Curry Chicken

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It’s been rainy and cool these days and I really enjoy the beautiful weather these two months have brought us.  It’s such a welcome change since it’s hot and humid all throughout the year in Singapore.  We are having 25 degrees celcius now against the usual 34 degrees celcius.   The dog has been making use of the nice cool weather for naps and cozying on the sofa.  Usually, she’d prefer to lay on the floor because of our warm weather.  Let’s appreciate this now because it will be back to the heat in February.

I cooked curry chicken for dinner because it is one of our favourite dishes, plus it is a nice dish to eat in this cool weather.  I always have a packet of curry powder in my pantry because we can’t live without curry chicken.  I cook it once in two weeks.  It’s delicious and we seldom have leftovers for this dish.  When cooking curry chicken, be sure to buy curry powder for cooking meats because there is a different type of curry powder for cooking curry fish.  I have both in my pantry.  We also love curry fish.

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There are many curry chicken recipes.  Some recipes require blending spices from scratch to make rempah, a Malay word for spice paste.  The typical ingredients for making rempah are red chillies, shallots, lemongrass, tumeric, candlenuts, blue ginger and shrimp paste.  The Nyonya-style (aka Peranakan) curries are prepared with rempah.  Other recipes require curry powder which is available in packets at supermarkets and is not as time intensive as making rempah.  I have cooked Nyonya-style curry several times but today’s recipe is one that is made with curry powder because I happen to have all the ingredients on hand.  This turned out so delicious it was finished in one sitting.

When cooking curry, it is a must to have curry leaves because it gives the curry its distinct flavour.  Besides being natural flavouring agents,  curry leaves have a lot of health properties.  They contain antioxidant properties and is able to help control diarrhoea, indigestion, diabetes, peptic ulcers and an unhealthy cholesterol balance.  To prep the curry leaves to cook curry, wash and pat them dry and set aside.

 

Curry leaves

 

Curry Chicken

Ingredients:

3 chicken thighs, chopped into smaller pieces

1 potato*

3 tablespoons cooking oil

10 shallots

4 cloves garlic

1 stick cinnamon

6 tablespoons curry powder

1 cup coconut milk

2 cups water

1 stalk curry leaves

salt to taste

* Do not use russet potatoes as they tend to soften and break up. Wash, peel and quarter potato.  Soak them in a little salt water to prevent them from browning.  Set aside for use later. 

Directions:

  1. Blend shallots and garlic in a blender.
  2. Heat up a pot with 3 tablespoons cooking oil.  Pour in blended ingredients and curry leaves and cook over low heat for 10 minutes.
  3. Add in water, slowly add in chicken and potato and cook for about 10 minutes.
  4. Add curry powder and cinnamon.  Pour in coconut milk.  Add salt to taste.  Cook for another 10 minutes and it is ready.

 

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Serve with either one of these: steamed rice, briyani rice, naan, roti prata or bread

The humble macaroni soup

I wasn’t sure if I should post my humble lunch today.  It’s too plain and simple and it may not appeal to anyone, that was my entire thought process.  In the end, yes, I decided to because it is a quick fix meal for those overwhelming days or the days when someone is sick and needs warm and comforting soup.  My apologies if this entire post sounds boring.

So this was what I had for lunch – chicken macaroni soup.  It’s not something to rave about, but my daughter likes this simple dish and we have it quite regularly.  It’s not on my husband’s list of likes so most times I cook this for lunch when it’s just me and my girl at home.

The main ingredients for this dish are macaroni, chicken bones and chicken breast.  I boil the chicken bones and chicken breast to get a nice, clear broth.  You can also use packed chicken or vegetable broth if you prefer. My sides are baby bok choy and fish cake and I finish by garnishing with sliced red chillis and parsley.   I think my bowl had so much vegetables you can hardly tell if there’s macaroni.  Sorry, I love my veggies more.  There’s definitely macaroni under all the greens.

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Chicken Macaroni Soup

(serves 2)

Ingredients:

Half a chicken breast/ One chicken thigh (you can adjust the quantity to your preference)

1 litre water

2 chicken bones

4 stalks baby bok choy

2 pieces fish cake (optional)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sesame oil

100g macaroni

1 red chilli, sliced

a few leaves of parsley

Note:  You can also use boxed chicken or vegetable broth.  Cook the broth as per the given instructions and add chicken breast to the broth to cook.  If the broth already has salt added, you can omit the salt.

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, boil 1 litre of water.  When it comes to a rolling boil, add in chicken bones and chicken breast and boil over medium for 15 minutes.  Remove the scum on the surface so that the soup will be clear.
  2. Remove the chicken bones and chicken breast from the pot.  Let the chicken cool before shredding.
  3. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt to soup, then add 1 teaspoon sesame oil for flavour.
  4. Pan fry fish cake and cut into strips when cooled.
  5. In another pot, boil water to cook macaroni.
  6. When the water comes to a rolling boil, add macaroni and let it cook for 8 minutes.
  7. Transfer macaroni into two bowls when it has cooked.
  8. Blanch baby bok choy in scalding water for one minute.
  9. Arrange baby bok choy, shredded chicken and fish cake on top of macaroni and ladle soup over.
  10. Garnish with parsley and sliced chillis.

Enjoy a comforting meal 

 

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A simple weeknight dinner

Looking at the leftover fried salmon I have in the fridge from last night’s dinner, I knew what I would cook for dinner today.  It would be our family’s favourite fried rice.  Home-cooked fried rice is a quick, delicious and nutritious dish.  It is fast to whip up and can be put together in about thirty minutes.  I think it makes quite a well balanced meal since it contains carbohydrates from the rice, protein from the fish and eggs and vitamins and minerals from the vegetables.   Besides using the leftover salmon, I used eggs, french beans, and steamed rice.  I didn’t have leftover rice so I cooked rice from scratch.  It is said that overnight rice is better for cooking fried rice but we seldom have that much leftover rice to cook a portion enough for three persons.

Fried rice is a versatile dish.  For protein, you can use chicken, beef, prawns, or char siu (barbecued pork).  You can be creative and use fresh or frozen vegetables.  You can work up something delicious and use up leftovers as well.  A win-win weeknight dinner.  The recipe I am sharing today is something I came up with so it is certainly not restaurant standard.  I would say the taste of this fried rice is home-styled, mom type, and comforting.  It reminds me of my late-mother’s fried rice, always comforting and something I look forward to eating.

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Ingredients:

2 cups cooked rice (the cup I used is the rice-cooker cup)

2 eggs

salmon or meat of your choice

french beans or frozen vegetables (you can use the amount to your liking)

3 cloves garlic, minced

21/2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon salt

fresh parsley or spring onion for garnishing

Directions:

  1. Heat vegetable oil in a wok or deep frying pan over medium heat.
  2. Add minced garlic and stir fry for about one minute or till about golden brown.  (Tip: do not take your eyes off the garlic as they burn very quickly)
  3. Add french beans and continue to stir fry.
  4. Next, add the rice and continue frying, mixing the rice with the fried garlic and french beans.
  5. Next, make a well in the centre of the wok, pushing the rice to the sides of the wok.  Add a small amount of vegetable oil to cook the eggs.  Crack two eggs into the oil and let it cook for a minute.  Then mix all the rice and eggs together.
  6. When the eggs have been mixed with the rice you can add in your cooked meat, in this case it is salmon.  If you are using fresh, raw meat, you have to stir fry your meat after stir frying the garlic in step 2.
  7. Season with salt and continue to fry till the salt is mixed well with the fried rice.
  8. Turn off the fire, garnish with fresh parsley or spring onion and serve.

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Hope you enjoy a quick weeknight dinner