt and pepper. Nice, that’s my kind of pattie.

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Makes 2 large patties or 3 smaller 😉

1pound, 400g ground chuck. I asked the butcher to ground the chuck up for me and he said that the beef mince they use was in fact chuck, so just mention it. It was like $5 for that.

2 tbs finely chopped pickled jalapenos.

1/2 tsp each of kosher salt, ground black pepper and chilli powder.

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Mix gently and form into patties.
Mix gently and form into patties.

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I’d never seen a BBQ sauce applied this way. Finely grated smoked cheddar, your favourite BBQ sauce and some diced brown onion mixed together and left at room temperature. This will be slathered on your burger pattie half way through cooking.

Cheesy, onion BBQ sauce, snnnn.
Cheesy, onion, BBQ sauce, snnnn.

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3/4 cup BBQ sauce.

1 cup finely grated smoked cheddar.

1/4 diced brown onion.

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Meanwhile we had a massive storm, ahhhh....
Meanwhile we had a massive storm, ahhhh….
Home made, i love it :)
Home made, i love it 🙂

I made these pickles a couple of months ago, specifically for a burger when needed. I also made a couple of BBQ sauces. I have been meaning to post them on here but i wanted some labels to put onto the bottle to add some ‘coolness’ hah. Anyway, regardless, they both came in handy tonight and that’s why i made them 🙂 The pickles were so sweet and crunchy, very impressed!

The thought process is much longer than the cooking process. I spent more time thinking about it than eating it, probably no surprise to most.  I enjoy thinking about food, reading, watching food programs, once you start eating, it’s all down hill, you get full, possible disappointment, whatever  In my case here, it was, ‘i want another burger’, but i know it will ride me off. Oh well, it was a quick climax and then a long downer, that’s how good it was. Is that a bad thing? hehehehe 😉

There’s endless possibilities with burgers and that’s so exciting. I wonder what’s next? It could very well be this one, it was sensational.

Its bark is worse than its bite :)
Its bark is worse than its bite 🙂

This really should be done on the BBQ, that’s the inspiration to make this burger again. It’s a bit extreme to get the BBQ heated up, (all those coals) for one person. Am i justifying my laziness??

This is the original – Texas Tailgate Burger recipe.

I still don’t understand the Texas Tailgating thing though 🙂

Fish n chips

I go from one recipe to another when it comes to fish n chips at home, there’s always something different i like to try, be it with the fish, the coating, the chips or any side dishes and here we go again with another.

The chips were the first thing i wanted to try on this menu. I forget where but Ange had her chips served in large batons, stacked up and that gave me a nice idea for ‘pallets of chips’. Par boiled then cooked in oil until brown and crispy on the outside and a fluffy centre, a sprinkling over each layer of Sichuan salt that i had made previously when serving. Oh yummy!

I cooked the chips first and then transferred them to a warm oven while i cooked the fish.

Chippies :]
Chippies :]

I bought a lemon balm plant at the markets on the weekend, wow the scented leaves are amazing, i wanted to incorporate those into the coating of the fish. Angela also bought some cashews for a slice recipe she made, so chopped up some of those. With the addition of breadcrumbs, chilli flakes, we have a coating.

Shallow dish with some flour, another shallow dish with an egg whisked with 1/3 cup of milk and a third dish with the coating mixture. First dust fish in flour, then coat in egg and finally in the coating mixture. I used flathead for this recipe, nice little strips of fillet are great for coating and so succulent.

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Cook flathead for a couple of minutes each side until golden and crispy, serve on warmed plates with simple minted peas, tartare sauce, (recipe) and your chippies. So so good and a nice version of ‘fish n chups’ 🙂

You know you want it now ;]
You know you want it now ;]

Fabuloso 🙂

Tartare sauce

I do many incarnations of fish and chips but there’s only one tartare sauce that i serve with them and that’s Neil Perry’s recipe. I don’t bother mucking around looking for other versions and forget about buying the jarred stuff. Give yourself 10 minutes and you’ve got a fantastic tartare that you won’t be able to stop eating well before you serve it up with dinner!

Neil also says it’s wonderful with BBQ’d or roasted poultry so don’t just limit it to seafood 🙂

His recipe….

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1tbs finely chopped cornichons.

2 tsp well rinsed and finely chopped salted baby capers.

2 finely chopped anchovies.

2 tbs finely chopped parsley.

1 cup classic mayonnaise.

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I used mitsuba and gherkins in the photo here because that's what i had available! ;)
I used mitsuba and gherkins in the photo here because that’s what i had available! 😉

Mix all ingredients together and check seasoning. Done deal!

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From Neil’s book, ‘The food i love’.

 

Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings

I just love the wings of a chicken, some people prefer the drumsticks, others the breast meat, thighs or all of the above, (me included) , but nibbling on and picking through all the little bones for juicy pieces of meat? You can’t beat it.

I try to get most of my chicken from a little farmer whose chickens are like none other i’ve tasted, they’re so friendly, funny and witty that you know their chickens would be the same and i think that adds to why they taste so good.

I’ve been waiting for a special occasion to cook this recipe, i’ve had the wings in the freezer for a couple of weeks in anticipation for the new  A-League season to start. Munching on some delicious wings watching the football? Yes please!

It’s quite an easy recipe to make too so that’s also helpful as i don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen. Bit of preparation and let’s get into it. For this recipe you’ll need…..

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Serves 2.

1/4 cup fish sauce.

1/4 cup caster sugar.

2 garlic cloves, 1 crushed, 1 roughly chopped.

800g chicken wings.

1tbs vegetable oil for the fried garlic.

1 cup of cornflour.

Chopped mint and coriander to serve.

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In a bowl whisk the fish sauce, sugar and crushed garlic. Add the wings and toss to coat. Refrigerate, covered for at least 3 hours if you can, tossing wings every 30minutes.

Heat the vegetable oil in a small saucepan over a medium heat and add the chopped garlic and cook until crisp and golden, drain on paper towel and set aside.

Heat your vegetable in a large saucepan, deep fryer, or whatever your other preference is to deep fry to 180degC or 350degF. I prefer to let my oil heat up slowly over a medium, just over medium in fact heat in a cast iron deep casserole dish.

Just about ready to cook.
Just about ready to cook.

Pat wings dry with paper towel reserving the marinade. Put the cornflour in a shallow bowl and coat the wings. Cook the wings in batches until golden, around 10minutes, place on paper towel to drain and then keep warm in the oven while cooking remaining batches.

In a small saucepan simmer the marinade until syrupy, about 5 minutes, strain over the wings, tossing to coat. Top with coriander, mint and fried garlic.

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Not as crispy as some wings i make but it was so flavourful, the herbs helped highlight the sweetness of the sauce and the crispy garlic added a bit of crunch. The wings though were the hero, lusciously cooked, the sweet white meat falling off the bone.

Not your average wings recipe, love it 🙂

The original recipe  comes from here.

Happy munching 🙂