Candlenuts! These are one of the items languishing in my pantry. I had bought them in a fit of enthusiasm, after my visit to Indonesia and Malaysia in 2010. So I decided to go through one of the cookbooks I bought on that trip – Racik Tradisi (Traditional Malay Cuisine) by Zaidah Mohd Noor (bilingual edition). This is a pretty casual cookbook – or perhaps it’s the translation, because some of the directions left me a little uncertain, but I went with it and the resulting chicken was pretty yum!
1 chicken (mine was just over 2kg)
2 cups of coconut milk (I used 2 x 270 mL tins)
1 large onion
1 tsp coriander seeds
2 stalks of lemon grass
1 tbps ground chilli
some peanut oil for frying
Clean the chicken and cut into two pieces ( this was actually pretty unwieldy – in future I’d probably leave whole or buy a similar weight of chicken pieces – probably thighs and drumsticks). Finely chop the onion and candlenuts and bruise the lemongrass. Heat the oil and fry the onion, candlenuts and lemons grass until fragrant. Add in chicken pieces and stir fry for a while ( I chose about 5 minutes). Pour in chillies, coriander seeds, and coconut milk. At his point I diverged from the recipe. It said cook until the coconut milk is dried and remove chicken, then roast the chicken til cooked and pour gravy on top. Instead, I let the cocnut boil for a while, popped the top on my oven proof pot, and roasted in the oven for 80 minutes at about 180 deg C. I’ve found roasting a chicken in a pot is a sure way to end up with really moist meat. It’s particularly fantastic if you include a couple of cups of masterstock. After 40 minutes I turned the chicken peices (sort of – they were unwieldy!) and left the lid off to try and reduce the coconut gravy. The gravy was delicious but watery after cooking, so I reduced it further on the stove after taking the chicken out to rest. I served it with steamed choi sum and microwave sticky rice (another item off the pantry list!!). Overal I loved the gravy – reminiscent of a thai curry, and the lemongrass (from my garden) made it particularly fresh. I did worry about the amount of ground chilli – a tablespoon sounds like a lot. I erred on the side of less, but it really wasnt overpowering. I’d be happy to put in a full tbsp in future.
We use our slow cooker a lot – mostly for stews and curries. However, once I saw nomnompaleo’s Slow Cooker Kalua Pig recipe, I had to give it a go (particularly given our Hawaii trip last year!).
Now the Kalua pork was fantastic, but it occured to us that with a slight adjustment of spices, this recipe would also make a fantastic carnitas for burritos and the like. So we put together a spice rub including coriander, cumin and – most importantly – chipotle chillie, and we have not looked back (although admittedly we’ve eaten a heap of slow cooked pork!).
The Spice Rub
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper
2 tsp coriander leaves dried
What To Do
This amount of spice rub is good for 2-2.5 kg of pork. We typically buy a boned pork shoulder, take off any webbing or binding and then liberally rub the spice over all surfaces (although less usually ends up on the skin). If you do this in the early evening, you can put it straights into the slowcooker pot and store in the fridge until later that night. Just before bed, I’ll get the pot out and set up with slow cooker with a timer to start at 2-3 am (depending on when you want to eat the next day). It is rather thrilling to be woken up by delicious pork smells in the morning, though I do recommend cooking this dish on a day you will be mostly out of the house, as otherwise you will be distracted by pork for the rest of the day! Once you reach 6-7 pm, you take the pork out (usually in pieces by this time) and place it in a serving dish. Separate off the skin and fat (which normally comes off very easily), and then shred the meat using two forks. You can spoon the juices at the bottom of the slow cooker, to give an extra bust of flavour to the shredded meat, though be careful not ot make it too salty. The meat is then good for tacos, burritos or just by itself….
I have not had wyngz, but have been fascinated by them, ever since I saw this Colbert Report segment on them. Anyway, we made wings this weekend, using this tried and true recipe from Simply Recipes: http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/savory_chicken_drummettes/
They are messy, but delicious.
(Yes, I realise this recipe is for savory chicken drummettes, but I have used it on wings many a time and it’s fine. Last night I used the proportions quoted* on 1.5 kg wings (equal to 11 wings) and it was plenty. I marinated for about 2 hours and probably cooked for a similar amount of time, though to be honest I don’t remember!! Just cook ’em til they’re done.)
*I used the proportions quoted, but I didn’t actually *measure* any of them, it was all by eye. Cos measuring would be crazy!!
Breaking news: deep fry a chicken and add sufficient quantities of sugar and salt, and the results are indeed delicious…
Claire’s MasterChef’s Masterstock Fried Chicken with Chilli Caramel and Orange Salt is the first MasterChef recipe I’ve made (actually technically this was made for me for my BF, but I helped out) and it was very yum – sticky and messy but yum. Perhaps the best part was the chilli caramel. It’s not many dinners I’ll eat that covered in such a hot, sweet, sticky treat (and to be fair it’s probably just as well). I’m not a sweet tooth by nature, but the addition of chilli to the caramel made all the difference
A couple of notes:
- I’ve reviewed the video and Claire’s masterstock was different! It had whole orange segments and onions in it, whereas the recipe had no onions and orange peel, not segments. I’m not sure why they needed to change it – was it because the recipe Claire was following was actually one she’d memorised from somewhere else and therefore it had to be changed?
- Deep frying half a chicken? Bit of a pain in the arse actually. I think if future, I’d probably make this with chicken thighs or drumsticks and possibly even just shallow fry it in a pan.
- OMG! Masterstock! I’ve read about masterstock in the past, and now that I have one of my very own, I’ll treasure it. I’m not sure how much chicken poaching I’ll do on a weekly basis, but for now the stock is safely in the freezer, and at the very worst I’ll be using this pungent liquid for flavoring stir fries or soup.
- Orange salt is orangey! At first the orange salt just tasted like salt, but the orange flavor seemed to intensify with time. I do need to find other things to use it on now though….
Beer Can Chicken. Yes, I didn’t quite believe it when I saw it either. Still within a couple of days of seeing the post on simply recipes, I had my chicken and my beer, and I’d cooked it within a week. My verdict? I can’t deny that the skin on the chicken was some of the crispiest I’ve ever had – and the chicken was some of the moistest, most falling-off-the-bone. Still, for all that, I really felt there was something missing from the chicken – stuffing. Stuffing is one of my most favorite things in the world and I missed it here. The chicken also could have benefited from some additional flavouring . I’d rubbed the skin with a chipotle rub I picked up in New York last year (which is *fantastic* on kebabs), but it didn’t seem to make much impact here. If I have to go stuffing-free, I think my favorite method of roasting a chicken remains Nigella’s basic roast chicken where she sticks a half lemon up the chicken’s bottom (see: How To Eat, Basic Roast Chicken Recipe, page 8). The lemon imparts such a lovely *lemony* flavour – and the juices make a great gravy.
But I love stuffing the best.
I really should use Stephanie Alexander’s ‘The Cook’s Companion’ more often. It’s so useful! This afternoon I was looking for inspiration for cooking a leg of lamb I had for dinner. I haven’t used ‘The Cooks Companion’ for meat before, which is , frankly, stupid because there is loads of info on cuts and cooking methods and, of course, recipes.
The marinade I picked out was the ‘spanish style marinating paste for lamb‘
1 tbsp fresh thyme or basil (I used basil from my garden)
4 cloves of garlic
1 tsp salt
2 tsp Spanish sweet smoked paprika
juice of one large lemon
Roughly chop thyme and garlic, then, using a mortar or pestle (I did!!) or a food processor, grind all ingredients to a paste. To use, rub paste well into lamb then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and grind on plenty of pepper. Leave for 1 hour before grilling or roasting.
I was a little concerned that the lamb was a bit dry looking so added a squirt more lemon juice and the two lemon halves halfway through the roasting. The marinade is *tasty*, with the flavours combining into a sum that seems more than its parts. The marinade also provides a bit of a crust on the lamb and a most amazing sauce/gravy in the bottom of the pan.
We ate the lamb with steamed broccoli and couscous. First serving was a little dry, but I ladeled the delicious gravy over my small seconds and that made all the difference.
Thai-style pork with eggplant, from Taste.com.au. It is one of only two recipes at Taste that include both eggplant and pork mince (what I had on hand), and was relished by my dining partner, even though he doesn’t really like eggplant. (I love it)