Thai Chicken Risotto

This was one of the first dishes that really wowed me in taste, texture and uniqueness; Thai chicken risotto. I started putting together a cook book a couple of years ago and this was the first recipe i worked on. It is so damn good. The chicken is extremely succulent, ย (don’t over cook it when you’re first browning it, only lightly colour the surface, you don’t want it to dry out, it has plenty of time to cook through in the oven). It’s also important to closely watch the times of cooking or resting, it will be crucial to the end result.

Best thing to do with this dish is plan leftovers around it so when you go out to buy ingredients you’re only getting specific items. A lot of them are pantry staples so you shouldn’t really need to buy much. I just had to buy the chicken thighs and rice yesterday which cost me all up $8. It made 5 servings too and that was with us going back for seconds for dinner. Good family meal or leftovers for lunch the next day. Another pro tip thanks to my Dad, if you’re happy to buy Coles or Woollies brand chicken get them from the deli, they will be way cheaper than the prepackaged stuff that’s there for complete convenience. Sure you might have to take a ticket but you will save a few bucks. Buy double, split it up and freeze the rest for another day’s use!

I also highly recommend having a kaffir lime tree at home. If you like to cook Thai food you will save heaps, both in time, money and frustration of not having this important element for your dishes.

I made the red curry paste myself earlier in the week. I hadn’t made my own for a while. I even managed to get Thai shrimp place from a joint in town! No galangal though, ughh, elusive to me, especially fresh and juicy. It’s on my list to grow though. Store bought paste is fine, i have been using it for years.

This recipe comes from the below link. Again, use what you have on hand. I included frozen peas last night, i thought they were way better than the beans i had used in the past. Little pops of flavour and there are more of them scattered throughout the bowl.

The prep can take some time but just do it bit by bit, keep looking at the recipe so you don’t miss any steps or ingredients, once everything is prepped and chopped it comes together very easily.

Thai Chicken Risotto

Thai Chicken Risotto thanks to delicious.

This Saturday was the ‘Bollywood beach markets’ in Woolgoolga. I was thinking we’d really see some great Indian stalls from the heavily cultured community but was very disappointed by what was there! The beach was nice though ๐Ÿ™‚

Instead i am going to make some bases tonight and cook pizza haha, no worries, haven’t made homemade pizza in a long time. Till next time.

Woolgoolga beach
Disappointing markets ๐Ÿ™

Indonesian Mapo Tofu

If you read the introduction to last night’s burgerย (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 givingย meย 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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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 ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Spicy Szechuan noodles

Ok, Easter done and dusted, i’m sure most of you were busy with family and friends too.

Here is a spin off that i found from my favourite dish i cook at home, Dan Dan Mian. This recipe was in the Delicious magazine i’m currently working through.

There were a few differences in this dish, such as using thin egg noodles, lots of ginger, chicken stock instead of water, no mustard greens, the pork deep fried in oil. It was something i had to try.

Organized chaos.
Organized chaos.

As usual, getting everything all set and under control is vital. It was a familiar setting for me , including the limited space.

Noodles on the bottom, fried pork, then the sauce poured over the top. The egg noodles were a nice addition i thought.

Oh the anticipation upon serving.
Oh the anticipation upon serving.

Finally the ground, toasted Sichaun peppercorns sprinkled over the top. Don’t get me wrong, it was nice, but it didn’t have the punch that its predecessor has. Also, the absence of the mustard greens was really noticeable both for their crunch and flavour they add to the dish.

I’ll have a second opinion on the dish after lunch today, yumm! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Kung Pao Chicken

You know it’s funny; when i was doing Italian month there were so many Italian foodie shows on TV , then i did a couple of Moroccan meals and Moroccan Food Safarii came on. Last night after having dinner this new show i’ve been watching each Thursday night came on; Exploring China : A Culinary Adventure. In this episode they were in the Sichuan province and in Chengdu.

Ok, where’s the link? I’ve had this chilli bean paste in the cupboard for ages and always had it in the back of my mind, (it was also in the back of the cupboard), which was part of the reason i chose to cook Kung Pao Chicken. They showed how it was made, the fermentation times, pretty amazing. They also focused on cooking techniques, which i used in this dish, along with ingredients such as leeks, shallots, soy sauces and finally on the Sichuan Pepper, or flower as the lady called it.

It was very cool to not go from watching to cooking it because of any inspiration you might of gotten watching something but unusually cooking not knowing much then almost instantly a show comes on highlighting all you had just done.

All ready to go :)

All ready to go ๐Ÿ™‚

I read the recipe countless times, making sure everything was set up so there was no stalling during cooking.

Ahh the smell of stir fry in action. Smoking up the oil, adding the peppercorns and dried chillies for that 15 seconds really gets up your nose.

Most of the ingredients are cooked separately then all thrown in at the end and tossed together to coat. I was thrilled with this dish, you can find countless recipes with different variations. This one had 1 or 2 tbs of Sichuan peppercorns, luckily i went for 1 tbs as the numbing sensation we had was very intense ๐Ÿ™‚ Wrapped. Wish i had more leftovers for lunch today ๐Ÿ™

Ignore the messy presso. My mouth was watering and just wanted to get stuck into it ;)
Ignore the messy presso. My mouth was watering and just wanted to get stuck into it ๐Ÿ˜‰

Chilli bean paste can keep for years. I’ve had mine for 18months at least and the used by date is 2015. You can buy 50g bags of Sichuan peppers in Asian supermarkets for about $2.50.

Paste tastes nice straight out of the jar.
Paste tastes nice straight out of the jar.

 

Angela’s in the kitchen tonight with not your average Friday night dinner. Happy Friday! ๐Ÿ™‚